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Posts posted by millipede

  1. 9 hours ago, Jim W said:

    I do worry about infrequent visitors getting questionable identifications from people only one page ahead of them in the book.

    Oh the discussions I see on facebook...
    I like to think I'm 2 or 3 pages ahead at least... 
    What's funny/interesting to me...  At least for me, as I learned, I learned what my limitations are. Seems some people get a little too sure of themselves at the very beginning.

    Hey, maybe we can have a scoring system for users... that shows what page of the book they're on.  😛 

  2. 4 minutes ago, Seanbirds said:

    Looks like a normal Mallard to me. Are you considering Mottled Duck or something? Not much else it could be.

    Not really considering anything. The bill alone had me certain it was just a female mallard... that squeak it was making though... I just didn't know what to make of it. So, I had to ask somewhere. 🙂

  3. 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.


  4. 14 minutes ago, Avery said:

    Swan Goose x Canada Goose. Extensive white on the rear, face, and neck, as well as the yellow legs.

    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.

  5. 3 hours ago, IKLland said:

    Ok, I for some reason, love domestic ducks! Yay! But, I can’t identify them. Can we please explain how to tell the difference between domestic Muscovy, domestic mallard, and Muscovy X Mallard hybrid. 
    thanks to all!

    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.

    • Like 4
  6. 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?


  7. 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.

    • Like 1
  8. 27 minutes ago, Tony Leukering said:

    Exactly -- COLO

    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... 

  9. 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?



  10. 12 minutes ago, Seanbirds said:

    Congrats on the new camera! Looks like it can take some pretty decent photos.

    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.

  11. 19 hours ago, Avery said:

    The feathering on the bill extends in front of the eye farther than it does on top, making the white patch in front of the eye wide. Surf scoters have the feathering extend farther on the top of the bill, with the white in front of the not able to be wide. 

    I wonder if that could be explained better. I feel like I might be able to interpret the wording but am not 100% certain.


  12. 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.

  13. 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...

    1 hour ago, Tony Leukering said:

    There's no other zebra-backed woodpecker in the East

    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. 

  14. 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... 

    Screenshot 2020-12-12 at 4.14.00 PM.png

    Screenshot 2020-12-12 at 4.03.36 PM.png

  15. 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.

  16. 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.  

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