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Everything posted by millipede

  1. This is a link to the cover photo I'm using for the "Birding in Massachusetts" FB page linked in my signature... Don't know if that will work... if it doesn't, you can click the link in my profile if you're interested. The photo is cropped to use as a cover image for a FB group... But it's one of my favorite photos I've taken for sure. I was visiting my mother in Massachusetts last summer and this red-tailed hawk flew right into the yard... landed on the clothesline. My mom's yard is about half an acre and we weren't far from where this landed. We walked near it as I tried taking more and more and MORE pictures of the bird... with my not so perfect camera(that's broken now... 😞 I'm cameraless 😞 ) I don't remember the distance but I'd say I tiptoed to 15 feet from the bird before he decided to leave. This approach lasted 10 minutes or more, easily. Sneak in, click some pictures. This bird ignored me... you could see it scanning the area, I'm assuming for food. I've only had a few close encounters with hawks like this and it amazes me every time.
  2. Random pointless update... Spot is back. This is the third winter we've had this bird visiting our feeders. I FEEL like this is a migratory bird but, do RBWO migrate? I think this because, we feed all winter(sometimes all year, sometimes not) and he or she didn't show up for quite some time after we put the feeders up... Like a couple months I think. It's weird what comes in and what doesn't. Last winter we had a male hairy woodpecker, for the first time, visiting our feeders all winter... This winter, not him... but a male yellow-bellied sapsucker is out there every day and we've never had those at our feeders. I do wonder where Spot is when he's not around here... is he still around and we don't notice somehow? or??? Either way, it's still pretty fascinating to watch this bird. 🙂
  3. Most will say Sibley's Sibley's Sibley's... ha. The Sibley guide to Birds, the 2nd edition. Most of them are decent but that's probably the most up to date... and if you have a smart phone, there are a few good apps you can use. The Audubon guide and Merlin are both good and free. Sometimes that's the best way to learn... for me, I get more from learning in the field and people explaining things than I can from reading a book. And we enjoy answering so keep asking. 🙂 I can't say anything about the images... There's something under where you're typing where you're supposed to be able to just upload photos. I'm not sure if that's working. Many people just go to an image hosting site like imgur and then paste here... some use flickr, and others.
  4. bump... I've been curious... If people ignored the "what kind of goose is that" question, is there anything else in the picture to help ID them? Looks to me like their backside is black or at least VERY dark considering the backsides of the geese show white just fine. It's difficult to not consider the geese, whether they were regular sized or smaller... that one on the right, the bill sure looks short... but the rest of the geese, at lest the ones where it looks like I can see the bill, sure look good for Canada to me. Part of me wants to consider gadwall... part of me says teal. are they identifiable??? @Tony Leukering have any thoughts on these??? The mallard, I don't even want to look at it. Something about the way it's posed looks like a fake bird, or photoshopped, or, I don't know... just looks odd and hurts my brain to think about him so I'm ignoring him. HA 😛 I've been waiting because I hate mysteries... or at least unsolved ones. ha...
  5. They may be first winter males... I had the same confusion a couple winters ago when I saw one like these...
  6. That's interesting and frustrating... I'll forget. I will call one thing by the wrong name... I'm sure of it.
  7. There are lots of birding type questions that I'll ask some day that I never thought about asking because I simply didn't think of the scenario. I never thought I'd stop and ask how to tell a domestic from wild turkey... I mean, I think I'd be able to tell some farm turkeys from wild but, there are some farm turkeys that sure are wild looking. There are some wild turkeys that are quite skittish and then there are some that seem comfortable around people. I'm hoping/thinking there's a physical clue to help me when I see them in the field. Saturday we saw a wild one crossing the road in front of us, out in the middle of nowhere on the way to an audubon field trip to Devil's Den State Park... Then yesterday we saw three in someone's yard that seemed quite comfortable just pecking around the yard. It makes me think they're domestic but, I wasn't certain. Part of me wanted to go to the stranger's house and ask... HA... I didn't. But I did get pictures. One male and two females as far as I could tell and the male had its tail spread the whole time we were stopped there... which wasn't long since it was in front of someone's house... that's always a bit awkward. ha. Anyway... I hope I don't sound like an idiot here... this is just something I've never thought about before... What do I look for, if anything, to be certain of birds being wild or domestic when it comes to turkeys... it's a little easier with the ducks, most of the time. Oh yeah, part of my curiosity is because I was making an eBird checklist while driving down this road... so I wasn't sure if I should report as wild turkey or just leave them off the list. Seemed an odd place to see them so relaxed near a house but at the same time, I've never seen turkeys at that yard before...
  8. usually you're making the opposite correction to people... ha... I've been birding about 6 years and I have to learn by experience rather than books, mostly... so, there's still a LOT for me to learn, but I'm learning... and my first time being corrected by tony on terminology frustrated me a little... I got over it but, I STILL have to correct myself at times because those two terms seem interchangeable to me... for humans at least. HA... And I used the word "baby" to describe a bird once and got corrected... and, no offense, I have no problem using that word in that way again in the future. Just like I might say "aint" sometimes. The terminology matters in some places, not so much in others... I'm more bothered by the BROAD use of "sparrow hawk" and "hoot owl." And lots of other wrong terms and phrases... but I give lots of grace because I'm still learning and, (love the article title) who cares... ha. It's really, really good to correct and educate as long as it isn't done in a snobbish way that puts people off from learning. With birds like this... we have to keep in mind that many people still struggle with what species it is. We're all on very different levels. Anyway... I am rambling. I apologize. If I could earn money by rambling I'd be a rich man. 😛 For the record, I can't look at this bird and tell if it's immature or juvenile... I am not that learned... and, I might not ever be. Okay, I have to stop... so many thoughts racing through my head...
  9. I really wish I had a better camera and got more photos of the bird. In the field, my daughter and I were both wowing over the color of the bird. Are you suggesting it can't be a california based on range? or that combined with they don't really migrate? Can you rule out california based on the picture? I question everything. 🙂 The other year we had a vermillion flycatcher in our town here in NW Arkansas... and last year I had a great kiskadee land in my yard for about 5 seconds. Those were way out of range.... I'm just questioning for certainty... I know how educated you are on these birds... sometimes you answer questions in an indirect way where a person has to think about it... sometimes that's actually good... other times I read and think "so was that a yes or a no or...?" ha. I use range quite often for birds I catch only glimpses of... 99.999999% of the time if a hummingbird flies through my yard it's Ruby throated so I'll report them as such... There are times when I'm glad there are ranges for birds as some of them can really confuse. So glad I don't live in an overlap area for any birds that look alike. Then again, that might FORCE me to get to know those ones better...
  10. totally clean? I see something of a breastband on this bird... which had me questioning how we could rule out bank here. It's a blurry photo so you cannot see detail but there's clearly some color there, not solid white. But I just stared at the field guide and see that juvenile tree swallows have something of a pale breastband there. And, apparently the tail does help rule out the bank though so I'd still agree with tree. 🙂 Hopefully I can retain some of this stuff I look up. Always... 🙂 want to buy me a new camera? My old one had 40x zoom which was decent enough, most of the time I guess... but it's not functional anymore so I'm without... 125x? I could definitely use that at times. ha.
  11. I wish... so many wishes... wish I had a new camera... been stuck using my daughter's(my old, old one) and it's not great... and, I wish I took more than one photo of this bird now. Just looked and the bird was preening or something when the photo snapped so you can't see all the details well. This was today, 2/17/2020 in Siloam Springs, Arkansas... I thought it odd enough that this red-shouldered hawk was on a fence post in the middle of pasture. Normally I see RTHA in this habitat and RSHA closer to wooded areas. There are wooded areas nearby but, this just looked out of place. We were hoping for a harrier or, better yet, a prairie falcon. Anyway, we never saw a RSHA with so much color on it... Just from the back... the whole head, what little of the front that was showing... SO much strong reddish color... and, something about the tail just had me curious. I never saw one quite like this. Then when I was looking at picture, I was still puzzled by the tail. So I just looked in Sibley's(first edition, not second) and see there's a california red-shouldered that looks a LOT like this bird. You can't see the whole bird... I'm unsure if the bold tail bands are bold enough and enough to go on with this picture... Anyone good with the subspecies for these birds? have any thoughts??? Hmmm... can't seem to upload a photo... have I reached my limit or something? I'll upload to imgur or something... https://imgur.com/a/iy5qg0l
  12. ha... I don't know. You could wait and see if Tony has another thought... even though I THINK it's part mallard, there's a lot of muscovy there and reporting it as a domestic muscovy wouldn't hurt anything.
  13. 1. Remember? I never knew to begin with... 😛 2. Really??? THAT much lighter? The first photo threw me but I can definitely see Red-shouldered in the second...
  14. it's a noisy bird... that's what it is. :p We used to have some as pets years ago. Good bug eaters.
  15. indeed... someone actually argued with me on a local FB group about a bird they saw... insisted it was a woodpecker that was "at least" 3 feet tall... and, bigger than a bald eagle. Could you imagine the drilling of a bird that size? HA. Looks like NY... Hopefully you can get some pictures up as that would indeed help.
  16. Of this, if it still works... https://dl.allaboutbirds.org/download_the_warbler_guide_quickfinders I have the pdf file on my computer(I should print it some day and carry it with me) and when I saw this topic the other day, I looked at it... sort of asked myself if I could tell it wasn't a blue-winged from this picture... looked at the guide and that black pattern on the tail was good for prothonotary... I'm a LONG way from being able to just look and ID from the underside for a lot of those warblers but having guides sure can help.
  17. The eBird reviewers for your area determine/set what gets flagged and what doesn't... Since this is a domestic bird AND potentially a hybrid, there's really just no need to report it as such... it's just not interesting for eBird data, in my opinion(speculation) I mean, it just makes it another domestic duck... unless it was a wild mallard x muscovy, which we sure couldn't tell... So... anything at all that isn't "normal" to report in that area is going to get flagged as "rare." That will happen with numbers sometimes as well.. I would assume that the actual muscovy x mallard option would be restricted to wild mallard parent and, again, that's just not something we could tell from the picture. Your reviewer will probably tell you to label it something else, like muscovy, or domestic mallard. I'm by no means an expert on them but, I'd want to call it a hybrid(assumption/guess) based on the color pattern... dark breast/bib, gray sides, dark head... sort of looks mallard-ish... and I'd picture the neck a bit longer on a muscovy. The shape is just a bit off to me... Again, I'm not an expert... but I have owned muscovies in the past and see them frequently at local parks... so, this is just my take on it. 🙂
  18. Now I don't feel so bad about being uncertain of the bird... ha... thanks. Whatever it is, it's the first time I've noticed one like it so, that's interesting enough. 🙂
  19. update on my search for info... I used the eBird map to look up the cismontanus specifically... Far less common and NONE in Arkansas... But, I'll find out later, I wonder if our reviewer doesn't have that listed as a form to report... He's going to be VERY busy(I think we have one reviewer for the whole state) for the GBBC so I don't know how quickly I'll hear back from him... Just over the border in Oklahoma, some lady has reported quite a few of them over the years... I'm talking 20 to 30 minutes from here... so, I can't decide now if the cismontanus is more common than I think in this area and I just haven't noticed them... or if it is indeed not that common(but not "rare" either). I'll get some thoughts from local birders... either way, it's not something I can recall seeing, definitely don't see them every day... just the normal slate colored... so this is learning for me which is always good... I don't like the " cismontanus " name and can't picture myself remembering it easily... but then, Canadian Rocky Mountain is a mouthful. HA...
  20. Thanks... that sounds about right and glad that other people see this form... Yes, slate colored is the only common(and quite common) form in Arkansas... no shortage of them really during the winter. But I've never seen this particular one... Slates are just normal slate when I see them.
  21. Not necessarily "experts" but, a little more than the basic knowledge/skill to know the different forms... here's the story... (everyone loves stories right???) I don't know if it's just for eBird listing or what but my son is getting a little more into birding lately... which is good because my birder daughter is a big baby if it's cold out... We were visiting the Eagle Watch Nature Trail in Gentry Arkansas today as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count... a little way down the path we found a good group of juncos... at least 15 but they were hard to count. Since there was more than a few and they were foraging out in the open I decided I HAD to scan for any types besides the typical slate colored we have here. Oregons are not unheard of around here and the other winter we had a gray headed at Hobbs State Park on a few visits. So, I was mostly looking for Oregons since that would be the most likely form to show up outside of the slates... Sure enough, I found a nice dark head that was a nice separate color from the rest of the body... strong difference... NOT a normal slate where the color from the head to the back blends together and isn't so perfectly separated... Yay, I found an oregon... I thought. My son did not see it at this point and we moved on. After walking further in and exploring, we found the juncos again on the way back out... well, just a few of them this time. In that group was a bird with a dark head... Look son, do you see it now??? Yes, he sees it... Then he says... "I thought the oregon was brown..." or something like that. That made me pause and think... wait... what? hmmm...I had to think about it as my memory is not great but, he was right... which was kind of funny since I'm a LOT more experienced a birder than him... he's just getting a little interested in it but he obviously remembered something from the guide. So now that we're home I've been looking at the guides and such. Boy birds names and forms and species and subspecies and such change... so, there's not a lot I found about this particular bird but, in the 2nd ed Sibley's guide, it showed what we believe to be our bird... it's just a slate colored but, the Canadian Rocky Mountain form of a slate colored... As I held up the book to me son I asked if that was our bird... he said yes, only the body was not as dark as in the picture... good eye and memory as he was right. The bird we saw was indeed a nice slate gray color but it was lighter than the one on page 531 in the Sibley guide... the head was nice and dark though. In the field I noticed that the sides were also more of a gray, not a brownish so I don't think it was a female or anything... Anyway... anyone know much about all these different forms? and this one in particular? AND... would that be common to see in NW Arkansas??? I REALLY wish I had a camera... mine broke back in Aug/Sept of last year and I have not replaced it yet. I sometimes use my daughter's(my old, old one) that has some chips on the glass/lens AND is only a 10x zoom... I didn't have that with me today but sure wish I did... Saw some pretty cool territorial behavior today among several different woodpecker species... was a great day. I'm taking that lousy camera with me tomorrow, but I wont be back at that location. I'll be birding Devil's Den State Park for a NW Arkansas Audubon field trip... a location I've somehow never been to in the almost 20 years I've lived here. ha. Anyway... Any thoughts on this bird?????
  22. I asked about the house sparrow because many birders don't exactly like them. They're not native and they will kick other birds' eggs (and chicks I believe) out of a nest to take a nest over. Many people just enjoy seeing birds so seeing any of them get hurt is sad... I just feel a little less sad about those ones. Glad you got to solve it... and as shocking and upsetting as it might be, it's still sort of fascinating to see that behavior. Keep coming back... lots of good birds out there. 🙂
  23. When I read that, I was sitting here thinking... yeah, I know. But then I realized that, even though I was really looking for ID's on the peeps, I did bring up the PESA... And thanks for all of that. I don't know if I'm ready to take on remembering ALL of those details but I appreciate them just the same... I might learn a lot more of those details as time passes...
  24. Agreed on kestrel... I haven't studied their diet to know how common it is for them to go after birds... I've never witnessed it. I usually see them either perched on a wire or hovering over a field looking for large bugs or rodents... Just checked and all about birds says they'll go for small songbirds. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Kestrel/lifehistory#food Any idea what kind of sparrow? If it was a house sparrow, I wouldn't be very sad for it.
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