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Melierax
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Based on a recent post by @corgi, I'm starting this thread for people who simply want to share a photo and a story, and not be ignored, as what happens often to new posts. I tend to find myself not knowing where to post something simply because there isn't a thread for it, so here we are! Share a story, with a photo or video if you have one!

I'll start:

So here's something pretty cool... my family owns a cabin up in central Idaho, and there lives a ton of foxes! Last winter we had at least 8 on the lot at one time, including silver red foxes and normal red foxes. Photos of them:

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They can be super goofy at times too!

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Well, it was only a matter of time... and a strong mom decided to make a den on the line between us and our neighbor's. She successfully raised 4 pups one year, and 2 the next! She even had an issue with her eye at one time, we still don't know if she's blind in that eye or not...

Looking bad:

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Recovered:

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The pups are the perfect puppy-kitten cross for those who can't decide which they like better!

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2 hours ago, Melierax said:

Anybody else???

Two pairs of Eastern Phoebes have nested on our house for three and four years now. Two years ago one lost a mate and successfully raised four chicks! (They had just hatched.)  One of them is very friendly and will come up on our patio with us up there and watch us.

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phoebe, eastern (5).JPG

Edited by Kevin
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Neat idea Mel! Here's one... was out for a couple of hours today and it was getting late/losing light. I took a shortcut through the woods going back to my truck (had given up on any more birds photos) and ran into this group:

Young buck
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The Doe
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and the big guy stepped into light
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It was (any day is) a good day to be out! :classic_smile:

Edited by G_kayaker
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  • 2 months later...

Well I don't have photos but I DO have a good story!  So where I grew up we had an old pole dairy barn (I mean cedar poles cut when the place was logged cirra 1900) Anyhow we kept a few cows and hence a few dozen tons of hay in that old barn ... a big hay pile seemed an inviting place for young boys to throw down a sleeping bag ... the barn also was a favorite place for a barn owl to sleep. All slept in happy harmony for many a night and we enjoyed the glimpses we got of the shadowy visitor ... until one night while I was fast asleep he came in to roost and LITERALLY gave me an earful !!! ...  of fresh white sticky stuff plastered all over the whole side of my face! 😝  

Needless to say I was suddenly very much awake and destined for a midnight shower  😂

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My family (me included) got to go to Virginia a couple months ago to visit our grandparents. They had seen an otter a few months before in the river that ran by their cabin.

I got up and went down to the river every morning (I was nuts about seeing those otters) and finally, my patience paid off. One morning, TWO otters swam into sight!!!

Unfortunately, the lighting was VERY bad, so this was the best shot I got.:classic_sad:DSCN0196.thumb.JPG.d30a6e40c5e1ef8927c3a4b0b83ef196.JPG

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Pulled quote from my blog

Quote

As I moved down O DR N checking for Snow Buntings I had a thought "If I ever find a Northern Shrike, it will probably be up here".  Here being at the East end of O DR N where it runs into 23 Mile Road.  This is one of my favorite spots, that isn't a hot spot.  It is my go to spot for Bobolinks, and was a huge spot for the Dickcissel irruption last year, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks.  I also expect to get Upland Sandpiper in this area, when I finally get one.  It is a hayfield on the North, scrubby brush-land dotted with small trees and bushes to the South, and on the East of 23 Mile road a large cow pasture with multiple smaller trees and a small cattle pond.  As I get within 100 yards of 23 Mile Road I see a bird take off from one of the small trees along the south side.  It looked like a Blue Jay, but didn't fly the same.  I turned South onto 23 Mile Road where it looked like the bird flew.  I located the bird at the top of one of the large trees in the cow pasture.  Put my binoculars on it, and was not expecting to see a bird with the black mask.  Finally my lifer Northern Shrike!!!  
This is a bird I expected to pick up a while ago, but just was never lucky enough to run across one.  It is a code 2, and ranked 195 through 2017 data.  This bird was without a doubt my most "Birding Mojo" bird ever.  I literally "willed" the bird into existence, at this spot <muwahahahahaaaaa>.  Really wish I could have gotten better pictures of it at the time.  

 

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  • 2 months later...

Those of you from California, or who have birded extensively in California, will likely have heard of or birded at Mines Road. Anyway, I work in the Livermore area, and spend a lot of time birding various portions of Mines Road. Among the best spots at Mines Road is "the Corral", an area where Lawrence's Goldfinches tinkle overhead while Yellow-breasted Chats and Wilson's Warblers skulk in the willows, set to the constant soundtrack of hysterical Killdeers. 

But among the most interesting avian residents at "the Corral" are those best sought under the cover of darkness - the Owls. The variety is impressive - Great Horned and Western Screech Owls are reliable, Northern Saw-Whet and Northern Pygmy-Owls can be found with a little more effort, and a very few Long-eared Owls also inhabit the area.

And so I have spent several nights deep up Mines Road, looking (or, more realistically, listening) for owls. Even though Mines Road is in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, technically the Bay Area, it can feel very remote, especially late on a cool winter night. 20 miles up a windy canyon road (with no center line much of the way) from the outskirts of Livermore, alone beneath an endless canvas of stars which frames the slender spires of gray pine and the broad, gnarled canopies of blue oaks, it is not hard to imagine you are deep in some uncharted wilderness, some virgin mountain range beyond the edge of the known earth.

 One such night, a chilly, clear January night, I stood listening to a Western Screech-Owl at "the Corral". The canyon was quiet that night, peaceful. I felt myself gradually lulled into a tranquil, peaceful state by the pastoral land around me. But then - something felt wrong. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Was someone - something - watching me? I looked around, and in a field to my left, perhaps 30 yards away, I saw a shadow. That's all it was at first - a dark shadow, moving slowly, smoothly towards me. Something felt really WRONG, disturbingly so. I started walking toward my car, not turning my body away from the shadow. The shadow continued to move closer. It was large, but low to the ground, moving very smoothly, almost gliding towards me, making no sound whatsoever. I kept walking to my car, too afraid to turn and run. As I drew closer to the car, the shadow came closer to me, until it was perhaps only 20 or 30 feet away. Just as the terror reached its peak, my hand wrapped around the handle on my car's door, and I slid inside, safe. Immediately, I jammed the key into the ignition, stepped on the brake, and turned the car on - and there, illuminated in my brake lights, crossing the road a mere 20 feet or so behind my car, was a Mountain Lion. I jammed the car into gear and drove about 10 miles before stopping, never looking back. 

 

Edited by AlexHenry
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5 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

@Connor Cochrane you ever bird Mines Road? Since you're from the Bay Area, thought you might find this story interesting ^

I have birded Mines road a few times, but never went owling there. I’ve seen a Mountain Lion before, but I’ve heard them. I live near the top of one of the larger hills in my county, and at night, you can sometimes hear their screams from the house. Our neighbors have seen them around.

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One night in February last year I had just finished feeding our farm animals and I was walking back to the house when I noticed a short, round figure standing on the ground.  It was dark and rainy, but with the help of the porch lights and my flashlight I figured out it was our neighborhood Barred Owl.  I was afraid I had frightened it by shining my flashlight in its face, but what happened next blew my mind.  It took off in my direction, flew almost silently right by my head, and landed on a low tree branch just out of arm's reach.  It wasn't scared of me at all!  I quietly said hello, and the wet owl turned its head 120 degrees and looked straight at me.  I could barely see its large, round eyes, but I imagined it could see me as clearly as in the daytime.  It then calmly looked down toward the ground for rodents in the snow, so I did the same.  The Barred Owl and I spent just a few minutes together under the tree before I said good-bye and slowly walked to the back door to leave it to hunt on its own.

That owl landed next to us several times that winter, but that was the closest it had come.  I miss having it around!  A couple photos of the friendly owl are on our Flickr page. https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdnuts/

Edited by The Bird Nuts
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7 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

and there, illuminated in my brake lights, crossing the road a mere 20 feet or so behind my car, was a Mountain Lion. I jammed the car into gear and drove about 10 miles before stopping, never looking back. 

 

My dad solo hikes a ton in Colorado. He has seen a Mountain Lion once. He said while it was really cool, it is not an experience he wants to repeat!

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This is about my ongoing relationship with a Red-winged Blackbird.

Every time he sees me he flies over to land on the rail and then marches towards me until he is as close as possible, touching distance.

He then switches to an extended staring contest (he is that close you can see me and the setting in his eye in the last photo).

I have not see him do this with anyone else (it may be the camera he doesn't like), in fact people will stop to watch him in action.

PS. I know his nest is nearby (quite often the nests are within a few feet of the boardwalk) but this is a relatively narrow boardwalk with a lot of traffic so he is very used to people.

Red-winged Blackbird m S1 HVT-7225444.jpg

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Red-winged Blackbird m S3 HVT-7225456.jpg

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  • 8 months later...

 Last year at my cabin, I’d do my daily walk around my loop in the early morning. It’s in a small town, but it is heavily wooded in the mountains. Was walking along at about 6am and decided I should go off trail through this small section of woods (a road is on either side) to see if I could find anything interesting. There was a small worn foot path, but it was very dense on either side so you couldn’t really see anything. I’m walking along and suddenly there’s this huge crashing sound and the shrubs are all thrashing around as something is running through the woods beside me, so I booked back onto the road. Couldn’t see anything so I just kept walking the normal loop, with a higher pulse.

Later that day, some guy comes up to me and my brother to warn us that 2 young cougars were seen running back and forth along Wharf Road (the road I walk on) at his property (right beside that small section of woods) last night. 

I mean, it was probably a deer, but I still like to tell people I almost died that day.  Though I did get threatened by a deer once here, so
 

Also, my worst experience so far birding, at around 5am, I decided that it was a good idea to walk down this very steep ramp that lead down to the Marina to look for ducks.  It was cold that night and there was a frost, so of course it’s all ice so immediately I start sliding down this thing  like I’m wearing rollerblades, arms flailing trying not to bite it, but at the end of that ramp it’s the lake. So I’m trying to stop myself from doing a polar plunge by grabbing on the railing but that causes me to fall backwards and continue sliding down on my back. I managed to grab a post, and then I had to slowly drag myself back up the ramp clinging from post to post. I swear this whole ordeal lasted at least 5 minutes. I have no idea how I didn’t totally smash my camera or phone. Got a pretty big bruise though... Was quite the way to start the morning. I’m just glad that no one saw it because it was so pathetically stupid. Also, there wasn’t even any ducks!

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Doesn't really have to do with birds, but it happened a couple weeks ago while birding so I guess it counts. My good friend and I just got back from a 50+ mile bike/birding ride. It was a pretty good day but no rarities. We rolled into the town of Point Reyes Station where my friends dad planned to pick us up in 40 minutes. If you're not from the Marin area, I'll let you know that the area around Point Reyes is known for it's hippie culture. We were on the way to a marsh where we could look for Short-eareds while we waited to get picked up. Along the way, there was some house blasting some tropical rap. We slowly biked down the street, till' we heard footsteps and yelling behind us coming from a man from the house. He was obviously drunk, and was probably high as well, and was holding some alcoholic beverage in his hand (which would be the first of multiple crimes he would technically rack up). He was mad for some reason, and we didn't want him start a fight, which it seemed like was a pretty good possibility at this point. He asked us if we wanted a drink, and we politely declined. He continued to offer us something, and we didn't want to decline. He brought us over to his house where some friend of his was smoking something that wasn't a normal cigarette. He ushered us into his yard, made us bring our bikes in, then requested us to lock the gate behind us. That's when we knew we had to leave, luckily, a miracle happened. It was a message from the telegram alerting both of us of some bird, but we said it was his dad, and he was picking us up down the street. We hopped on our bikes and rushed to the other side of town. It certainly made the fairly slow afternoon of birding more exiting.

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I think I've told a snippet of this before, but it still makes me feel like I've come a long way in terms of birding.

This October, I was birding Delta Park in Colchester, VT, on of my favorite spots. Failing yet again to find the Nelson's Sparrow, I moved on towards the mud flats to see what shorebirds were around. I met up with a couple of people I frequently saw there, and we talked about what we had seen and what our plans were. They started focusing on a little area of willows where there were some warblers, Palms, Yellows, Yellowthroats, that I had seen already. I started walking to the lakeshore to scan the water for ducks. About halfway through counting some Pintails, I heard a bird call. I immediately thought Cardinal, as it was a quick, sweet toned, down slurred whistle. Cardinals are fairly common at this spot, just not by the waters edge. I stood up, and scanned the water. The bird called again, and it was closer this time, and it was in front of me somewhere over the lake. I'm staring intently out at the water, trying to look at all depths, but there isn't any obvious crimson bird flying about. Then, a small bird materialized about 15 feet in front of me, bouncing deeply in flight, as it was coming straight towards my head. I instinctively jerked back, and the bird veered off to the right about a foot from my face, and landed in some short grasses nearby. By this time I knew it wasn't a cardinal, but I didn't know what it was (obviously know I do, but afterwards and I made sure to know the other two birds that make a similar sound, and I can tell them apart now). I slowly walked over to where it was, and I saw a small brown bird moving through the grasses. I looked at it through my bins, and saw that It looked like a sparrow. I got my camera, and took pictures as I slowly got closer to try and get better shots. When I was about 10 feet from the bird it flushed, and I let it go (mistake).

I looked through the pictures, and was confused. The facial pattern wasn't like the Savannah Sparrows I'd been seeing here, but I wasn't confident in my sparrow ID yet. I walked over to the other birders, and asked their opinion. They looked at it for a little bit, and said it was probably a young Savannah. If this was a year ago, I would have taken that without a second thought. But, the bird didn't look like a Savannah, not even close. Then I remembered the call, and I described it to them. They said larks made a similar call, though this obviously wasn't a lark. I started looking through the Audubon App, and was listening to calls of Larks and Snow Buntings. They were close, but not right. Then I listened to another call, and bingo, that was it. I came back to them, with the photos on Audubon and my own, ready for battle. I pointed out all the similar features, down to the exact facial pattern shown in both photos. They still weren't convinced. I then set off to find the bird again. Took me about 10 minutes of carefully moving down the shoreline to see it as it flew away from me about 25 feet away. I snapped some pics (below) before it flew again and landed on a log. I snapped a few more shots to be sure. Yup. That's the bird. It flew off, and I walked back to the guys. "NOW tell me that's not a Lapland Longspur." 

They then tried to find it for the next few hours. I kept hearing it call, and pointed it out to them. I think I was the only one to see it in our group, although one fo the best birders around reported it later that day. Certainly made myself more confident in IDing birds! Also, it's not often you have an unexpected lifer almost smack you in the head! The bird wasn't flagged when I reported it, only uncommon. Two weeks later the reviewer realized it should have been in the filter, and then added it to the filter. It showed up in the rare bird alert, albeit two weeks late! I think that was my second bird to make it to the alert that was self-found, and not a subspecies.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/268098421#_ga=2.244814917.115274860.1611602293-684935499.1582840862

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At my favorite nature park there is a grove of trees way off the path that is always full of owl pellets and whitewash. One time I went there with my friend and my brother and the ground was covered in Barn Owl feathers. We spent a while looking through all the trees but could not find the owl. After a while I said, “There has to be an owl here somewhere that we’re just not seeing!” Less than a second after I said that, something rustled in the branches over our head and the owl flew out of the tree. I like to think that I summoned it. I feel kind of bad for disturbing it, but it’s not my fault it was hiding so well!

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In 2020, we were driving to a birding place and we got an alert that a Streak-backed Oriole had been seen, so he jetted over there. We arrived around 9:30 and saw 30+ birders staring up at a 100 foot brush covered hill. We ran over to them and they said that they had seen the bird disappear into a creek behind them. So we walked over to the creek to see if we could see it. Just as we got over to the creek, We heard birders call out that they saw it. Let me remind you that this bird was at the top of the 100 foot hill and they spotted it without bins. We ran over and saw the bird pop in in brush and fly to another bush and disappear. The bird did the exact same thing for hours and hours. We came back the next day and the bird did the exact same thing, except this time the bird was even harder to find. I swear this bird was a magician in disguise. It would disappear in one area and everyone was watching that area and than someone on the other side of the creek would yell out that they found it. The bird likes to play hide-and-go-seek with the birders. Once the bird even stayed in a bush for at least 7 HOURS! This was my picture of it that day.

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Here is one: This was a few days ago, maybe on Thursday. I have a very curious Bewick's Wren that often comes to my suet cage. He(I Have heard him sing) walks right up to us within 2 feet, and is not afraid of us. He is very curious. Anyway, on Thursday, I went outside to fill the feeders, realized he was there once I got there, he got scared and flew away, I fill the feeders(remember, the door is open) I go back inside. I hear the familiar song, and look outside, I don't see him. I go upstairs to do some chores.I again hear his song. I get confused. I then notice him halfway up my staircase on my potted house plants flicking off insects that I didn't know were there! He ate them(good). This is right by a window. He tries to get out the window, remember I am now standing by the front door. I start to wonder, what should i do? I look at him trying to fly 0ut the closed window. I move to go get a towel to see if I could get him in there and carry him out. I move away from the door t do so. As soon as I move, he flew out the door! Then he went right to the newly filled suet.Nice story, right?

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