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Sun May 24, 2015 at 06:12 AM PDT

Dawn Chorus:Open Thread

by matching mole

There is no Dawn Chorus diary today but please post bird photos, queries, cool sightings, etc. in a comment.  Any and all are welcome.

To get the ball rolling below are some photos of a juvenile hawk from my yard last weekend.  I think they are of a juvenile red-shouldered hawk but am open to correction.  It may have an injured foot although it did use it to grasp the fence after I stopped taking photos.

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Welcome to the 2015 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is the fifth tally for 2015, and is the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and brag some if you wish.

Here's what the race is all about:

The Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race is a birding competition where, over the course of one year, participants strive to identify the most bird species - by sight and/or by sound - from the confines of their yards.
Everyone is welcome - new birders, experienced birders, and anyone in between. We're a very supportive group and will help as much as we can. If you're not sure about an ID, just do your best to give us a good written description. Images, even mediocre ones, can be a great help, too.

There are a number of categories, so that people who live in urban centers don't have to compete against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views.

The Categories:

~Small Town (NEW)
        ~College Campus
        ~Urban apartment or condo
        ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
        ~Urban detached
        ~Suburban
        ~Rural <5 acres
        ~Rural >5 acres
        ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
        ~Classroom Project
The rest of the details and fine print can be found on the other side of the splat of orange bird poop way below.

###

Welcome to Cany, who jumped in 50 birds last month and took the lead in the the RURAL <5ACRES with 50 birds! Also note that gulfgal98 has moved north and into a new category, URBAN DETACHED.

Here's where we stood after the April 16th tally. Not much in commentary again this month, but you all know what to do! As always, please let me know if I've missed something or if anything needs correcting.

SMALL TOWN
1. not4morewars (new) ... central IA ... 7

###

APARTMENT OR CONDO
1. jforests (new) ...  Berkeley CA ... 32
2. Benny Toothpick (25) ... Hamilton, NY... 29
3. aaroninsandiego (21, 20) ... San Diego CA ... 15

RURAL <5ACRES
1. cany (new) ... Orange County CA ... 50
2. jerseyblue (new) ... Howell NJ ... 36
3. Attack Gardener (49) ... Saratoga County NY ... 32
4. PHScott ... (32, 38, 48) ... west of Tallahassee ... 31
5. birdfeeder (new) ... Shutesbury MA ... 21
6. most awesome nana (48, 57)... NE PA ... 12

###

RURAL >5ACRES
1. ninety wt (25) ... central MS ...  24

###

URBAN DETACHED
1. bwren (50, 41, 55) ... Seattle WA ... 30
2. gulfgal98 (new) ... NC ... 23
3. mission419 (new) ... Seattle WA ... 19  
4. KenBee (new) ... SB CA ... 14
5. billybush (35, 19) ... Omaha NE ... 9
6. DemBeans (new) ... Kansas City MO ... 7

###

SUBURBAN

1. AZ Sphinxmoth (43, 73)... Baja, AZ ... 53
2. chantedor (46, 56) ... Paradise, CA ... 36
3 (tie). enhydra lutris (40, 47, 40) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 35
3 (tie). LICenter (new) ... Suffolk County, LI ... 35
4. lorell (36, 47) ... Sugarland, TX ... 33
5. profewalt (76) ... South NJ  ... 25
6. gulfgal98 (new) ... Tallahassee, FL ... 16 final tally in this category for 2015
7. 6412093 (20, 30)... NW Oregon ... 11
8. babrwires (new) ...Alexandria VA ... 6

###

WATERFRONT
1. matching mole (78, 79, 76) ... Tallahassee FL ... 73
2. Polly Syllabic (100, 102, 83) ... Gooseville WI ... 63
3. Dr. Arcadia (78, 87) ... thumb of MI ... 55
4. nom de plume (64) ... Upper Kitsap Peninsula WA ... 50
5. Milly Watt (67, 75, 72) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 47
6. OceanDiver (71, 72) ... Lopez IS WA ...  40
7. Mark Sumner (69, 80) ... Hillsboro MO ... 34
8. political mutt (53, 65, 91) ... Sandhills NC ... 22

###

The fifth Official Tally of the 2015 Backyard Science Yardbird Race is now open! Newcomers and returnees are always welcome. Have fun!

Tally Updates
Thanks to matching mole for taking care of the tally last month! Who's on for next month?

Your location, as close as you are comfortable revealing.
Your yard category.
Number of species seen so far, including your other tallies if you have any.
List of birds seen, dated if you wish.
Any comments you have about your sightings.

###

"Green Diary Rescue" is posted every Saturday and Wednesday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Green Diary Rescue has been good to Backyard Science, so take a minute to recommend, comment, and then link to your other off-dKos groups.
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Reposted from Backyard Science by enhydra lutris
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

US & Canada

Continued below the orange worm tracks

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Sun May 17, 2015 at 06:00 AM PDT

Dawn Chorus: Birds in Flight

by Kestrel

Since humans have existed, we have pondered the magic of flight made visable to all through the graceful beauty of birds. From the slow and elegant flight of large birds like egrets and herons to the amazing blur of the hovering hummingbird, birds in flight have always captivated. It was Leonardo da Vinci who conceptualized flying machines by carefully studying birds in the 15th century seen below through two of his early drawings.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Come join me below the beautiful orange bird wing to enjoy some pictures of birds in flight. I've never been terribly adept at capturing flying birds with my camera, but I'm sharing some I've managed to get and I invite you to do the same.

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Today is Mother's Day in many parts of the world, including here in Ecuador. I would love nothing more than to have my mom with me today. We would go hummingbird watching at one of the local reserves. But since she can't be in this beautiful country with me, I thought sharing one photo of every type of hummingbird I've photographed since arriving in this beautiful country would just have to do the trick!

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Sparkling Violet-eared Hummbird attacks a Many-spotted Hummingbird near the the Wildsumaco hummingbird feeders.
Sparkling Violet-eared Hummbird attacks a Many-spotted Hummingbird near the the Wildsumaco hummingbird
PS - for those of you who like a challenge, there are a few unidentified birds at the very end of the photos. You'll need your South American bird identification books handy!
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Reposted from Backyard Science by enhydra lutris
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

Castro Valley, CA

Continued below the orange worm tracks

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Reposted from lineatus by lineatus

Okay, actually, no profit to be made from gull ID as far as I know.  But if it's possible to tilt the meter from pure aggravation toward fun, that would be something.

DSCN1999
I've been trying to work on Gull ID, but it's all just a blur.

Let's call this an open thread, but with encouragement to post gull pix and let us puzzle over ID together.  I'm hoping we can get a nice assortment of gulls from around the country.  

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Reposted from lineatus by lineatus

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz - I wonder where the birdies iz?

DSCN2594

Bolinaz!

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Reposted from lineatus by tgypsy

Pull up a comfy chair and join us for brunch, now that there's a diary.

DSCN2595

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Welcome to the 2015 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is the fourth tally for 2015, and is the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and brag some if you wish.

Here's what the race is all about:

The Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race is a birding competition where, over the course of one year, participants strive to identify the most bird species - by sight and/or by sound - from the confines of their yards.
Everyone is welcome - new birders, experienced birders, and anyone in between. We're a very supportive group and will help as much as we can. If you're not sure about an ID, just do your best to give us a good written description. Images, even mediocre ones, can be a great help, too.

There are a number of categories, so that people who live in urban centers don't have to compete against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views.

The Categories:

~Small Town (NEW)
        ~College Campus
        ~Urban apartment or condo
        ~Urban attached (townhouse, rowhouse)
        ~Urban detached
        ~Suburban
        ~Rural <5 acres
        ~Rural >5 acres
        ~Waterfront (trumps any of the above...)
        ~Classroom Project
The rest of the details and fine print can be found on the other side of the splat of orange bird poop way below.

###

Here's where we stood after the March 15th tally. Not much in commentary this month, but you all know what to do!

We've added a new category this time SMALL TOWN for people who live in, well, small towns. Please welcome our first SMALL TOWN participant not4morewars.

SMALL TOWN
1. not4morewars (new) ... central IA ... 7

Looks like not4morwars needs a bit of competition. Let us know if you might find this category a better fit than the one you're in. We'll switch you over.

###

APARTMENT OR CONDO
1. jforests (new) ...  Berkeley CA ... 32
2. Benny Toothpick (25) ... Hamilton, NY... 14
3. aaroninsandiego (21, 20) ... San Diego CA ... 13

jforests showed up last month and immediately took the lead here. Hmm, neither aaroninsandiego nor Benny Toothpick checked in last month so remain locked, one bird apart in second and third.

RURAL <5ACRES
1. jerseyblue (new) ... Howell, NJ ... 31
2. PHScott ... (32, 38, 48) ... west of Tallahassee ... 27
3. Attack Gardener (49) ... Saratoga County NY ... 24
4. birdfeeder (new) ... Shutesbury, MA ... 18
5. most awesome nana (48, 57)... NE PA ... 5

###

RURAL >5ACRES
1. ninety wt (25) ... central MS ...  24

###

URBAN DETACHED
1. bwren (50, 41, 55) ... Seattle WA ... 28
2. mission419 (new) ... Seattle WA ... 19  
3. KenBee (new) ... SB CA ... 14
4. DemBeans (new) ... Kansas City MO ... 7
5. billybush (35, 19) ... Omaha NE ... 9

###

SUBURBAN

1. AZ Sphinxmoth (43, 73)... Baja, AZ ... 40
2. enhydra lutris (40, 47, 40) ... Castro Valley NOCA ... 32
3 (tie). chantedor (46, 56) ... Paradise, CA ... 31
3 (tie). lorell (36, 47) ... Sugarland, TX ... 31
4. LICenter (new) ... Suffolk City, LI ... 29
5. profewalt (76) ... South NJ  ... 1  25
6. gulfgal98 (new) ... Tallahassee, FL ... 16
7. 6412093 (20, 30)... NW Oregon ... 9

All I can say is that SUBURBAN is very competitive this year!

###

WATERFRONT
1. matching mole (78, 79, 76) ... Tallahassee FL ... 59
2. nom de plume (64) ... Upper Kitsap Peninsula WA ... 43
3. Milly Watt (67, 75, 72) ... Olympic Peninsula WA ... 42
4. OceanDiver (71, 72) ... Lopez IS WA ... 40
5. Polly Syllabic (100, 102, 83) ... Gooseville WI ... 38
6. Mark Sumner (69, 80) ... Hillsboro MO ... 34
7. Dr. Arcadia (78, 87) ... thumb of MI ... 31
8. political mutt (53, 65, 91) ... Sandhills NC ... 22

###

The fourth Official Tally of the 2015 Backyard Science Yardbird Race is now open! Newcomers and returnees are always welcome. Have fun!

Tally Updates
Thanks to aaroninsandiego for taking care of the tally last month!
Matching Mole will be the tallykeeper this time. Be good to him - please post your tallies in the following manner:

Your location, as close as you are comfortable revealing.
Your yard category.
Number of species seen so far, including your other tallies if you have any.
List of birds seen, dated if you wish.
Any comments you have about your sightings.

###

"Green Diary Rescue" is posted every Saturday and Wednesday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Green Diary Rescue has been good to Backyard Science, so take a minute to recommend, comment, and then link to your other off-dKos groups.
Continue Reading
Reposted from boriscleto by matching mole

A chilly mid-April morning at Sterling Nature Center and its Great Blue Heron Rookery in Sterling, NY

_IMG0722 - Version 2

_IMG0754

Updated with evening photos.

_IMG1137

Poll

Should I go back this evening to get better photos of the rookery?

76%10 votes
23%3 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

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This diary is slightly above the level of an open thread.  Be prepared for some bad photographs and some bird carnage.  Fortunately the quality of the photos makes the carnage less obvious.

Our title references two things.  One is an experience I had long ago while doing field work in Phoenix.  I stopped to take a look at a raptor flying by and some guy who was passing called out "It's a Cooper's Hawk".  I told the friend I was with that, whatever else it was, it was not a Cooper's hawk (it was buteo of some sort).  My memory of the details of the event are hazy and the only reason I remember it is that my friend (he was a biologist but definitely not a birder) was quite taken with the phrase and would often repeat it, saying "It's a Cooper's hawk" imitating the rather yokelish accent of that long ago passer by whenever any kind of sizable bird might be seen.

The second reference is to the notorious difficulty of distinguishing Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks.  The most obvious difference between the two is size but there is overlap and size is not always easy to estimate from a distance.

In recent weeks a Cooper's hawk has been using our feeder as a diner.  I've seen it (or them) three times.  Twice I've seen it in flight and it is clearly a Cooper's with the rounded corners of the tail.  It is also crow-sized and much too larger to be a Sharp-shinned.

However the third sighting was of the bird perched in a water oak, plucking its recently captured prey.

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