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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

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11 hours ago, Hereward said:

I just created a spreadsheet. Happy to send it to you if you'd like.

Even better day today, six new species and another new record - 43 species! To top it off, I was watching a flock of Goldfinches across the river with my binoculars, when one of them disappeared in a puff of feathers! Sparrowhawk.

Would love to see it, yes!

And yeah, it's a gas when you see some random bird get nabbed by a bigger bird. :D

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10 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

look at his butt. that might be the tell-tale for this one.

Hehehe.  Don't have to tell me twice.  Still no sign of him.

New song in the yard today.  Sounds like, "hoo-li-CHANK!" Repeated either 3 or 4 times.  I got a good sense of what direction it was coming from but couldn't spot the singer.  So frustratiing.

My new strategy to cover all of the fence posts with black oil sunflower seeds is paying off.  Lots of cardinals, sparrows, jays and mockingbirds.  The starlings showed up to ground feed on what I scattered as soon as the sun hit the yard.  

Nobody is touching my suet or nice small seed feeders yet.  :(

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12 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

And yeah, it's a gas when you see some random bird get nabbed by a bigger bird. :D

Heh, my Dad keeps a well stocked feeding and watering station in his yard throughout the year.  The seeds, suet blocks, kitchen scraps, and heated water bath attract a good variety of birds, rodents and other critters.  He's even got a planted section just for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.  And Dad is ever vigilant about keeping his feeders  full.  Being sure to stock up his reserves before blizzards, and making sure the water doesn’t ice over for long.  He puts out old nuts, and other morsels just for the squirrels, and will bring home vegetable trimmings form my sisters garden for the rabbits and whatever else. 

But…..he’s also had me trim his trees in a way that preserved a couple of well placed perching spots for any passing hawks and owls in the neighborhood. So there are ghastly scenes of carnage out there on occasion;  bloody explosions of mourning dove feathers, disemboweled rabbits, and, once, a lone squirrel tail.  Just last week, the morning after our big storm, he just had to show me the set of rabbit tracks in the fresh snow, that disappeared completely right out in the middle of the yard.  So as much as he loves caring for and identifying all of his little furred and feathered charges, I still couldn’t guess whether he prefers them dead or alive.

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No, in a former gravel pit about 5 miles away. They're not even in my British bird book. I saw them and googled "orange headed duck". Later, I saw that three other people had listed them in the same place on the Berkshire Birding website.

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Huh! That's interesting. I wonder if these were a few of the migratory ones blown off course, or if they're strays from the resident populations in mainland Europe.  

BTW, if I'm ever looking for a range map for a species that doesn't show up in any of my field guides, I use BirdLife International's website. Here's the distribution map for the Red-crested Pochard: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/red-crested-pochard-netta-rufina/distribution 

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It'll be interesting to see if they remain rare visitors or if they establish a new population based in UK. Some ornithologists think we're seeing something similar in New York City with a persistent and growing population of European Goldfinches. I think we have a writer on that story, so once it's published I can send you the link. :) Nice birding!! (it's way to goddamned cold to bird here right now, but I'll be birding for a week in February in Florida so that should be a gas.)

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Home on a snow day!  Caught a flash of yellow with my ground-feeding sparrows.  Got a profile look at the little thing.  Round like a big puffball with a yellow throat.  Then BAM!  Gone again.  Stupid birds.

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GUYS!  YESTERDAY THE CROWS CAME.  CROWS!   CROWSCROWSCROWSCROWS!  There were 4 of them ground feeding under the small seed feeder (which is finally getting lots of love).  One of them kept flying up to the fence rail that the feeder is hanging from and giving it that LOOK.  You know, the look like, "You will not win, unreachable tiny feeder."   

Can I expect them back?  I hope so!  Gonna get some unshelled peanuts!

Still nobody at my nice suet feeder, although that shit is probably frozen solid right now.

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TURKEY VULTURE!    :pants with excitement and has to sit down:  WOW!   S/HE WAS MAGNIFICENT!  Did a fly over and then sat on top of the telephone pole to examine my yard.  Stayed just long enough for me to see his teeny red head.  Got a good look at it soaring away.  WOW!

I had a pretty good show of the usual crowd this morning.  The crows haven't been back to the yard, but I could hear my fish crow nearby.  

There was a new guy somewhere in the yard.  Call sounded like "Cheer-i-o"  Repeated 3-5x much like the "Hoo-li-CHANK!" bird.  Still hiding in the damn tree where I can't SEE it.  Stupid bird.

Weather warmed up enough for me to open the door.  I've missed LISTENING to the birds.  Regular riot out there.

Edited by Lily Valley

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Finches!   Trying to be sure if they are purple or house finches!  They came by early and just came back.  Several pairs are definitely house finches.  The grey....ear spot (?) in their red plumage and the ladies didn't have the white eyebrow.  One fella had a bigger beak and much more red coverage that was a darker color. I was looking for his mate to see if she had the eyebrow stripe and trying to check his head for the ear mark but he wouldn't HOLD STILL.  Stupid wiggly twitchy birds.  They'll be back.  The bigger beak guy ate my suet.  Hehehe.  Bird bait.

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We have gold finches and house finches here, all year long.  Because of the direction our balcony faces, we usually see them when they are back-lighted, which makes positive identification difficult.  I can say they are gluttons for nyjer seed.

 

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I have to lead a bird walk on Wednesday, so I did some reconnaissance this weekend on where in the park to take these youngling birders. Got 22 species in an hour and a half, which isn't too shabby for it being the dead of winter and also in the middle of the afternoon when some of the birds are napping. Highlights included Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and two Red-tailed Hawks. No Wood Ducks this time around, which was a pity. 

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omg.  :runs in squealing:  OMG YOU GUYS!!!!!  There's a wild Quaker Parrot checking out my yard from the wire RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT NOW!!!!

It's THIS GUY!!!! (except I can't see any blue).   :pants:   Please come to my yard birdie!!!  PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!

Also, I need a bird-goggle cleaning kit.  This rag that mine came with is shit and apparently my eyes are really greasy.

That is all

 

Edited by Lily Valley

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1 hour ago, Lily Valley said:

omg.  :runs in squealing:  OMG YOU GUYS!!!!!  There's a wild Quaker Parrot checking out my yard from the wire RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT NOW!!!!

It's THIS GUY!!!! (except I can't see any blue).   :pants:   Please come to my yard birdie!!!  PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!

Also, I need a bird-goggle cleaning kit.  This rag that mine came with is shit and apparently my eyes are really greasy.

That is all

 

Super cool!  There were a dozen or so of them that used to hang out on the power lines along my bike ride to work when I lived in San Diego.  Was always fun to see them!

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Lily, I don't have many birds to report myself at the moment, but I am enjoying your enthusiasm.

I did see a couple of storks flying last week, but that isn't as special as it was a decade ago.

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5 hours ago, Seli said:

Lily, I don't have many birds to report myself at the moment, but I am enjoying your enthusiasm.

I did see a couple of storks flying last week, but that isn't as special as it was a decade ago.

All birds are awesome, no matter their ubiquity or rareness. :) and storks are always rad.

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