To sum up this month in one word I’d have to go with BUSY. Day long meetings at work, project Aaauuunnnnoold moved into a new phase (getting close) and then there’s that little thingy called a half looming just over a week away. A wave of relief came over me when the monthly post count came up to 5. Whew, only one more to close out this month and the pictures for two posts were already completed and in the hopper. The best way I can think of to end this month is to feature a Bird!
Not just your ordinary Bird post though, this one is a Mystery Bird post … translated, one that needs some assistance from my loyal readers. To set the stage, this particular bird was taken at Red Rock Canyon on our trip to Las Vegas back in Nov 2012 (better late than never). Unfortunately, I was unable to get a full on shot of this bird. It preferred to stay semi-hidden among the rocks. They had “Area under restoration” signs up so respected their wishes – cost me a good angle on a new bird.. but if photographer’s can’t respect nature… we are doomed as a society.
To be honest, I need your help in identifying this bird – hit the jump to see which direction I’m leaning towards!
Continue reading One White Ring – One White Bar
UPDATED: 10/22/2016 – Sorry for the correction, but I realized while writing another post on this bird that this is not a Long-Tailed Grackle, but a Great-Tailed Grackle – no idea where I got that other name other than the fact it has a …. wait for it … wait for it … a long tail. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thanks to the last set of soft bird pictures, I figured it was a perfect time to bring out another set of pictures definitely on the soft side – if I keep this up it will transform from a mistake to a STYLE! I actually need a little help in the confirmation of this particular evil looking bird.
I snapped this bird while walking on the Treasure Island Casino boardwalk in Vegas back n Nov 2012 (hey, I warned you the backlog was epic). A large dark shape caught my eye as it flew in behind us to scavenge in the cracks of the boards. Per my Golden Rules, brought the camera inline and took a few shots thinking at the time it was just a Brown-Headed Cowbird. It wasn’t until reviewing the shots in the digital darkroom that it occurred to me that the shape of this bird did not match my reference model for those birds.
For one, Cowbirds have a much shorter beak. The one on this specimen is more like a dagger. Add to this the fact Cowbirds typically have brown only on the head (thus the clever name eh?) with the rest predominantly black. This Vegas bird carried the brown through the body and only shades to black at the wings and legs. And then there’s the whole overall size issue with this one having a much larger stature than the Cowbirds seen in my neck of the woods.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots and learn what I think this bird is!
Continue reading Me Thinks It’s a Grackle
So, based on the hate mail that has been showing up in my mailbox lately, the teeming millions want their bird posts and they want it now. Fred B. from Michigan wrote “If I don’t get a bird post in the next 48 hours I’m going to stab this little voodoo doll I just made of you.” Harry R. from Nevada just called me a bunch of names and likened me to a terrorist – honestly I’m just assuming it was due to lack of birds but he may just be delusional and simply suffering from a bad case of the bumbles. Oh, and Rick P. from Texas simply asked me if I’d consider featuring a jailbird in the upcoming months. Although I don’t like to give into peer pressure, it is obvious that the people are getting restless – next thing you’ll know Homeland Security will put out a report stating there is a serious trend of the commoners not trusting their government. I’d hate to contribute to such unhealthy thoughts so to remedy that I’ll shall pull out a BIRD POST (trumpets, cheers, clowns losing their heads). Today I bring you a new bird on the list taken at our favorite home away from home – Vegas! To be specific it was actually taken at Red Rocks Canyon while we were out there in Nov 2012 – I know I know, beat me, whip me, make be write bad checks.
Oh, and did I mention it was kind of a surprise find?
Before we go any further, I need to state for the record, that these shots are for the most part pretty crappy. They were taken in very bad lighting and it took everything I had in the digital darkroom just to make them somewhat presentable. At first viewing I was disappointed and had my finger moving to the delete key when something made me take a second look. When I was taking this shot I took the profile to be just a common Tufted Titmouse. We have them all over the place where I live and that species alone probably consumes about a quarter of my bird food. I’ve learned to at least snap a few shots in the field even if first impressions are less than exciting – even in bad lighting since these first two had to be pulled out of underbrush darkness. Guessing that green thing is some form of trash and the twig in the first one is UBER annoying. Regardless, something made me hesitate to toss them.
There is one common element in our local Titmouses .. maybe that is Titmice now that I think about it… and that is a sometimes faint but always present orange coloring on the sides. The lack of that on this particular bird was likely the reason for the hesitation. The crest was a perfect match but in all the shots, the orange element was missing. It was off to the reference bookshelf to see if this was indeed a new entry on the bird list. To my pleasant surprise there was an all grey Titmouse – in fact, there were two, the Juniper Titmouse and the other being the Oak Titmouse. The Juniper range fit the location I was at perfectly and the Oak was isolated along the Western side of California. If only Sparrows could be this easy!
Hit the jump to see a few more crappy shots of this new bird to the list and read a few interesting related facts.
Continue reading A Juniper Surprise