Hefner Would Be Proud

Admittedly, when things get tight I go to my ace in the hole.  Lucky for me, I was able to finish processing all the shots from our first day at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.  If you recall, on our trip to Nevada last year we stopped in to that gem of a preserve.  Per previous posts, this area already provided two blog posts for brand new birds to my collection – specifically, the Green-Winged Teal (link here) and the Greater Roadrunner (link here).   Here’s a little secret.  Those were not the only two new birds this shoot produced!  I was able to add another new check in the bird list with today’s blog entry.

Anyone want to take a guess on what this might be?  Really take a guess – a little validation would help me at this point.  This little bird took me some extra time to eventually come to a consensus on what it was… or actually what I think it is.  To accomplish this I employed my brand new bird reference guide I picked up while out in Yellowstone.  While perusing the various gift shops in the park, The Stokes Field Guide To The Birds of North America caught my eye.  It isn’t often a book on birds shows up I do not already have, much less ever seen.  The key aspect of this particular reference was the ABUNDANCE of pictures.  None of the books on my shelves come close to  having the quantity of actual photographs contained in this book – in particular the fact it has shots of the female, the male, the juvenile and even seasonal and regional differences.  Truly awesome and it was instantly “mine” – didn’t hurt we got a discount being Yellowstone Association members but truth be told I would have gladly paid full price (shhhh don’t tell anyone).  After about 40 minutes of thumbing through the book I decided to go with … drum roll .. a Verdin.  The only concern was the region but a closer look (need a brush up on my state shapes) shows that it does venture into Southern Nevada.  A friend at work (thanks John!) helped me verify the region today so thinking that concern is past me.  As with any bird post at Lifeintrigued – you are more than welcome to debate any identification.  So for now were going with a Verdin.  This bird is especially cool since it doesn’t come anywhere near where I live making the trip that much more fruitful.

According to Stokes, this bird prefers desert scrub along washes and streams.  The desert part was dead on and it was alongside one of their ponds which kinda fits the water reference.  That is about the sum total of info I got out of the book.  Again, that was purchased to help identify the bird, I have our friends over at Wikipedia and an abundance of info on the web to fill the data gap – finding out what the hell it is the real battle.  Another site did mention they like thorny scrub – based on the shot above and the one below, this one was right at home.

Hit the jump to read more about this cool looking bird.

Based on the images on Google and the some of my reference books, they produce a very impressive nest.  Essentially it is a full enclosure which protects them year round from the cold and heat.  Kicking myself for not spending a little more time tracking down one of these nests especially since I spent about 25 minutes trying to photograph the specimen below.

I could not get this bird to sit still for more than two seconds.  This one was actually one of the last birds I found before leaving the place the first day which meant my arms were already tired from taking about 10,000 shots (kidding of course … actually maybe not), the heat was starting to take its toll and this damn bird decided to toy with me.  This particular Verdin probably wasn’t too keen on the idea I was tracking its every move with the Beast which didn’t help the situation – that and it happened to pick a tree with tons of leaves and branches that kept getting in the way of a clear shot.  Hard to see a rogue leaf while shooting at that zoom level, but they will stand up and command attention in the digital darkroom.  Not sure how many shots I ended up tossing thanks to that.  It was worth the trouble though – the nesting materials give the shot a little more character.  Note, I’m probably going to rework these last two – they came out a little brighter than I prefer so probably do some touchup later to darken that background up a smooch.  I did manage to get one looking back across its body (double benefit, I like the pose and it helps give a better view of the overall coloring of the bird).

Not a lot of reference points, but this is a rather small bird – maybe 4 or so inches long.  Per Wikipedia it rivals the Bushtit as one of the smallest passerines in North America.  For the curious, passerines are perching birds.  You will also be glad to learn they have a conservation status of Least Concern – Yeah.

Based on past confusion on my posts, the title was in reference to the fact I technically got to photograph a Tit wait.. make that a pair of Tits.  Penduline Tits to be exact.  My inner high schooler couldn’t resist going for the cheap humor.

Hope you enjoyed.. and prepare yourself, you will be reading about Henderson for at least a few more posts.

2 thoughts on “Hefner Would Be Proud”

  1. I agree–from what I see on Google Images, you do in fact have a Verdin to add to your birdlist!

    Nice pictures–I can imagine how difficult it was to capture these shots of this flittery bird. They appear to be alert and suspicious. Probably why they have a status of Least Concern!

    Ron

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  2. Good point – wonder if there is a study on how “observant” a specific creature is compared to conservation status. Although based on the amount of raccoons alongside the roads out here, you would expect those to be near extinct! Did you notice their cool nests when you were looking on Google Images?

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