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Everything posted by millipede

  1. So, was a decent birding day today with lots and lots of ducks. Not as many as some of those places where people count thousands but, I saw hundreds and it's significantly more than I've seen all winter... Of course it was only in the teens today and was just bitterly cold with the wind chill... That's the best time to find ducks around here though. Anyway... I lumped this bird in with the mallards... probably 200 mallards at the lake(Siloam Springs, AR, today) As I was observing and thinking about leaving to warm up... I kept hearing some weird squeaking. I don't think I got a recording of it... wish I did. It was very unusual to me. Was not a quack like I'm used to hearing from mallards. Do female mallards ever squeak? I probably need to listen to some more sound files.
  2. I couldn't see myself listing it as anything other than domestic mallard. Always feels weird doing so because it looks NOTHING like a mallard... but, that bird looks domestic to me.
  3. domestic swan goose though right? That's a frustrating label to me because when someone just says "swan goose" you don't first think domestic since there is a wild swan goose... which looks a little bit different.
  4. Fun subject... This forum is mostly for wild bird discussions, I assume... very few here care about identifying domestic breeds... but I have a few thoughts. If it doesn't fit any typical species you'd find, there's a good chance it's a domestic duck... which we happen to call "domestic mallard" JUST because they're all related to mallards. Supposedly ALL domestic ducks are mallard derived... it would be like calling a poodle a domestic wolf. That's how I like to look at it. There are plenty of places to learn the different breeds but a ton of them are just mutts anyway. Any muscovy you find in the US is pretty much domestic or feral. The muscovies we have in the US are often a bit different from the true muscovies they originated from... In the areas they originated and are wild, they have one typical look... The dark birds in the following link. All of the lighter colored birds there are different varieties from domestication. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscovy_duck Most muscovy x mallard hybrids are going to be sterile, meaning there wont be grandchildren for such a pairing. It's sort of interesting... muscovies are in their own class, unrelated to all other ducks while all other ducks can interbreed, all being related to mallards. Anyway... identifying a muscovy hybrid isn't always easy. You should see some traits from the muscovy and yet, it might look a bit more domestic mallard like. I've seen a local hybrid often talked about by some locals as if it were simply a rouen... a domestic breed. But when you looked close enough you could see some minor muscovy features. I don't know that I could explain well. If ever in doubt, ask. With a little effort you will learn all your local native species of ducks and soon be able to tell a domestic... They'll often be mutts, not breed specific, but they'll all be considered "domestic mallard" as far as something like eBird goes. Unless it's a muscovy. I believe those are reported as feral. If you ever want to report a hybrid, get some advice first unless you become REALLY good at it. I always ask for ID help on anything I think is a hybrid. Sorry for the rambling. To complicate things... there are domestic mallards that look just like wild ones. I often report those based on behavior and association, as well as features if I can pick up on anything specific.
  5. This is from a facebook group... The legs look domestic to me. But I couldn't say which for sure. This is supposed to be the same bird with it's "mate." The white could be attributed to leucism but those legs... Thoughts?
  6. Thanks for making me feel better at being uncertain about this bird... HA...
  7. So, someone I don't know shared this photo with a group and someone in the group shared it with me. It's being reported as long-eared owl... and they're talking about it as if it's really rare there. I went and looked at the eBird maps and they're not THAT uncommon there this time of year. So I know that much. What I'd like to be educated on is specific differences between them and great horned owls. Overall size and shape are pretty easy... unless you can't really get a good feel... The facial markings make me think it's indeed long-eared... but the bulky pose it's giving has me thinking great horned is possible. When you look at a field guide it feels so easy, they look so different... til you focus on one mark after another... then they become fairly similar. So, overall size and shape, facial disks, and markings on the wings are some ways to tell them apart... What else? Are there any other subtle or not so subtle differences a person could go by? Especially when they don't have all the right looks at the bird. I guarantee someone replies simply stating which bird it is rather than reading the entire post to get an idea of what I'm asking. I would appreciate confirmation on which it is... but more specifically, I want some details to help me better distinguish such things. 🙂 Side note... how many people knew you could simply select "copy" on an image you're viewing(in this case, in the snip and sketch tool) and then "paste" as you're typing here and it starts uploading the image?
  8. I can't tell if the color is accurate in the pic... how about a Forster's tern? I went and compared on All About BIrds and I'd definitely lean away from Roseate... The tip of the bill and the dark trailing edge on the wings possibly point to forster's... But, I'm not expert(or even good) on terns. Foster's and common would be the most common there though.
  9. Interesting... What besides size helps with the ID? I still can't see anything but a merganser shaped bill.... but, you got me on the size there... Color and pattern is extremely difficult to distinguish because the snow was pretty heavy... Don't you just love bad pictures... almost looks like brown on that bird's back...
  10. odd... I can't get anything but a merganser feel from the bill... Man I wish I had noticed it when I was there and had better pics.
  11. I'm looking at some pictures from a very very snowy day... I know I was looking at cormorants... There's always some there... But, zoomed in for one pic, which is part of the other pic... bird on the left in that one... is that just an odd view of one of the cormorants or am I seeing a merganser there? Or is it unidentifiable because of the snow falling?
  12. In perfect conditions the pictures are better. I'm mostly shooting on auto still, using manual focus for a lot of birds. If I can ever learn the manual settings I'll get better pictures... but, my to do list around here is way bigger than I can handle right now so we'll see when I get to actually learn.
  13. Looks like a blue morph snow goose... But in person, I've only seen those high in the sky in big flocks of snow geese...
  14. Is there a website that happens to have side by side pics of every variety of junco? That'd be nice. My pictures came out lousy... at least one of these juncos looked more interesting than a normal female dark-eyed... felt like I was looking at a miniature towhee almost... More exciting note............. After over a year without one, I have a new camera... https://ebird.org/checklist/S77562130
  15. This is a dark-eyed junco. Some people call them "snow birds" because they show up in winter. They're a ground feeder.
  16. I wonder if that could be explained better. I feel like I might be able to interpret the wording but am not 100% certain.
  17. I'm a bit curious about this idea that photographers throw dead mice for action shots... Educate me. Somehow, I can't picture an owl going after something that isn't alive, warm, and squeaking.
  18. For the finch, well I guess I don't make myself clear and some of you don't know me, though I've been around a while. I know my purple from house... There was just something that looked a little off about this one. Please, if you're going to say a bird is a _____ you ought to give some details. Tell me that the markings all look perfectly fine for purple... or, hey yeah, the streaking is a little blurrier or, yeah, that amount of marking on the undertail is common with them... But not just it's a purple finch. I guess this post wasn't so much a "hey, what's this bird" as it is a "hey, look at this, this looks odd to me..." As for the woodpecker... I had no question about that... other than... I'm in NW Arkansas and I have found a vermilion flycatcher here, and had a great kiskadee in my yard. Saying there's nothing else like it in the East doesn't say much. There's a fork-tailed flycatcher on the other side of the state... and a tropical kingbird in another part that has shown up at the same location two years in a row now. Location definitely aids in ID, and often is the rule... but, just about anything can happen. 🙂 My daughter and I have joked over the years that this bird might have some golden-fronted in it. We've never had anyone try and support such and idea but, it's a fun bird just the same. This is at least the third year we've had this bird at our feeders. The spot hasn't gone away so we knew it wasn't something odd of an immature marking or something. I wasn't really asking for ID(again, my fault for not being clear) so much as asking for thoughts on the bird in general.
  19. added question... without seeing the white wing patch, how do you rule out surf scoter in the first pic? How do you confirm white-winged?
  20. I've mentioned spot before. It is a woodpecker that comes to our feeder. We often taper off and stop feeding when the weather gets warmer. This is not entirely intentional... but, it happens. We don't know if spot is here year round or is migratory. We do know that when we first start feeding in the cooler season, it is not here right away. Then it shows up and we wonder... has it been somewhere else, far away? The other bird here I assume is a purple finch. I hate questioning these because they're usually easy... The white eyebrow screams purple... something about the streaking seems off to me... I don't know what. And there's a TINY bit of undertail streaking I see in the pic...... BUT, I've seen drawings in the field guides showing that SOME streaking can be present there. So, I'm sure it's just a purple finch but something about it just, I don't know... looks weird. Maybe the streaking seems "softer" than I'm used to? I don't know... hmmm Side note, I have a new camera now... YAY... I am only using AUTO so far but it's a dslr and I can use manual focus which is proving very handy already. I like it. These pictures I took, I was sitting on the couch shooting throug a not super clean window... on a cloudy day. Not too bad...
  21. I haven't been back to this in a while... I'm going to weigh the thoughts here... along with the thoughts of a local birder that is doing research banding norther saw-whet owls... and hopefully fix the rules for that FB page... It is a tough thing to think about... There are SOME reasons for people being strict in some groups. Why owls more? I think they're coveted more and people go to great lengths to get something they don't have. And, I've not personally witnessed one of the reasons... I was walking a field and accidentally flushed an owl... it was resting, sleeping, nice and hidden during the day. But then I came along... it flew to another tree. Then it had to fly to another and then, I don't know where after that because it was being chased by crows. 😞 It had a nice and cozy, well hidden spot and I ruined his nap. 😞 It's funny snowy owls are being mentioned... There's been quite a few photos of them in that group lately as there seems to be some good spots for them in MA. And, unlike one of the replies above, some people have been getting awfully close to them... not from far far off. I probably will allow most if not all photos and then just insist on photo details for certain speices and, nesting birds. What about something like cranes? Swans? Good camera and good distance is good... but, how do you know who's honest and who is ethical? I mean, the whole migratory bird act is written SO strictly(so you legally can't even bring a feather home) because humans lie... 😞 Humans... I TRIED to propose something to eBird a while back... there are online classes you can take... I suggested they make a free one on the ethics of birding photography. They told me they already have a photography one that mentions ethics... but, that's a paid class. 😞 My idea was that with some FREE eithics class, I could insist that people posting questionable photos can take that course and show me they completed it... or something... eh... oh well.
  22. Was looking at a dark-eyed junco (DEJU) a few minutes ago. I don't have my new camera yet so, I just studied it carefully I THINK it has to just be the brown, slate colored female. The hood was darker, like the brown slate colored in Sibley's... there was brown on the back( a little streaky) and brown on the top/back of the head. The sides looked a bit more like the pink sided... not near as brown as the pic in Sibley's for the brown form. And the secondaries... It seemed like at least half of each feather was white, not just a little whitish edge... That's one of the things that caught my attention first was the markings on teh secondaries. So, I say they were half white but the white had brown intruding. The female brown, slate colored in Sibley's is a perched bird that doesn't show the sides and back good enough, where the males are posed as if they were on the ground and you get a better side view. So it's difficult to compare... not to mention, they're drawings and not real life photos. But anyway... That's my interesting bird for the morning. Doesn't quite look like the brown form of slate colored dark-eyed junco(that's a mouthful) but it's what it most closely resembled so it had to be, or some variation or mix between different forms? I wish there was a real life photo chart of the such birds, all side by side... EVERY variation of dark-eyed junco in one place... Could be a wall poster. Makes me think,k I probably would put up such types of wall posters to aide in IDs at times.
  23. Now wait a minute mr sox fox... No... cayuga are larger ducks and the color of the body and bill aren't quite right. I wish I knew how to contact a guy I knew from an old poutry forum years back... he created his own duck breed and was REALLY good at duck genetics and could give some really educated thoughts on this bird. The color... it is dark here... I'm telling you, in the field that day it was good for cinnamon teal color on the body... it was a striking bird. Not saying it HAS to be CITE at all... just, that the color doesn't represent what was seen. And Benjamin... yeah, it's been a LONG year... August was the worst having a false order of protection filed, ending up without a home or car, having my 19 year old kicked out a week later then having to stay with me at a hotel, a birthday(I don't like aging), then our 20th anniversary, then court... The worst is behind... the present is so so... but it's better and could be worse. I've had support from family and friends... got a dirt cheap($700) car 2nd day out of the house, I'm back in the house, and on and on. Depending on which side of the coin I choose to look at today, life is good. And there's always birding... First mississippi kite I saw all year was when I was walking because I had no car... I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. ha. I'm not entirely sure my current vehicle will make it the 5 or so hours to chase a fork-tailed flycatcher but I'm working on another vehicle... we'll see. And I'm rambling... I do that. Perhaps 20 years is a long time to live with me. HA. Anyway... thanks for the thoughts on the bird so far. I wish I had a better camera back then and had better pictures. It really was a striking bird, no matter what it is. Oh... so, the bird is small... teal sized... it was significantly smaller than the mallards... so, either it has some form of teal lineage or, call duck(domestic). I'm not convinced of that but, I really can't say at this point. It's interesting to see someone say that a 2nd generation hybrid isn't likely... but would like to add to that, anything is possible. HOPEFULLY the next time I have confusing birds to get IDs for I'll have better photos... I'm getting a new camera soon... canon rebel t7 and hopefully I can use it well enough to get better pictures than the point and shoots I'm used to. We'll see.
  24. I've been bothered by that white patch a little... has me almost wondering about a bwte x cite x mall... as in one hybrid hybridizing with another bird. It's curious for sure. The color seemed wrong to just be bwte though. Even in these pictures it's dark but, I really remember that day watching the bird, it was definitely cinnamon teal colored. I REALLY wish I had a better camera back then. I'm getting a new camera soon, I think.. can't wait.
  25. These pictures are lousy and wont do this bird justice. This is from January 2018 here in Arkansas... not that the location matters for this particular bird. 🙂 I wish I had a better camera at the time as this really was a magnificent bird. You might be able to tell in one picture, where it's swimming with mallards, that it is teal sized. The color of the bird sure looked perfect for cinnamon teal in the field. In the lousy pictures... my daughter thinks it's too dark for cinnamon teal but that doesn't give us any other possibilities. It looks like I see some white hear the bill which would steer away from cinnamon but... it's really too dark to be blue-winged. And it had a nice bright green mallard head... The bill is half mallard colored half teal color... (I keep thinking about domestics but can't think of any that it really would look like as far as size and form) I'm still leaning towards cinnamon teal x mallard but I'm not sure it's perfect for it. Again, the pictures do not do the bird justice. Let me know what you think... I was excited because I tried looking up such a hybrid online to show my kids but, I didn't find a single one. I want to show this to my state reviewer but he doesn't take me very seriously as a birder so I haven't been reaching out to him as often lately... 😞 Side question... how active is the forum compared to the FB page? I see people post on FB a LOT but, I also see a lot of ID's given by people that don't know their birds. In case anyone asks... (i'm somewhat of an open book... too much so sometimes) where I've been??? It's a LONG story but I spent almost a month living in a hotel, going through a separation(or divorce, I'm not even sure) and custody etc... I am in my house and have primary custody of the kids which is awesome... but it still limits the time I have with them so I don't get out birding as much and my time on the internet... well, I'm still on a lot but my computer is "missing" so I'm on a chromebook that I don't like... and I end up having a LOT of other stuff to do so I have forgotten about this place for a while. Another side note... anyone with reliable transportation want to drive me to the other side of Arkansas to chase the fork-tailed flycatcher that's been there a while now? I have a feeling if I ever drive that far the bird will be gone... it's about 5 or so hours from here. phew... long enough for now. Let me know what you think about this duck.
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