Finally getting around to processing the rest of the shots form our birding trip to Georgia back in (looking down in shame) May of 2015. You at least have to give me some credit for trying to muscle through the incredible backlog. Truthfully, there is a reason I’ve been actively hesitant – is that a thing, let’s go with intentionally slow to get to this trip. One of the main reasons is I f’d up while out in the field there and almost got myself seriously injured. I’ve had a few experiences where I’ve skipped a few heartbeats due to something unexpected happening. One of those times was seeing Ron’s head almost smashed with a steel door. On a personal front, I came way to close to dangerous wildlife in the swamps of Georgia thanks to looking down my glass while walking and not watching the created void in front of me. I’ll get to that in a future post, but thought I’d start with a picture I took while I was heading out into the swamp.
That’s our youngest, Raven. I laughed to myself when I saw this image come through the digital darkroom. He’s as cute as it gets, but has a serious attitude: “Hey, do you really think you are going to leave me here while you go off and play in the woods!?! Get your ass back here now.” Good thing that cockiness serves him well while competing in the agility ring – he also knows I’m a pushover for ear licks.
Guess I better get to the featured bird for today’s post. My shots are a bit weak for this series, but it is a +1 so I have to go with what I was able to get in the tin.
Hit the jump to see a few more mediocre shots if a bird I thought Ron didn’t have yet.
So, if you know your birds or happen to live just about anywhere in North America, you probably have at least heard of the Chickadee. They are pretty much everywhere from a Family perspective. Yet, you may be asking yourself why is a supposedly common bird just now getting its check on the birding list. The answer is at the species level. There a multiple species of the Chickadee. The Black-Capped variety was featured back in 2008 (link here) when I apparently didn’t understand the objective of wildlife photography was to be able to actually tell it was a bird.
I am also pretty sure I have the Mountain species thanks to a trip out to Yellowstone a few years later (link here). Again, not the greatest shot, but at least in focus. I did do a quick check and looks like I forgot to count the Mountain in my list (hmmm will have to put that on my list of to-dos). So the Mountain is pretty distinct as it has a white line above the eye. It also stays out in the west. The other easy to tell variety is the Chestnut as it is the only one with well, chestnut on its back and sides of the breast – it also hangs out even closer to the west coast. Now telling the Black-Capped from the Carolina, well that is a completely different story.
Those two varieties look practically identical. Both have the solid black cap, black throat patch, grey back/wings with a buffy breast. Come upon two of these together in the field and forget about figuring out which is which without hitting them with tranqs and studying their wing coverts for a bit of extra white on the edges. The good thing (for the birds at least) is you really do not need to resort to darting them to distinguish the species since they shouldn’t really be found together – their regions are somewhat isolated from each other. The Black-Capped probably has the largest overall region, but they tend to stay in the northern half of North America.
The Carolina variety prefers the southeast. Therefore, the easiest way to make sure you get a Carolina variety versus their twin the Black-Capped is to drive to the swamps of Georgia, find a bird that looks like a Chickadee and take a picture of it. Literally that easy. When I was bragging to Ron about getting this +1 thinking he wouldn’t have one, he went and looked at his Florida shots from a few years back and found one – dammit! Usually when I bring a new bird to you, I like to dig in and find some interesting facts to share. A small bit of takeaway education in appreciation for you taking the time to read my post. Problem is, Cornell has very little in the category of interesting when it comes to the description of this species. Unless, of course, you find it intriguing that some of them are “flock switchers”. The horror, the horror. Imagine that, the audacity to be part of one gang and switch their alliance to other flocks under the impression they have better video games. Talk about one step from hedonism, what’s next, fornicating with Cats!?!
Without much fodder in the history bucket, all I really have left is to give Ron his final angle.
Tails up everyone, have a wonderful day – spring is on its way.