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Two Horrible Photos, Two Lousy Audio/Vidoes, One Not So Bad!

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The last couple of days down here in SW Wyoming, I'm hearing so many birds not common to my ear, that I'm going for the shoot and hope method of bird ID. I'm feeling like I just started birding all over! Despite listening to my Birds of the Western US CDs and comparing the recorded sounds, I'm just not getting some of them to click. On top of that, it's hot, bright, and birds are keeping to the brush a lot of the times, so hard to see. Sigh.

The first were taken either Friday afternoon or yesterday morning, south of Rock Springs in the vicinity of Flaming Gorge, juniper areas with a lot of rock.

1. Apparently my lens was covered in dust because I had a clean shot and blew it. This little guy was singing away at the top of the bush for a couple of minutes, a neat, clear song that I didn't get a recording of or imprinted in my brain enough to repeat. I thought the striping on the tail might ring a bell for someone. Taken along Little Firehole Rd.



2. Also along Little Firehole Road, it's the chitter chitter notes that I'm interested in IDing. There were Brewer's Sparrow, Gray Flycatchers, Sagebrush Sparrows, Mountain Bluebirds and Rock Wren all in this vicinity, but it doesn't sound like those by comparison. I was looking for Juniper Titmouse(s? Titmice?) and they do have a similar call note, but I'm not confident enough to call it. (Note: on the videos you'll probably have to turn it way up. Nikon P900 is great for bird photos, the sound on video, not so much.)

3. Same vicinity and habitat, a steep inclined rocky road that was hard to get stopped on, that runs off of Sage Creek Rd.


4. This bird was seen out near Oregon Buttes, a vast sage area with some great cliffs rising up out of it, north of Rock Springs and east of Farson. We were driving along a two track the top of a short rise, when the bird lofted from next to us. All I caught was a glimpse of it from the top as it dropped. The back was pure brown. No V to be seen of a Red-tailed. It was also sort of a blunt bird, roundish, not the spread of a Golden. The bird landed far away, and this was the best I could do with the distance and heat shimmer. I think I can see some white leggings and chest, but not clearly. Again, no white markings on the back, which would put me in mind of a Golden, but, well, I'm going in circles. Very off chance it could be a Peregrine. It may have to just stay raptor, but again, I thought maybe someone would cotton onto a feature that helps. Image is heavily cropped, I can add the original if anyone thinks it would help.



5. Last one (I know, I know, I try to not post so many in one post, but it seems logical to me, so be nice ? )

Chain Lakes WHMA in the middle of nowhere WY. Literally. It's at the convergence of three roads that go from nowhere to nowhere. Odd of meeting someone here are zero. Odds of finding Mountain Plovers so far are zero LOL, but try try again. Odds of finding oodles of Burrowing Owls was off the charts with two nests, one of five young, another eight! Lots of sage obligate sparrows. Savannah, Sagebrush, Brewer's, which, based on visual alone I would say this is a Brewer's, but the song?


Anyway, off to Seedskadee NWR today and who knows where else. Here are eight little Burrowing Owls to tell you thank you for all of your help in advance, and so you know not all of my pictures completely suck.

Thank you!


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The first is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The second is confirmed, notice the distinctive 'laser gun' sound. Third sounds to me like a Green-tailed Towhee. Some type of immature Golden Eagle seems like it might be a good option for #4, because the tail feathers appear to have a light base, but your guess is as good as mine. #5 is indeed a Brewer's Sparrow.

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I’m pretty familiar with house, canyon and rock and not those. I’ve found Bewicks before. The song was more lyrical than the blue-grays busy buzzy sound.  And just listening to the song of the Bewicks you could be on to something! The undertail striping doesn’t match the blue gray but I’m not sure ? about the Bewicks either  hmmm

and thank you so much for the confirm on the titmouse Benjamin! They just would not come out of the brush for a look but the husband thought he saw it and I thought I heard it but having a confirm makes me feel better!



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On 7/5/2020 at 3:08 PM, okaugust said:

The undertail striping doesn’t match the blue gray

Absolutely correct. I'd go with Bewick's.

The head of the raptor (?) is mostly tawny, which should rule out Golden Eagle and is okay for Red-tailed Hawk. It's very hard to tell what is body and what is background, but the bird's throat seems to be white.

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