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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

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On 4/15/2018 at 8:04 AM, Xray the Enforcer said:

I have the Vortex Viper 8X42, the best in the midrange category. Since that guide was published, the price has gone down and you can usually find them for around $450US. I have yet to make the leap into Leica/Swarovski/Zeiss territory, although one of these days it will probably happen. 

I back when I was in high school I used to work at a nature bookstore that sold binoculars and I got really familiar with the different brands and features.  When I looked to buy a pair of my own a few years ago I was shocked at how much the quality had improved, particularly with mid-range binoculars.  The Nikon Monarchs I bought were less than $300 and they were both lighter and better than a $500 pair from 2000, and almost as good as the $1,000 dollar binoculars from back then.   

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Colleague and I got lost on a corporate campus today and had an impromptu nature walk around an (artificial) lake.  They had up a bunch of bluebird boxes (and we saw the inhabitants).  There were also a ton of red-winged blackbirds.

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1 hour ago, Lily Valley said:

YOU SAW THIS BIRD?????????   Can we go look at it in August?????

We can try! They're kinda sneaky.

Today I spent an hour or so scouting out birding spots in Central Park. Got a bunch of Cedar Waxwings, a first-of-season Ovenbird and female Spotted Towhee, plus a bunch of the usual suspects. Fingers crossed that my birdwalk on Thursday won't be a dud. :)

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Some of the finches at my feeder have a yellow hat (crown?) and Yellow Vest, (Sides of chest?)   Is this normal variety for housefinches or should I put off my grading to examine my burd books?  @Xray the Enforcer

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The passage of the seasons is nice. For a few weeks we had Great Tits singing fiercely to defend their territories, and now the same trees are used by European Goldfich for the same purpose. And I am expecting the swifts to be back in the city within the next week.

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I love birds! I keep meaning to post in this thread and forgetting/get distracted.

Right now all the local birds around my house are INSANE! One keeps trying to build a nest on top of our porch light RIGHT NEXT TO THE FRONT DOOR! One built a nest in our grill! And every year the same ones try to build a nest in the fireplace vent.

For those that don't know me personally/on FB, my house backed up to a fairly good sized wooded area. We have had all kinds of wild life, and tons of birds.

Last year developers chopped the woods down and are filling the are with more houses. We had a very sad red-tailed hawk who would circle overhead crying out. We think her nest was lost in the carnage. :( 

There are a couple of other red-tailed hawks on my drive to/from work and I love to watch them. I should remember to bring a camera with me (as the phone's camera is crap)

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6 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

Some of the finches at my feeder have a yellow hat (crown?) and Yellow Vest, (Sides of chest?)   Is this normal variety for housefinches or should I put off my grading to examine my burd books?  @Xray the Enforcer

What other colors are prominent on the bird? Black, white, grey? 

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On 4/24/2018 at 6:54 PM, Xray the Enforcer said:

Central Park. Got a bunch of Cedar Waxwings, a first-of-season Ovenbird and female Spotted Towhee

Not to get all persnickety, but In Central Park this was more likely the very similar Eastern Towhee.  :D

I only know this because the Spotted Towhee is one of the first local birds I identified at our feeders when I first move to Idaho.  

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5 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

What other colors are prominent on the bird? Black, white, grey? 

Look just like a purple finch.  Striping on the sides and yellow crown and vest parts.  Belly deep red.  Cheeks and breast deep red.

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23 hours ago, The Mance said:

Not to get all persnickety, but In Central Park this was more likely the very similar Eastern Towhee.  :D

I only know this because the Spotted Towhee is one of the first local birds I identified at our feeders when I first move to Idaho.  

You're correct. I just got back from CA like three days ago, so I'm still in West Coast bird mode. :)

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I SAW SO MANY BIRDZ YESTERDAY!  I saw some ducks that looked like they just ate at the zombie apocalypse.  I saw some American Robins that were re-enacting the zombie apocalypse!  :Cue music while an earthworm is teased to death instead of eaten:  I SAW:

A redwinged blackbird who shouted at me for a half hour

MANY robins (they're not in New Orleans, so I MISSED THEM)

Mockingbirds

Two male brown-headed cowbirds doing the STRANGEST yoga dance on the wire.  

MANY Boat-Tailed grackles.  They have dark eyes.  I saw ONE with the yellow eyes.

CHINESE GEESE (thank you @Xray the Enforcer for the ID)

DUCKS that look normal

Blue herons (in New Orleans at 5am before I left town)

Cattle Egret

Great American Egret

Cormorants who insisted on being backlit so I coulnt see their markings

0 pelicans (fukrs)

Purple Martins swooping and soaring for bugs on the lake (beautiful beautiful music makers)

Mystery Burd Noise that turned out to be the flagpole rope thwapping in the wind

Blue BIrds

Starlings

ANOTHER (seriously like 5 species of ducks at least, but I didn't have my duck book) KIND OF DUCK

Edit:  Autocorrect texted my boss "purple Martinis" ... Now I want a champagne cocktail with a blackberry garnish for breakfast.  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

 

Edited by Lily Valley

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I saw a pair of woodpeckers and a pair of gray catbirds this morning, along with 2 nesting mourning doves. Managed to photograph them too.

Also saw a cardinal and a bluejay and robin fighting, but missed getting pictures.  These are the 6 types of birds always in our back yard.

Pics

Edited by Lany Freelove Cassandra

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We got 52 species on our birding run today, and we weren't even birding that hard. Migration time is fun. Biggies for the day were 2 Northern Waterthrushes, 3 Orchard Orioles, and 1 Prothonotary Warbler. It was me, Mr. X, and one of my coworkers who is also a birder. 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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1 minute ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

We got 52 species on our birding run today, and we weren't even birding that hard. Migration time is fun. Biggies for the day were 2 Northern Waterthrushes, 3 Orchard Orioles, 1 Hooded Warbler, and 1 Prothonotary Warbler. It was me, Mr. X, and one of my coworkers who is also a birder. 

wow, that's very cool.  

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3 hours ago, Hereward said:

That's more species than I've ever seen in one day. I'm so jealous!

I think the most I've seen in one day in North America (i.e. not in the neotropics) is 76. Next spring, come out to the US in early May and we'll do some spring migration birding!! There's one eBird report from today, from the same area I birded, that listed 72 species. But that was a group of 22 people and they were out for 7 hours, so they probably got almost every species in the park today. 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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I might have caught a brief look at a Snowy owl today!  Was confuzzled at first by the large white raptor looking bird drifting lazily across the neighbors yard.  Definitely not a seagull, too big for a barn owl, too uniformly white for any sort of hawk, and during the day… in Boston? …dafuq?  Turns out Snowys are all of those things!  

I’m still not going to claim certainty, though, only because they are pretty rare this far south.  Also, I was never closer than 100ft, viewing through a smudgy window, a window screen, and a row of leafless trees, for all of 10 seconds.  I do have a pretty good eye for raptors, though, and it was definitely built, and flying, “like an owl”.

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6 minutes ago, The Mance said:

I might have caught a brief look at a Snowy owl today!  Was confuzzled at first by the large white raptor looking bird drifting lazily across the neighbors yard.  Definitely not a seagull, too big for a barn owl, too uniformly white for any sort of hawk, and during the day… in Boston? …dafuq?  Turns out Snowys are all of those things!  

I’m still not going to claim certainty, though, only because they are pretty rare this far south.  Also, I was never closer than 100ft, viewing through a smudgy window, a window screen, and a row of leafless trees, for all of 10 seconds.  I do have a pretty good eye for raptors, though, and it was definitely built, and flying, “like an owl”.

We had some near me (25 miles south of Albany) this winter.  There was a sign up at Schodack Island state park telling people not to approach them if you saw any because they were likely starving, and that any extra take off and flight was burning calories they might not have.  I saw one land on the opposite bank of the river (about 300m away) from where I was back in mid January, was pretty cool.  First one I've ever seen!

Edited by larrytheimp

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