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Active Since: November 30, 2020
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  • Mary Jane
    Participant
    Activity 2: I have been working on identifying waterfowl. First, it can be hard to see the details if the bird is far from shore and/or the water is wavy. Then, there is the trouble of females sometimes being duller and quite different from the male of a species, but very similar to females of other, maybe related species. The female Common and Red-throated Mergansers are very tricky. I usually make my decision based on the length of the bill (and maybe how full it is, if I have a good angle), kind of like the difference between the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. I also try to get a picture to see if Merlin is more confident in identification than I am. But then, sometimes I make my guess based on what others saw and listed on EBird, like today the Greater Scaup couple I saw was a bit distant, on grey, windy day. The male was not as well seen. Someone else said Greater Scaup on EBird, while I flipped open Merlin and my Kaufman to see if I could tell. Sometimes, you just have to add a question mark.
  • Mary Jane
    Participant
    I grew up looking at birds but not especially studying them. It is interesting in mid-life to expand on the foundation my parents set with me. There are plenty of birds that I would not look at twice as just “regular”, maybe “ugly” birds. But, now I have time and, seeing the same kinds of birds many times in a row, wonder more about them. Last year, I spent half an hour staring at a bird I could see very clearly, going back to the car at least twice to look it up in my Kaufman guide, then, my old Peterson’s guide. It seemed interesting and had lots of markings on it. I was pretty surprised/chagrined when I finally figured out it was the most common bird in North America, the European Starling. That was when I realized that they are no just noisy black birds. In fact, they have many colours and I can see so much more about them, including that they are not just a dull black bird (no such thing!); they have spots and shades of blue, green, depending on the light and time of year.
  • Mary Jane
    Participant
    Very good intro so far. #1 Started exploring the Wall during this course. #2 When out earlier today, saw House Sparrows, Yellow Warblers, American Robins, Great Crested Flycatchers; Wood Ducks, Mallards, Canada Geese, Double-crested Cormorant; Ring-billed Gulls; Downy Woodpecker; Mourning Dove. #3 Happy to see that Great Crested Flycatchers have finally returned to town in good numbers. Also enjoying seeing American Redstarts this year. Both can be found near my home.D154ED58-0D81-41C6-8450-4546C76FE288
Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)