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Everything posted by millipede

  1. Gomer Pyle? I think we have at least one season of that on the shelf...
  2. real? or fake? There's a guy about an hour from here that... ugh... his checklists. The other year he kept reporting all sorts of swan geese and such at a TINY lake(should be called a pond) that is loaded with domestics... and he kept on and kept on reporting. I'd have to talk with the eBird reviewer and we got him to stop. But, he reports SO much, and so much from his yard... whether it's from his yard or neighborhood, there's just SO much that I KNOW he's not seeing and/or identifying correctly. He started reporting things to more specific subtypes... a guy that can't tell a domestic goose at all suddenly knows an eastern downy woodpecker... and a common northern cardinal... and, sub typing owls that I'm sure he's not even seeing? Three owl species at his location in one evening? Possible but unlikely. Small forest and then a golf course behind him... he's reported greater yellowlegs and least sandpiper there too... his list keeps growing... and... he reports some of his ID's with "merlin" as a comment... or "heard with merlin." We all know how accurate that can be... and he's been warned by two eBird reviewers multiple times and keeps on doing it. The other day he reported 3 mute swans... I couldn't help but think they were fake... as in fake swans. The only mute swans I've seen have been fake. I brought up fake ones years ago in a discussion and someone told me that they put them on these small ponds to try and draw them in or something, and that, oh they see mute swans flying overhead all the time... Uh... no... not around here. For this county, there's one report on eBird... and I'd have to go double check that one to see what evidence they have... and, it was probably an escaped pet... But this guy saw three mute swans... said he had pictures... eventually shared a picture. There's a perfect line around the neck... a pile of debris on its back... would a swan leave a pile of leaves or some stuff on its back? And what looks like wires to me... I zoomed in and cropped so you can see it better. I think this guy is old and his vision and hearing are bad... How do you get someone like this, so anxious to eBird(dozens of checklists a day some days... prolific) to step back and realize, understand, and/or admit he doesn't know what he's doing? ack...
  3. I wanted to want the Peterson's mostly because it's the newest... More up to date species lists and such is a GOOD thing... But, the book has the SAME design as always. I looked on Amazon where you can "look inside" and I scrolled and scrolled. I like some aspects of it... I can even get over the female being partially out of view to cram more birds in... I mean, this keeps a book smaller right? But... Then there are pages where the birds are all over and you have to figure out which birds are which... Most field guides have each species clearly separate on each page... Well just look... I clipped and then drew a line on the snow goose page. Snow geese above, below, and left of the ross'. Could be a little confusing when they do this. I feel like I could get enough ID info with this guide but some of the illustrations look a little sloppy to me(bottom left geese) and then the ross's just put in the middle? I want my eyes to find what I'm looking for quickly... The side by side head shot illustrating the bill is good but... still... I think I'll skip the Peterson's. I might look into whether or not Sibley has any plans for any updates any time soon(if I can find such info) and might just get Sibley's East like I've been planning on for a few years. I kind of like how Peterson's says East and Central... let's you know what's included... with Sibley, east or west, I wonder where the line is drawn and if enough crossover is in there.
  4. I'll look online for our library but our town is like 16 or 17k people... I doubt we have anything new as far as bird books... and the nearest real book stores, Barnes and nobles, if it's still there, is about 30 minutes from here... Something to think about if I'm ever over that way though. EDIT: checked the library... they have the 2000 Sibley and a 1986(I think) not full guide from Peterson... so, not much.
  5. I did just come across another topic in this section, with an interesting subject title... and it references Peterson's guide having the female's hidden behind the males. I think they did that to cram more birds on a page(space) but they show the most important ID points I think. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it or if the newer version would be the same so I looked at Amazon... the only pictures I found were of some of the waterfowl pages... and the females were not AS hidden behind but, still behind the males... but, arrows pointing to important features on the females. Would be nice to be able to see in person the newest field guides side by side... or talk to someone that has experience with some of them. Have I ever mentioned how much trouble I have with decisions? HA
  6. It doesn't FEEL like that long ago where everyone was sibley sibley sibley... all the time... the end. I had plans, for a while, to get Sibley's guide to the east... and who knows what else. But I went looking today... did a search online(not google πŸ˜› ) for best field guides 2022 or something along those lines. The first few results didn't even mention Sibley's. Peterson's was one of the top... On different sites, national geographic and something from the smithsonian were tops. Audubon has a review of guides but it's OLD now... not current... it talks about Peterson's being old and out of date but now, Peterson's is actually the most recent guide. Part of me still wants a Sibley's east, even though I've read things about maps being a little off, and they didn't bother fixing it. But I'm curious... anyone here keep up to date with what's NEW and good? There have been name changes since Sibley's 2nd edition, I believe... so, Peterson's should be more up to date. I read some reviews and most of the complaints about the peterson's had to do with it not being like their OLD guides... some people liked the maps in the back instead of alongside each bird? Hmmm... One person complained about not enough info in some places or something, I don't remember, but overall it had really good reviews. So... anyone have new guides? Anyone review any guides that have come out since Sibley's 2nd? I feel like National Geographic had an update since then too. And feel free to share ANY thoughts you have... pros and cons... your preferences as far as photos vs drawings... etc... I have an old Kauffman guide somewhere... and a Sibley's first edition, somewhere... I want something more up to date for sure... I use my phone apps fairly often but I like having a book to open... I don't always like to grab the phone, put in my passcode, open the app, wait........ then search... It's handy in the field or if I want to listen... but, when I'm sitting at home, I want a book. πŸ™‚
  7. Just for fun I brightened some pictures... These should be in the same order. I resized a few... the first one I moved a few birds around in the picture so they'd fit in a smaller space.... πŸ™‚ I don't think this one helps a whole lot... gives a little overall feel... There are two ducks on a small log that show up better in another picture so I'll address them there. But just behind and right of them, I am getting a little bit of a mallard feel from that duck now. This next one(I'm saying next so people can follow what I'm talking about) has some of the same birds. I'm not sure if that looks like a mallard or a gadwall or what. Was leaning mallard in the other photo but I can't make out much here. The two on the log... both smaller... The one on the left gives me a wood duck feel, as I said earlier in the conversation. The one right of it LOOKS smaller, had me thinking green-winged teal but, is it smaller? It's facing away here... Not very helpful. Definitely smaller than the dabbler behind them. This one had me leaning towards bufflehead before. I'm not quite sure what I think... is that white spot a white spot on the head or a lighting thing? And the back end, that white line... Not sure what I'm seeing. Some good size differences here... I'm not sure what I think. The big one gives me a mallard feel but, I just can't judge it. Hmm... this is the one that was giving me a wood duck feel originally... Must be a lighting thing... has a muscovy look to it, that face, but, I don't think that's accurate as that bird is smaller... Still kind of a wood duck feel but I don't know. Eh... I don't know if these would actually do anything for anyone but, figured it didn't hurt to try. πŸ™‚
  8. If it sounded like I was doing that, it wasn't meant to. Especially since none of this is anything I'm certain about... Just throwing some thoughts out there to consider. πŸ™‚ I appreciate that you can handle that type of response though. I TRY(most of the time) to be tactful because my line of questioning often steps on toes and some people REALLY don't like that... even when I'm not actually questioning them, I'm taken that way often... So I TRY to be careful... but, when I don't know something, have thoughts or ponderings, and want to understand something better... I ask... and ask. πŸ™‚
  9. or a hybrid or domestic mutt? While there's some pattern on the bill that leans female, the color of the bill is more yellowish than you'd see on a typical female, in my opinion. Most of the feathering looks good for male and there's green on part of the head... If it were a summer shot I'd be considering a molting bird... I'm not expert on these things by any means(not even close) but I don't know how a person could be positive about their being a gender issue here vs some other type of duck lineage in there. I'd be curious to hear more thoughts though. It's definitely different.
  10. The shape of the head can often help but, all ducks(all birds even) can raise and lower feathers changing what we see... so it's not always 100% reliable. The scaups are a pain... it's a little easier when you have decent photos and these give us good views. For me(not an expert) the "nail"(black at the tip) on the bill is too small to point to greater. That's about all I can say about it though.
  11. reviewers can make mistakes... not that I'm suggesting anything here. I don't try to ID dark morph hawks for the most part... unless I can get anything close to a red-tail or other markings that would help with it... I'll try to get pictures and then ask here. HA.
  12. you can play with the location and time frame on the map but they look common enough in PA... I narrowed this down to the last 11 years and when you zoom in, any red markers are recent. https://ebird.org/map/truswa?neg=false&env.minX=-84.63594839432417&env.minY=38.64555890277084&env.maxX=-70.57344839432417&env.maxY=43.52738521705696&zh=true&gp=false&ev=Z&mr=1-12&bmo=1&emo=12&yr=range&byr=2011&eyr=2022 as for the specific location you had them at, it may just not be a favorite spot. SE of where I am in Arkansas, in several places in AR, there are fairly good numbers of trumpeter swans in the winter... Where I am... rare... Some years ago I found a family group of 7 birds... 2 adults and 5 immature at a local lake. I reported it to some fellow birders who reported it to others and then, a bunch of people went to look and it even found its way into the local newspaper(no mention of me, of course) They're not rare in this state but this area... it's just not popular for them. There are some small to big and I mean massive lakes in this area... but they're found futher south, often on smaller ponds near fields... grain fields. There's always something that makes birds pick one spot over another, even if I can't see it with my own eyes. In the summer, I know of several prairies where I never find grasshopper sparrows... I had one single location where I found them a few summers in a row... it was at the time a soon to be subdivision... just roads... some plumbing had been put in... so, strips of grasses with roads in-between... didn't look great but, some particular type of grassy plant had to be there that they liked as I just haven't found them anywhere else. And of course now it's all houses that look to be 2 feet apart... kind of gross... and sad 😞 Anyway... Report it to eBird and it may get reviewed and you'll have the reviewer give you another opinion on the birds and they'll appreciate the data, I imagine. Even if it isn't a big deal for PA, it's exciting to be the first to report a species at a given location... πŸ™‚
  13. yeah, any other angle would help significantly I would think. definitely sounds like flycatcher behavior... returning to the same spot. I've seen lots of other birds do that but, so far no gnatcatchers. I'm not good with those empids... there are things about this bird that still don't quite look empid to me but at the same time... it makes sense. What looks like a pale brownish color on the front edge of the wings seems to line up with the pic someone posted of a flycatcher... helping ID go that way, in my mind at least... ha. I have a love/hate relationship with mysteries like this.
  14. I didn't want to be the first reply so I waited. I was leaning towards male with the color on the wing but also with the whole posture. It looks like a singing male in those pictures.
  15. do not report these birds to eBird. They'll get flagged... a reviewer will write to you and tell you not to report them. And can't imagine they have any options for domestic versions of such birds. And yeah, most birders only count what is "countable" according to the ABA. Birds in captivity are NOT countable... But... there are people out there that have lists of birds they see on tv... so, sure, you're list your rules. πŸ™‚
  16. and at least you have a picture. I've taken notes about something I saw, no pics, and then a LONG time later I see the notes and think... what on earth was I talking about??? ha.
  17. Not that I'd suggest using Merlin to confirm an ID but, I used Merlin on this photo and it also said blue-gray gnatcatcher. I still personally lean gnatcatcher but, wish we had other views.
  18. I wish I could pick up some more detail in most of these... I'm leaning towards bald eagle because of the white mottling on the wings and what looks like a large bill to me but, I'd wait for another opinion. The ducks, many of them are just not detailed enough for me to guess but I FEEL like the birds on a log that look smaller may be green-winged teal based on the few details I can pick up on and overall size in comparison to what's around. The smallest picture I am thinking may be a bufflehead but I wish I had a better look at it. And something about the face of the duck in the middle of the last pic has me thinking female wood duck. I'd wait for more opinions on all of these though.
  19. I want to call this a blue-gray gnatcatcher... I'm not sure if Colorado has other gnatcatchers... wait for another response.
  20. In April of 2019, I had one land in my yard in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. It just touched down on a tree in the woods behind my house and was not there long enough for me to grab the camera to snap a photo. I was too busy gawking at it... When it flew in, because of the gray sky behind it, I couldn't make anything out of it. But once it landed on top of a tree it was in great lighting and the bold BOLD black and white on the head... brown back... BRIGHT yellow belly... it was unmistakable... My daughter and I were both just birding the yard when it flew in. She did not see it fly in and it didn't stay long enough for me to point it out. It let out a squeal and then flew off... I was excited(well, excited for me) as I was scrolling through an app on my phone to see if I was correct in the name... I'm not often good at birds that I have no experience with... My daughter was asking what it was... I started with the description of the head, back, front, etc... and she was like "no... no way..." Then I found it... played a couple sounds before I found the exact call we both heard. I tried a little playback... that day and many others to follow... but, the bird was headed somewhere far away. My daughter was SO mad... because she refuses to count heard only birds... but, she said she was mad that it called because if she didn't hear it, she wouldn't have to believe me. The skeptic she is, she knew what she heard... I reported this on eBird... and the local reviewer had me submit to the rare bird committee... Almost 3 years later and they never reached out to me. At the time, this would have been the first known report EVER in Arkansas... sometime later that year, a photo surfaced that someone had a couple years prior in Arkansas... so, if my report ever gets accepted it would be the second, not the first for the state. Sometimes I wish I had access to is all the eBird data that doesn't go public because it is not accepted. My kiskadee report for instance... you cannot find it. I can go and search my own and pull up that list but, if you were to search the species map, you would not see it... I've tried looking for that time frame to see if it showed up anywhere else in the US that might line up with when I saw the bird... where did it go? I'd like to think that SOMEONE saw it at some point... somewhere in the US... But, any time around the same time I saw it, there are no reports that would make any sense... so IF anyone else saw it, those were either not reported or, not approved reports. I don't know why I was thinking about this today. I emailed the local reviewer about it today... ha, he just got back to me as I'm typing this... only to say that for such a committee, it's safer to reject a submission they're unsure of than to accept a bad one. Oh well I guess... and yet... grrrrrr... it was a kiskadee... no doubt. He also admitted something I suggested... that a birder's reputation can be considered. Many of these people don't know me and I'm not one of the professors or college students that everyone knows to be an expert... so, I am legitimately not taken as seriously as if the local audubon chapter's field trip leader had reported it. 😞 sigh... Anyway... Since it's been a couple of years, this had me wanting to check the eBird data again. So I checked... my report was April of 2019 so, I did the map search and narrowed it to April to December of 2019... It was headed northeast, ish... maybe more NNE, hard to say... but, nothing up in that direction. I broadened my search to ALL of 2019 through all of 2020... Man do I wish I had some missing puzzle pieces but... I did notice something that, well I feel like it tells a story. In January of 2019 and also in December of 2020, there was a Great Kiskadee in northern Indiana(2019) and northern Illinois(2020), many sightings... At various times in 2020, there are many sightings in the Dallas, TX area... If you look at the map and imagine a line between Dallas and the sightings in Indiana and Illinois... it would pass RIGHT through my area in NW Arkansas. Coincidence? I don't think so. None of the public reports really line up with a sighting here in April but, there is a lot of missing data for sightings in general in those time frames. I REALLY wish I could dig through all the not public reports to see if there might be more dots to connect on the map. That would be pretty interesting... but, I don't know how a person could look at such without finding a way to poll eBird users or contact every reviewer in the space between Dallas and Indiana/Illinois... A person would have to wonder if it has been the same bird making the trip back and forth... The date of my sighting doesn't line up with the others in a way that makes sense to me... in Indiana in January of 2019... but, passing through my yard in a way that would suggest it's heading up that way in April... and then not reported up there again til the end of 2020... Lots of missing data. Once upon a time, I was hoping I'd find dots on the map that would help confirm my sighting... The dots I have no support the idea that kiskadees have passed by this way in that time frame but, I'd say don't come close to being anything a person could consider conclusive. https://ebird.org/map/grekis?neg=false&env.minX=-149.2234669497468&env.minY=18.85908908424873&env.maxX=-36.7234669497468&env.maxY=55.75469117352431&zh=true&gp=false&ev=Z&mr=1-12&bmo=1&emo=12&yr=range&byr=2019&eyr=2020 Anyway... this is my brain... processing my thoughts. I sometimes wish that either my binoculars or my eyes themselves could snap photos... While not as exciting, there have been other birds, like a black-billed cuckoo, that I've gotten really good looks at and just didn't have time to snap a photo... some birds stick around for days and weeks and longer... others are here one second and gone the next. The joys and frustrations of birding... Frustrating that my report might not ever get approved but... more important than that... pretty exciting that I had such an encounter right here in my own backyard. Absolutely amazing. I'm more than okay with that. πŸ™‚
  21. Is it okay for the discussion to continue without you? No offense meant here but I am curious if you really don't care about the ID or if you might be a little bothered that there are some suggestions that lean away from what you think it was... I ask this as someone that has been there and will likely be there again. I hate it when people tell me that I was wrong or, that I could not have judged size accurately, or... things like that. But, it happens... it happens that people have strong opinions... it also happens that we can be wrong sometimes. Personally, I get the frustration because... well, I like mysteries but, I like mysteries that can actually be solved. I don't like not knowing and also not having a way to ever be certain. The conversation here suggests that there's no way to be sure here. That's what I'm getting from it. Some very experienced birders with some strong and different opinions/ideas. That would make me want to walk away... but, again, no offense, just thinking out loud... if you really didn't care about the ID anymore, I would think that other people continuing the discussion wouldn't hurt anything. I have mixed feelings... part of me doesn't care at all what this bird is... part of me wants to see the discussion continue with people weighing in on what they see here. I was totally wrong about which way the bird was facing... oops. Don't take it personally if people continue to discuss. It isn't about proving you right or wrong... and maybe it's not even about helping you at this point. People just like to discuss these things... some of us like to solve mysteries and, it's painful to just give up and not even try anymore... it's a compulsion perhaps... I can see a loon like head shape in the first cropped photo... so I get why that's been suggested... the bill looks straighter in that photo but, in my opinion doesn't look thick enough to suggest loon... or at least not common loon... and, in the second cropped pic, it's very difficult to even imagine that being a loon bill... I can see cormorant or merganser being suggested there... then again, depending on the angle and other factors, what looks more like a hook to the bill might be something in the bill... food? drop of water hanging off? Sometimes birds are just far out enough, you just can't get the detail you need no matter how hard you try. And, it's frustrating. Some people seem to get along with not having solid IDs... I think some people just come up with an ID and stick with it just because they NEED an ID... and then some of us, struggle and get really frustrated not being certain... For me, this happens often... more likely to happen if I'm just trying to have a good list... or if there's ANY change it might be a new year or life bird but I'm just not sure... Talk about aggravating. ACK... I've had SO many aggravations in my just about 8 years of birding... so many times I didn't go back for a second look where I should have. SO many times... possibly walking away from something rare not realizing it til later... Anyway... I am sorry if you're frustrated with the discussion. Sometimes some of us just can't help ourselves. Sometimes I jump in a conversation with people that know their birds better than I simply because I might have noticed a detail that I am not sure was looked at... sometimes that helps the conversation... other times, not so much. Sorry for the ramble.
  22. while I'm looking at grebes... same location... pied-billed I'm sure but the one in front looks significantly smaller. Then again, I see PBGR that look a little smaller all the time... not sure how much of it is just posture but I can't help but always be on the lookout for a least... one has been reported in this county before, years ago... so you never know right? ha
  23. Horned grebes are very common at this location this time of year. NW Arkansas over this past weekend. These were a ways out... easy to see they're not pied-billed... But at this distance, I don't know if I can personally rule out any other grebes so I just wanted a second opinion on them. One of them, in a few pictures, almost looked like there's more of a red neck to it... in more than one picture... but, I still suspect horned for them all.
  24. NW Arkansas over the weekend. According to bar charts, least is all that should be here.
  25. I read through this whole conversation and then clicked to view the bird. What kind of screens are you all looking at this on? For the comments to be all over from cormorant to loon to merganser... seems weird. Not that I have the answer... The colors are difficult to judge... looks like green on the head, unless that's just a lighting thing or something... and a definite color difference between neck and breast. Out of the suggestions so far, cormorant is one thing I cannot see here. Attached are some cropped versions of the bird. The way I'm interpreting what I'm seeing, this bird is facing the camera for the most part... breast facing us...
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