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ER and exercise and birding
Old 12-02-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
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ER and exercise and birding

Here is one activity I've had more time for while ER'd: birding. I'm certainly no expert but have been slowly adding to my sightings. Today was running and stopped to admire the scenery in the park (Annadel State Park in Northern California). I stopped on a bridge and there was a little roundish bird with a red hat on a branch about 6 feet away. Didn't find the bird when I got home in my bird book so got some help from the birdforum. A guy from Indiana knew this one right away. It was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. There's a great picture here: Ruby-crowned Kinglet - BirdForum Opus

And you can here his song here (under "Listen to call"): Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Whatbird.com

Just made my day . Any other good bird sightings?

Les
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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How cool, lsbcal!! That is a really interesting bird and its call seems unmistakable.

Birdwatching is on my "to do" list, and Frank even gave me a brand new high end pair of binoculars recently since he knows that. I haven't yet actually gotten started in this hobby, though.
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
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Oh man - don't even get me started!

We've been out walking every morning with the Green Jays, Chachalacas, Altamira Orioles, Great Kiskadees, Golden-fronted Wookpeckers, and numerous smaller passerines.

And then there are the hawks: Grey Hawk, Harris' Hawk, Northern Harrier, Crested Caracara, White-tailed Kite, etc.

And ducks, and wading birds, and so on.

Oh, yeah - and javelinas (not a bird).

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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That's amazing, Isbcal, I want that app! I'm a rank beginner but often stop and watch the birds and the bees. Saw these two thru a window at the museum.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:35 PM   #5
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Saw a piliated woodpecker knocking on the trees in the back a couple of days ago:

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Old 12-02-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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Ah, this thread is just the right excuse for me to post this picture.

I found this dead bird hanging upside down on a trellised vine by the side of the house. Now I know how a hummingbird dies.

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Old 12-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #7
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I'm not really a birder, but since we moved to the shore I've really been enjoying watching the ones we get out back. Various ducks, grebes, coots and geese, herons, egrets, sandpipers and killdeer, osprey, hawks and bald eagles, red wing blackbirds and purple martins. I saw a kingfisher last week, and we have anywhere from 1 to 10 cormorants in our pond every day. It's a blast. I figure the day I get used to all this is when I should move away. And I suspect it will be many years before that happens.

Killdeer nest in our back yard last summer.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Killdeer nest in our back yard last summer.
Wow - lucky for you they nested on the mulch. Usually they nest right on the gravel and it's impossible to see the eggs!

Audrey
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:54 AM   #9
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W2R: I have a small good quality pair of binoculars. Much of my birdwatching is from looking out the windows of our house. It's amazing how many species one sees over the year. The bird book I have is National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. The front and back flaps of this book have a quick find index that can get you started with the ID process assuming you have some idea of the bird family -- much easier then skimming all the illustrations. Also the book has thumbtabs for easier access.

Audrey: I've only seen the White-tailed Kite you mentioned. The others are new ones to me.

Martha: We have some of those Pileated Woodpeckers around here too -- they're very impressive birds. Saw one in flight making an interesting wuck sound. We have many Acorn Woodpeckers around here with all the oak trees.

NW-bound: Our Corgi liked find dead hummingbirds and munch on them. He's too old and blind now to do that.

Harley: Did you see the chicks when those Killdeer hatched? Neat pictures.

Les
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:11 AM   #10
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Thanks, Les! I think it will be fun to get started in this hobby pretty soon. I am planning on keeping a log/journal in which I will record any interesting sightings (where, when, and what), at least one sighting (the first?) of each species each year, and interesting behavioral observations and such.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:18 PM   #11
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I've always enjoyed watching the birds that come to our feeders. We have the usual locals, but once in a while have a bird show up that's rare for this area.

Over the last couple of years we've started having parakeets showing up. 4 so far. Escaped pets I'm sure. I did some searching and found that they probably wouldn't survive a winter here so I started trapping them. Now I have 3 pet birds. A small hawk got one before I could catch it.

My daughter saw something really unusual a couple of weeks ago. An albino turkey vulture. It was on a country road eating roadkill with a group of normal black vultures. She also had a nest of Killdeers in her yard last year. Cute little buggers.

This was taken by my son in my backyard feeder.
http://www.roadtriprip.com/Texas%20-...s/bluebird.jpg

He took this one in California.
http://www.roadtriprip.com/Hummingbi...birds_0025.jpg

I took this with my little pocket camera. Two Budgies at the feeder.
http://i36.tinypic.com/20i8d3p.jpg
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:28 PM   #12
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Audrey: I've only seen the White-tailed Kite you mentioned. The others are new ones to me.

Les
I assume you saw the White-tailed Kit in Florida?

Well, the Northern Harrier is widespread across North America, so you should get to see it one of these days. The others you have to come to South Texas to see!

We have even more unique raptors - there is also a White-tailed Hawk which is a buteo, like a Red-tailed Hawk, but his tail is bright white with a black band. This one has a fairly limited range. You can start seeing it near Corpus Christi, and then further south.

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Old 12-03-2009, 07:35 PM   #13
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Saw a piliated woodpecker knocking on the trees in the back a couple of days ago:
Me, too! We have numerous piliated 10 miles north of here, but this is the first one I've seen locally. My friends joke that it is really an Ivory Billed and I just don't know my birds.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:28 PM   #14
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Harley: Did you see the chicks when those Killdeer hatched? Neat pictures.
Actually, we went out of town for a week and when we came back the eggs were gone. Since Killdeer chicks look pretty much like the adults, it's hard to tell if we saw them. Especially since we've got snakes and snapping turtles in that pond too.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:39 PM   #15
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I assume you saw the White-tailed Kit in Florida?
....
Actually they're around here too in Northern California. This reference shows their range: White-tailed Kite - Whatbird.com

Les
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:20 PM   #16
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Actually they're around here too in Northern California. This reference shows their range: White-tailed Kite - Whatbird.com

Les
Wow - I had no idea there was a California population! How about that!

Audrey
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:19 AM   #17
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Wow - I had no idea there was a California population! How about that!

Audrey
Wait - now I remember seeing a White-tailed Kite in Humboldt county near Eureka CA. I forgot about that!

Audrey
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:32 PM   #18
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Talk about cool birds . . .

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Old 12-17-2009, 12:03 PM   #19
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Got a new couple in the pond out back. Very shy, I haven't been able to get close enough to get a pic with my el cheapo digital camera. Buffleheads, a type of diving duck.

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Old 12-17-2009, 12:13 PM   #20
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Buffleheads. We may have a few dozen of these in our lake. They are very small compared to ducks and just tiny compared to the Canadian Geese. So small in fact that from a distance I thought it was a bunch of huge snapping turtles with their heads stuck out of the water (impossible this time of year since the water temps are probably hovering at 40 degrees or less). But they dive underneath the water, hence the reason I mistook them for turtle heads. SE US, inland about 100 miles, they just showed up, so it makes sense.
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