Printable Version of Topic

-Antievolution.org Discussion Board
+--Forum: After the Bar Closes...
+---Topic: Wildlife started by Albatrossity2


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 24 2008,14:26

A while back Wesley suggested that a wildlife thread might be fun, or even useful. Since I am teaching a field ornithology class this semester (1 hour of credit for three hours of birdwatching per week), I thought I'd kick this off with our bird sighting checklist for today. The whole list is < available from a link here >; just go to the column for 2008 and click on the link for the checklist for week2. There are lots of checklists from previous spring semesters at that site as well.

We say 29 species in two hours this morning. Mid-winter is not a good time to see a lot of birds, but because this is a class to teach students about the birds, they probably don't want to see a lot of birds, and keep the IDs straight, right now. There will be lots more by May! They also don't want to spend a lot of time outside right now; the temperature was just about zero F (-18 C) when we started out this morning. That should be better by May as well.

The highlight was an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) perched in good light for several minutes; our typical accipiter sighting is a flyby at about Mach 0.5 or so...
Posted by: argystokes on Jan. 24 2008,14:44

We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:

Posted by: J-Dog on Jan. 24 2008,14:49

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 24 2008,14:44)
We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think you had better tell us the rest of the story!

I have a picture of a red-tailed hawk sitting on my back yard fence, but why would I bother to post it when you have even potty-trained your hawk?

What's next, putting it in pre-school?  Teaching it to talk?
How's the driving lessons going?

Man.  Some people can really spoil it for the rest of us...

But sriously - come on spill your guts dude!
Posted by: Mister DNA on Jan. 24 2008,15:00

I don't have a back yard, but in the immediate area we've got a ton of sparrows, grackles and seagulls. We get a lot of hummingbirds during the Spring/Summer, too.

There's a couple of woodpeckers, too. I always feel bad for them because they're so outnumbered. I'll try to dig up so photos I took of one of them.

Late at night the possums come around and eat the food that people put out for the feral cats in the area. During the day, the squirrels come out and taunt the cats and the grackles. I need to get some video of the squirrels; they are hilarious.

It's not in my immediate backyard area, but every few years or so I make the trip to the < Aransas Wildlife Refuge > to see the whooping cranes.

It's so cool that the whooping crane numbers are growing. The first time I saw them was probably in 1973 and they were damn near extinction.
Posted by: Assassinator on Jan. 24 2008,15:11

The best we're getting here are herons, pigeons and Apache's. But I've got my own personal wildlife:
< >
(I so love my cat, and this is a really small one)
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Jan. 24 2008,15:11

recently at my house in the limestone country

Dark Eyed Junco
Acadian Fly Catchers (nesting in my back room as we speak).  is this the right time of year or have i missed an ID?
Cardinal
Downy woodpecker
blue jay
cedar waxwing
bluebird
a smaller buteo, probably sharp shinned but I didn't get a good luck
raccoon
possums
skunks
grey squirrels
screech owl
drunk guy next door
Posted by: carlsonjok on Jan. 24 2008,15:19

I don't manage to get many wildlife pictures as it is rare that I ever take a camera out back with me, but my neighbor did take this picture a few of summers ago over the fence onto my property.  We had a flock of 17 turkeys that year.  This past summer we only ended up seeing 1 young turkey and even that was rare.



I've also seen a Great Blue Heron, a pretty good size black ratsnake, an occasional white-tail deer, and innumerable coyotes.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Jan. 24 2008,15:21

I have a very small yard in an urban, high density neighborhood.  We have been here 14 years, and I have been planting  regionally local native plants since we moved bought the house.  We have about 30 species of plants in the 30X20 ft yard, and 8 in a 30X5 ft front strip.  The trees are 2 species of willow for upper story and insect fodder.  Alan’s humming birds have nested (successful), as have crows (failed).  The hummers like two species, gooseberry, and California Fuchsia, both with red hanging flowers The Gooseberry blooms from about now until June, and the fuchsia in late summer to winter.  They also like the non-native bottle brush and rosemary next door.   The willows also support a wood-boring beetle, many lepidoptera most obvious being the Morning cloak, but also a lot of cool moths.  I have 2 species of buckwheat, and 2 evening primroses that also support a number of leps, the largest being a white lined sphinx moth.  The buckwheat and a few of the various asterace feed metal marks, and marine blues.  There are at least a dozen species of “lady beetles” that reproduce, and loads of other beetles (God loves beetles).  And I can’t ID the spiders much, but there are about 5 orb-weaver speceis, and an assortment of others.  I watched a wasp the other day provisioning her burrow with a violin spider.  The wasps are another interesting population- I have watched the little killers drag around caterpillars, spiders, and whatnot.  

The migrant English Sparrows devastate the Morning Cloak caterpillars, and when the survivors hit the ground to disperse, the wasps and spiders take over.  From about 50 chrysalii I kept an eye on, only 2 emerged.  The rest were all parasitized by wasps.  (I did get to watch some of the little wasps emerge, 50-60 per chrysalis).

All these critters attract vertebrates.  The bush tits, assorted warblers join the sparrows (including a few native species) eating insects off the trees, etc.  We also are visited by downy woodpeckers occasionally.  We also see orioles, tanagers, sparrow hawks, sharp shinned hawks, doves (eaten by the sharp shinned hawks).  We get raccoon, skunk and opossum that wander through.

Resident breeders include golden salamanders, western fence lizards and southern alligator lizards.  The alligator lizards eat the salamanders as well as crickets and so on. Two years ago the lizard numbers took a bump.  It turned out that the they had been found by a young king snake.  I have no idea where he came from, he was quite small unlikely to have been an escaped pet.  I noticed him one morning when he was trying to swallow an alligator lizard almost as large as he was.  I decided I preferred lizards, and so “Elvis the King” moved to a terrarium.  He is about 3 ft now, and lives up to his name (at least re: eating).

I have not watered, fertilized, or used any other crap for 10 years.  If everyone used native plants, we would not have nearly the environmental problems.  In spite of this, the City Lawn Nazis aka “code enforcement officers” were on my ass for years for growing “weeds.”  I shook them off when I received a “Registered Wildlife Habitat” sign from the National Wildlife Federation and posted it in the yard.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 24 2008,15:22

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 24 2008,14:44)
We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, that's a sharpie all right. Lookit those scrawny legs!

I really do want to hear how it ended up in your bathroom...
Posted by: argystokes on Jan. 24 2008,15:27



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I think you had better tell us the rest of the story!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The picture is from almost exactly a year ago. I was hanging around the apartment and saw a hawk kinda hopping along the ground. I pointed it out to my wife and we both agreed that this was peculiar behavior for a hawk, so she went outside to see if it was all right. The fact that she was able to capture it with a towel confirmed that it wasn't. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday evening, and all the wildlife rescues were closed. We planned to take it up to the nearest rescue first thing in the morning. We wrapped it up and kept it in a box for the evening to keep it warm and from fluttering around and hurting itself. My wife couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures while it was out, though. Tragically, it didn't survive the night.
Posted by: Assassinator on Jan. 24 2008,15:32



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
doves (eaten by the sharp shinned hawks)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We ain't got hawks, someone else is eating our doves, *points at previous post* ;)

My cat would be a great LOLcat with that picture, won't it :p


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Tragically, it didn't survive the night.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Such a shame :( Wildlife housings should alwayse be open.
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on Jan. 24 2008,15:52

I've been meaning to take a day trip up to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals that are congregating on a beach up there, but the weather's been pretty brutal, and it seems like winter on Point Reyes even in the summer. Plus, I've been busy. But this weekend or next, I'm going to make the trip. If I spend all day, I should have a good shot at spotting some migrating gray whales to boot.

And then, on the inland side, there's just an amazing profusion of waterfowl in Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon.
Posted by: Mr_Christopher on Jan. 24 2008,16:00

Assorted cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, hummingbirds (summer), occassional screech owl, geckos, lizards, children, etc.  Key to wildlife in the yard is keep the agent orange and other toxins away.

I live in the city but have a large lot (1/2 acre).  I grow a ton of stuff in my yard - various palm trees, agaves, yuccas, cannas, and more!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Jan. 24 2008,18:03

Saw a big flock (50-60) of red winged blackbirds the other day, right on the front lawn.  Off the top of my head, from my yard I've seen blue jays, blue birds, robins, European starlings, mockingbirds, catbirds, wood thrushes (I'm a little iffy on that ID, so many birds look kind of similar but the call seemed to match), cardinals, Carolina chickadees, laughing gulls, mourning doves, rock pigeons, red headed woodpeckers, yellow shafted northern flickers, pileated woodpeckers, grackles, crows, turkey buzzards, and the odd ruby throated hummingbird.

I spent a lot of time two summers ago watching birds in the yard and keeping a list.  Alas, when my hard drive took the Big Dirt Nap, that file was one of the ones that was scrambled beyond all retrieval.

I'd been thinking about starting again, since the blackbirds passed by.

Stray cats, squirrels, etc.

Last summer I accidentally ran over a juvenile rat snake with the tractor mower, decapitating it.

We also have fire ants (and I think some other kind of nasty biting/stinging ant which leaves a big welt - one got me last year).

That's not a complete inventory, but what sticks out.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Jan. 24 2008,18:13

Everyone is making me wonder why on earth I am here - I went for a walk at the weekend and saw ravens, 2 grey jays, 4 black-capped chickadees and heard a boreal chickadee before my forehead started to ache and I went back inside. But it did look beautiful.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Jan. 24 2008,18:40

I also sight at least two or three ospreys a day, but they are of the mechanical variety, living all next to Lejeune.

Richard, the biggest advantage I have for watching the critters is having a butt load of time on my hands.  It contributes significantly to my ADHD-like eclecticism, I think.

Or I might just be politely referred to as eccentric, who's to say?

When I was on my bird-watching binge (before the computer purged for me), I just spent a lot of time quietly in the kitchen looking out the windows with and without binoculars.  I can't sit or stand for very long periods, but sometimes I can alternate for good stretches, and being inside tended to disturb the wildlife less.

Of course, once the kids get out of school for the summer, that's pretty much the end of that.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Jan. 24 2008,18:59

Sharp-shinned hawks and kestrels have very high metabolism. They may eat about a quarter of their own weight in food per day. A sharp-shinned hawk or kestrel that has been injured such that it cannot feed itself will not last long.

Once, Diane and I were called to a county road maintenance facility, where they had found a juvenile kestrel in a pit, with a generous helping of tar and ants on it. They had already had it in their keeping a couple of days, and apparently it was given the occasional bit of meat from someone's sandwich. We thanked them for calling, picked up the bird, and left. We drove directly to a grocery store, and got the only packet of meat they had that could be given immediately in small pieces, as it turned out about a pound of ground veal. Now, you don't want to feed raptors processed meat as a steady diet, but our assessment of the kestrel was that it was likely already starved beyond recovery, and any delay on getting some nutrition in would make it that much more likely it would die. We fed it as much as it would take at a sitting right there in the car in the grocery store parking lot. Fortunately, it did live through that epsiode. Unfortunately, it seemed to have made some developmental problem, as it never grew a completely normal set of feathers thereafter.
Posted by: rhmc on Jan. 24 2008,20:28

i live on an island on the coast of georgia.  not a barrier island so no sandy beaches but plenty of marsh.
in the yard we have skinks, glass "snakes", black snakes, rat snakes, visiting racoons, possums and a colony of wood rats live nearby - which is probably what keeps the black snake hangin' around and keeps the hawks coming by.
in the marshes and hammocks are the occasional alligator, white tail deer, bald eagle, osprey, blue herons, great blue herons, tri-colored herons, snowy egrets, wood storks, ibis, the occasional spoonbill and the usual assortment of birds including painted buntings, redheaded wood peckers and pileated woodpeckers..
in the water there are redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, sharks of varying types and sizes, jellyfish, southern stargazers, mackeral in several varieties....
and then there are the insects....
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Jan. 24 2008,21:58

Wildlife here... let me think back over the last year.

Canada goose, mallard ducks, turkeys, raccoons, lots and lots of deer, rabbits, cardinals, blue jays, crows, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, pond sliders, minnows, bream, bass. Fireflies. Wasps. Harvestmen and wolf spiders. Plenty of mosquitoes. Praying mantis. Ladybugs. Some other sort of beetle that shows up in the hundreds in the springtime. Garter snakes. Mice.

The Cooper's hawk in the vicinity has helped itself to probably a half-dozen pigeons from the loft. I saw a Google news alert today about a pigeon fancier back in California getting charged for his hawk-killing ways. Myself, I'm rooting for the Cooper's hawk. Diane would like to hang on to some pigeons for training the dog.
Posted by: IanBrown_101 on Jan. 25 2008,00:36

The only really exciting thing we get around here are red kites. There's actually quite a few near here (Aberystwyth) which is pretty cool. Other than that it's pretty much just your basic list. Although we do get dolphins (not sure which species) in the sea off south beach (about 30 seconds from my house) and I think there are red squirrels in the local woods (it wouldn't surprise me, since they're pretty much limited to Wales, but seem to live i a large number of places within the country).

Back home, there isn't that much special either, but fairly close to where I live there are breeding ospreys, which is pretty cool.
Posted by: bfish on Jan. 25 2008,00:51

Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 24 2008,13:19)
We had a flock of 17 turkeys that year.  This past summer we only ended up seeing 1 young turkey and even that was rare.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The place I work has a flock or two or three of wild turkeys. I'm still not sure if they are natives or not here in Northern California. A few weeks ago I counted 43 turkeys in one flock on a hillside. I don't know if you can tell from Carlsonjok's picture, but they are actually quite beautiful birds. Not in body shape, but in color. Their feathers are gorgeous, shimmering bronze in the sunlight. They have a wide range of vocalizations, too. It ain't just gobble gobble. A lot of trills and twitters. I've been meaning to try to make a recording. Better act quickly, though - the higher ups have announced that they're going to hire "turkey wranglers" to rid the hill of the wattled menace.

I'm lucky, in that I get to look out my lab window and see wildlife 20 or 30 feet away. Usually deer. Helps to relaxify you.

Edited to add: We also have a lot of red-tailed hawks. One day last summer I was riding my bike up the hill/mountain towards work. The hills were in the clouds, with the wind blowing in hard off the bay, and you could visualize the flow of the wind over the steep slope by watching the clouds approach the road and then rise above it. I spotted a hawk, only about ten feet above my head and another ten feet over the edge of the cliff. He looked like he was hovering in one spot, so much so that I stopped my bike to see if it was an optical illusion. No illusion. His position did not move, like he was stuck with a tack. Just a little turn of a feather now and again to keep him from drifting. It was amazing.
Posted by: snoeman on Jan. 25 2008,01:09

Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  < There's a site dedicated to tracking them. >  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in < my neighborhood. >  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to < leave the little guy (gal?) alone. >
Posted by: dhogaza on Jan. 25 2008,03:13

Well, I'm spending part of winter in a suburb on the outskirts of Madrid, and have recently had the time to start exploring some of the empty country that's barely within walking distance (littered with construction cranes building new flats, unfortunately).

Nothing interesting for a european birder, but ... (eurasian) goldfinch, black redstart, stonechat, crested lark, grey partridge (one, and it's a bit out of place), robin, chiffchaff, spotless starling, white wagtail, (eurasian) kestrel, hen harrier, and for Wesley ...

a peregrine wearing jesses and bells.  The guy flying it spoke no english, and my spanish sucks, but he had another peregrine hooded in the back of his SUV, and gradually got me to understand that it was the mother of the bird-of-the-year he was training.  And that it was from the US.  And previously owned by some famous animal trainer I've never heard of.  And was in some famous movie whose title in spanish doesn't ring a bell.  He flies his peregrine at the airport, part of the scare-the-birds regime there.  The kid was beautiful, a very nice rich brown.

Apparently I can take a bus this weekend to a place where seeing griffon is quite likely, with spanish imperial eagle a possibility, too.

When here last summer I managed to see a bunch of other species, including a golden eagle in the picos de europa.
Posted by: Nomad on Jan. 25 2008,05:00

While it's likely that we get SOME interesting birds out here, I couldn't recognize most of them to save my life.  But we did have an interesting incident involving a heron.  I live in the suburbs, and some neighbors (a house behind mine) have a small decorative pond.  One day I saw a heron walking through the pond, apparently eating.  It was then that I realized that they stocked it with fish.

Apparently the herons only ate the expensive fish.

There's a park near me that I think has or at least had beaver.. I thought I saw one in the river once, and in the winter I've seen slides in the snow leading into the water.  We definitely have raccoons, I say that because they keep trying to live in my attic.  I still hear them walking around on the roof at night trying to get in through the usual entry point, but it's been closed off with wire mesh.

My basement computer room is infested with lady bugs.  If I remember the explanation right, they're an introduced Asian species that can't handle cold winters so they infiltrate people's houses and apparently live in the basement waiting for it to warm up again.  They get into EVERYTHING.. every so often I open up my computer case and find a few ladybug corpses in there.  I found a few shell pieces on the heatsink for my CPU last time.  And I regularly have to sweep up all the ladybug corpses that end up on the floor.  I swear I've seen one flying, then fall out of the air and land on the floor dead.  It's like a ladybug graveyard down here.


I had a female Mallard make a nest in the mulch near the front walkway, but unfortunately the nest was raided and the eggs were eaten, I'm assuming by raccoons.  I was really disappointed, I REALLY wanted to see the baby ducks.  I was especially hopeful that I could catch the mother leading them to water.  I don't live too close to water, it would have been a reasonable trek to get to anything bigger than the pond in the neighbors yard, and they would have had to cross a busy road.

And regarding coyotes, apparently we have them too.  I'd heard stories about them, but didn't believe them.  A google search turned up video a local resident shot of a coyote in his backyard though, along with a story from a local paper about them.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Jan. 25 2008,07:54

I'm in an urban area in southeast Wisconsin, and we get the standard complement of birds--finches, cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, crows, etc. This past summer, due to the large numbers of small birds (my neighbor has a lot of feeders), we also had regular visits from a hawk--either Sharp Shinned or Cooper's, I'm not sure which.  

We get plenty of mammals as well--skunks, opossums, raccoons, and this year a couple of Gray Foxes, one of which I was surprised to see sitting in my backyard one morning.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Jan. 25 2008,18:37

The reference to coyotes reminds me that over Christmas we visited a national park to the south of our house (Riding Mountain, Manitoba) and had excellent views of a moose standing in the road and a few minutes later of a wolf in snow by the side of the road. My son, who was a few minutes ahead of us, said five had crossed the road and this was the last one who stopped to watch the people watching him.

One of my more gratifying (in retrospect) wildlife experiences was when we stopped at a small town in South Africa just south of Springbok. I spent a long time studying the larks that were running around the short grass near the filling station, with my binoculars in one hand and the field guide in the other trying to figure out just what they were. I had no success, but a few months later a new field guide came out with them illustrated - they had not been noticed as a different species earlier.
Posted by: argystokes on Jan. 25 2008,19:39

Quote (snoeman @ Jan. 24 2008,23:09)
Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  < There's a site dedicated to tracking them. >  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in < my neighborhood. >  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to < leave the little guy (gal?) alone. >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We used to hear coyotes when we lived by Magnuson Park, and of course there are coons all over the UW campus. And this one time I caught a cougar by the tail...


Posted by: J-Dog on Jan. 25 2008,20:48

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 25 2008,19:39)
Quote (snoeman @ Jan. 24 2008,23:09)
Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  < There's a site dedicated to tracking them. >  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in < my neighborhood. >  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to < leave the little guy (gal?) alone. >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We used to hear coyotes when we lived by Magnuson Park, and of course there are coons all over the UW campus. And this one time I caught a cougar by the tail...


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Argy - You took this pic in Madison?  If not, where?

(Or is UW University of Washington where you come from...)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 09 2008,17:05

I just uploaded the < checklist > for last Thursday's Field Ornithology class. It had snowed (4-6") a couple of days before, so we made a lot of noise crunching along, and I can blame that for the relative scarcity of birds. That's probably OK with the class as well, since their bird ID skills are still at an early stage.

But the class got good looks at a couple of Bald Eagles, which elicited the usual ooohs and aaahs. We also found a lone White Pelican, which should be < well south of here > at this time of year. It probably can't fly, but it seemed healthy enough, and almost certainly has made it through the coldest part of the winter.
Posted by: Peter Henderson on Feb. 10 2008,09:47



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Mid-winter is not a good time to see a lot of birds, but because this is a class to teach students about the birds, they probably don't want to see a lot of birds, and keep the IDs straight, right now. There will be lots more by May!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Plenty of birds in my back garden despite the winter, really just a continuation of the summer these days only a little colder (a mild winter yet again this year).

Nothing exotic though. The normal population at this time of year is mainly blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, robins, magpies, crows, and starlings (am I right in thinking that starlings aren't native to the UK but immigrants ?), chaffinches and the odd seagull or pigeon. I would imagine the swallows will be back in a couple of months nesting under the eaves/in the roofspace. We also see the occasional sparrow hawk from time to time.
Posted by: fusilier on Feb. 11 2008,07:23

Dr. GH:
Your hummies feed at the gooseberries?  We have gooseberries and I've never seen 'em feeding there.  Instead, they feed at our Nicotinea and morning glories.

This time of year (currently cold enough to freeze the family jewels off the appropriate metallic monkey) we don't have too much wild-life.
Posted by: ppb on Feb. 11 2008,09:42

We live in suburban Boston (Lexington) so our wildlife consists mainly of squirrels, chipmunks, various songbirds, and the occasional possum or raccoon.   One day though I looked out and saw this perched on top of our screened tent.



My first thought was "Oh cool!  We have a Great Blue Heron in our back yard."  Then I remembered our fish pond and thought "Oh sh*t!  We have a Great Blue Heron in our back yard."
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on Feb. 12 2008,13:20

Finally got out to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals. So cool. Most of the action was over a few weeks ago. ("The action" being the fighting and dominance displays between the bull males for the prime spots and the biggest harem.) There were about 200 females on the beach, divided into (I think) three harems. The big-daddy alpha bull was 20 feet long if he was an inch. The docent at the viewing site (overlooking the beach) said they were estimating he was about 5000 pounds. There were some younger males hanging around, too (poor guys --most of them, after getting sand kicked in their faces, depart to other, nearby, beaches), and I actually saw a fight between two. Not sure why they were fighting, since the prizes were all spoken for. And it wasn't two alpha-males going at it, but still quite impressive. Two 15 to 17 foot long, 4000 lb. beasts makes for quite a bout. Very interesting creatures that you don't see every day. And a nice day on Point Reyes, which it almost never is.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 12 2008,13:41

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Feb. 12 2008,13:20)
Finally got out to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals. So cool. Most of the action was over a few weeks ago. ("The action" being the fighting and dominance displays between the bull males for the prime spots and the biggest harem.) There were about 200 females on the beach, divided into (I think) three harems. The big-daddy alpha bull was 20 feet long if he was an inch. The docent at the viewing site (overlooking the beach) said they were estimating he was about 5000 pounds. There were some younger males hanging around, too (poor guys --most of them, after getting sand kicked in their faces, depart to other, nearby, beaches), and I actually saw a fight between two. Not sure why they were fighting, since the prizes were all spoken for. And it wasn't two alpha-males going at it, but still quite impressive. Two 15 to 17 foot long, 4000 lb. beasts makes for quite a bout. Very interesting creatures that you don't see every day. And a nice day on Point Reyes, which it almost never is.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wow!  I didn't know that elephant seals had made it to Point Reyes; when I was in grad school they weren't any further north than Ano Nuevo. And that was in the days when you could walk on the mainland beach, strewn with bachelor males who got kicked off the island. Probably not the brightest thing I ever did... Here's a pic from those days, ca 1974-75.



Don'cha just love those cute eyebrows?
Posted by: C.J.O'Brien on Feb. 12 2008,14:01

Albatrossity:
They've been making a comeback. From the < National Park Service website >



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
After being absent for more than 150 years, elephant seals returned to the sandy beaches on the rocky Point Reyes Headlands in the early 1970s. In 1981, the first breeding pair was discovered near Chimney Rock. Since then, researchers have found that the colony is growing at a dramatic annual average rate of 16 percent. When severe storms occurred in 1992, 1994, and 1998, many pups were killed. During the El Niño winter of 1998, storms and high tides washed away approximately 85% of the 350 young pups before they had learned to swim. Nevertheless, the Point Reyes elephant seal population is between 1,500 and 2,000. Fanning out from their initial secluded spot, the seals have expanded to popular beaches, causing concern for both their safety and that of their human visitors.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 12 2008,14:20

I think somewhere around the beginning of the 20th century, the Northern Elephant Seal was assumed to be close to extinction. A report of eight seals galvanized the Smithsonian Institution into action. They sent a crack team... to kill the remaining seals so they could be added to the museum's collections while there were a few available.

Fortunately, that apparently was not the very last of the population. I know people who do studies on NESs, and the genetics of a very recent and drastic population bottleneck are an ever-present part of any population work done.


Posted by: BWE on Feb. 12 2008,18:53

Close up



This guy was standing on my neighbor's roof. Shot from my back porch.




Full view.








Taking off close up:





Full view:



The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 12 2008,20:08

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 12 2008,18:53)
The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A peregrine is probably not much of a threat to your cat; they generally eat birds, and they generally have to knock them out of the sky. They rarely take prey from the ground; unless your cat develops wings, it's probably safe!

Of course, it can be tough to convince the cat about that...
Posted by: BWE on Feb. 12 2008,20:35

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 12 2008,20:08)
Quote (BWE @ Feb. 12 2008,18:53)
The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A peregrine is probably not much of a threat to your cat; they generally eat birds, and they generally have to knock them out of the sky. They rarely take prey from the ground; unless your cat develops wings, it's probably safe!

Of course, it can be tough to convince the cat about that...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm aware that they are suppose to eat birds, but I wasn't sure if the peregrine knew that. She landed on the fence in order to inspect the kitten (now a cat).

She was easily 3 times the size of the kitten.
Posted by: J. O'Donnell on Feb. 12 2008,20:40

A friend of my friend had a stream at the back of his house so I went looking for critters and found this:



More pictures < here >.

And yes, the little bastard does have my thumb.
Posted by: nuytsia on Feb. 13 2008,06:01

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Jan. 24 2008,16:36)
The only really exciting thing we get around here are red kites. There's actually quite a few near here (Aberystwyth) which is pretty cool. Other than that it's pretty much just your basic list.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ian I saw my first ever chough in Aberystwyth (actually it was a small flock) and I was ever so excited.

In terms of my backyard - well I don't actually have one but out of the back window I do see blackbirds, house sparrow and starlings... but occasionally I get some native birds like New Holland Honeyeaters, Yellow Wattlebirds and the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have returned now that the neighbours almonds are starting to ripen. :-)

I was out rockpooling (US translation: looking at stuff in tidepools) over the weekend and had a brilliant time. I haven't done this in years and have never done this in Australia and it was so cool.
(Few clicky images below)

Saw my very first live keyhole limpet - not IDed as yet.
< >
Weird shell to body ratio?

There were lots of these cool decorator crabs Naxia tumida
< >

This little half crab was pretty cool. Lomis hirta
< >
Apparently this is in it's own monotypic family.

Some pretty variable seastars. Patiriella calcar
< >

Oh and a sea anemone that actually stalks it's prey. Phlyctenanthus tuberculosa
< >

And loads of other bits and pieces including some of the largest starfish I think I've ever seen. Selected image from the day < here >.
This was so much fun, that I've ordered a load of Australian marine life books and hope to get back out there again ASAP.

This is the dawn of my second third childhood! :-)
Just need a decent net and bucket....
Posted by: Richard Simons on Feb. 13 2008,08:01

Nuytsia, unless things have changed since I was there, you were lucky to see choughs in Aberystwyth. Although they were in the Cwm Rheidol area they seldom seemed to reach the town. I remember watching my first choughs on Bardsey Island. With their bright red beaks and the habit of making a loud, cheerful sounding caw while flicking their wings I could see where the expression 'I felt chuffed' came from.
Posted by: rhmc on Feb. 13 2008,10:02

Quote (nuytsia @ Feb. 13 2008,07:01)
[quote=IanBrown_101,Jan. 24 2008,16:36]
I was out rockpooling (US translation: looking at stuff in tidepools) over the weekend and had a brilliant time. I haven't done this in years and have never done this in Australia and it was so cool....
This is the dawn of my second third childhood! :-)
Just need a decent net and bucket....
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's also one of my favorite activities.
To add to the experience, several years ago I bought a 100' long seine to drag the beaches with.
You simply have no idea what lives right off the beach until you do something like that.

A side benefit of the seine is that you can also feed the family on a fairly regular basis.  :)
Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 13 2008,10:46

Photos from Photobucket?   ???

They don't seem to link.

Size a problem?





Ah, that seems to do the trick.

That is the yard (plus dog).  The growing area is about 5X5 meters, and we have about 35 plant species.  You can see we are in an urban area.  (The occasional shootings are an urban bonus).

Here are some gooseberry that I trained up w/ flowers popular with humming birds.  I also vined some goosberry into the willows which discourages cats and other critters from raiding nests.




Posted by: Richard Simons on Feb. 13 2008,12:36

Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?
Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 13 2008,13:58

Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 13 2008,10:36)
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


According to the Jepson Manual, and Munz (they don't always agree- understatement!), Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry.  Recall I have woven them together.  In the wild they are climbers, or small shubs if browsed.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Feb. 13 2008,17:15

Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 13 2008,13:58)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 13 2008,10:36)
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


According to the Jepson Manual, and Munz (they don't always agree- understatement!), Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry.  Recall I have woven them together.  In the wild they are climbers, or small shubs if browsed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That explains it. I do not know the species but it is in the same genus as the one I know, which is a small shrub with off-white, greenish flowers. The flowers did strike me as being like those of fuchsia. I had no idea that Ribes flowers could be so conspicuous.
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on Feb. 13 2008,19:18

You guys!

When I look out the winder I keep it simple. You got your birds. You got your bugs. You got your cats, dogs, other four-leggity critters. You got your worms. You got your people. You got your bunnies. I thought that about covered it.

But the other day I was pissing out back when this thing jumped out of my chest. Anybody know the species?


Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 13 2008,21:36

The images from Aliens are basic wasp or beetle larva.

For example, these from my front yard;


Posted by: ck1 on Feb. 13 2008,21:59

Suburban location near a stream and park.  We have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, racoons, black snakes, box turtles, and a family of beavers.  

But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 14 2008,14:23

My field ornithology class this morning saw relatively few birds, but they did see some that are relatively uncommon here. These included Purple Finches (nice flock of about a dozen) and a Loggerhead Shrike. This latter species has become quite scarce in the northern part of its winter range in recent years; it has been almost a decade since we saw one on the Manhattan Christmas Bird Census, for example.

The complete checklist can be found < here. >
Posted by: rhmc on Feb. 14 2008,18:21

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


are you from a part of the world that considers "road kill" to be manna from heaven?

i once got into a discussion about whether or not eating road kill was moral but how long could it lay on the road before it was not really edible.  :)

we decided if it was still twitchin', it was worth grillin'.

only in the south, eh?
Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 14 2008,22:27

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



road kill deer would be perfectly OK if you avoided the meat with massive bleeding.  (Oh, and if you like deer meat).  I'd rather bleed it out myself.

I had road kill mountain lion once- a bit like pork, but very dry.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 21 2008,15:06

The intrepid students in the KSU Field Ornithology class braved snow and sub-zero wind chill temperatures today, but were rewarded with some nice bird sightings. The highlight was a Barred Owl; the entire checklist is < here. >

We're all hoping for warmer weather and a lengthier checklist next week...


Posted by: EoRaptor013 on Feb. 21 2008,16:03

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
Suburban location near a stream and park.  We have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, racoons, black snakes, box turtles, and a family of beavers.  

But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sounds like New Joisey. I was born and raised out West; moved to NJ back in '93 (in a covered wagon, up hill both ways, by crackey!) These mangy varmints they call deer out here are a real nuisance. Did, however, see an albino once. It was cool except for what it said about predator depletion and likely over-population too.

The one fantastic/disappointing experience I had was driving back West with my son a couple of years ago (he goes to school in Olympia, WA). We stopped in Yellowstone, in the middle of Elk rutting season. The bull elk were magnificent in appearance but I couldn't believe their rutting calls! Nothing that big and regal should have a call like a cranky 6 mo. old baby!

Saw the rest of the big five while we were there: bison (hard to miss - they're all over the place), prong horn, moose (in the Tetons), a single Griz.
Posted by: EoRaptor013 on Feb. 21 2008,16:20

Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 22 2008,08:29

Earlier in this wildlife thread, I mentioned that I rarely carry my camera out back with me.  This morning was one such occasion I wish I did.  Oh, well. But what happened does raise an interesting animal behavior question that I thought someone here might be able to answer.

I have three large dogs, who accompany me out to the barn in the morning when I throw hay to the horses.  They usually explore the properties to the north or west of me while I go about my morning chores.  This morning was no exception. However, one of my dogs (who is scared of everything) came running back barking her fool head off, with her dorsal hair standing straight up.  That generally isn't a good sign.  So I ran in the direction she came from and, after crossing onto my neighbors property, found my other two dogs facing off with two coyotes.

Now this is where it gets strange.  Very quickly, the coyotes caught sight of me and ran off, with my dogs in pursuit.  But from what I saw of the "incident" and the subsequent chase, there was no signs of aggressiveness in either my dogs or the coyotes.  My Aussie was barking alot, but there was no growling or teeth being bared.  If I didn't know they were coyotes, I would have sworn it was two pairs of friendly, but unfamiliar dogs, checking each other out.  Is that even possible or am I over-analyzing what I saw?
Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 22 2008,12:33

Quote (EoRaptor013 @ Feb. 21 2008,14:20)
Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I recall reading this many years ago.  In 1973, I was a student at UC Irvine just a few miles from Lion Country Safari- Orange County not San Diego.  As I recall the story, it was a volkswagon that was sat on.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Feb. 22 2008,13:10

Okay, enough with the pitiful HOMO stories of your Rock Doves, House Sparrows, and Starlings. :angry:

Just got back from the eastern Sierras. There I saw a Townsend's Solitaire, a White-Headed Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadees, Black-Billed Magpies (the western limit of their range; 50 miles west over the mountains it's Yellow-bills), and Dark-Eyed Juncos (which I still think of as Oregon Juncos). Probably would have been more, but there's two feet of snow on the ground there. Got to hear coyotes yelping frenziedly around dusk, too.

For some reason the Feather River Canyon was full of a ginormous number of Shovelers. The Central Valley had the usual array of YB Magpies, Acorn Woodpeckers, White-Tailed Kites (my personal fave), Cooper's Hawks, Kestrels, and about eight dozen Red-Tail Hawks, which seem to be about as numerous as all the other Buteos put together for some reason.

Okay, back to your "I saw some sparrows in my back yard I think", ladies. :angry:

(Except for Albatrossity. I tip my bird nerd cap in his direction, now and always.)
Posted by: improvius on Feb. 22 2008,14:27

We have a wide range of customers at our backyard feeders.  Currently we have:

Dark-eyed Juncos (slate form)
Black-capped Chickadees
Tufted Titmice
House Finches
Northern Cardinals
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpeckers
Goldfinches
White-breasted Nuthatches
House Sparrows

At other (warmer) times we have had:

Bluejays
Indigo Buntings
Wild Turkeys
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
Red-breasted Nuthatches


Though they are dull little birds, I have a certain affinity for the juncos.  Maybe I just feel sorry for them because they don't seem to be built correctly for perching on feeders.  I'm hoping we get the buntings again this summer - I had no idea what the hell they were when we first saw them.

The coolest thing we've seen was definitely the turkeys.  We had a "rafter" of maybe a dozen of them walking/hopping around the yard. I wasn't expecting them to perch, and was frankly surprised to see several of them them hop up onto our chain link fence.  One of them saw us and took off into a tree.  A very TALL tree.  The bird made a nearly vertical ascent that seemed to take forever.  Most birds make flying look easy.  But to the turkey, getting up to that branch was clearly a herculean effort.  Anyway, I just hope they didn't all get shot by hunters.  I'd love to see them again.

Oh yeah, and of course we have tons of deer all over the place.
Posted by: EoRaptor013 on Feb. 22 2008,18:09

Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 22 2008,13:33)
   
Quote (EoRaptor013 @ Feb. 21 2008,14:20)
Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I recall reading this many years ago.  In 1973, I was a student at UC Irvine just a few miles from Lion Country Safari- Orange County not San Diego.  As I recall the story, it was a volkswagon that was sat on.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep. That was us. We were at USC. Orange County... well, to us it was most of the way to San Diego. ;-)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 29 2008,09:01

The KSU Field Ornithology class visited the Cecil Best Birding Trail (in Manhattan's Northeast Community Park) yesterday morning. We got good looks at Brown Creepers and White-Crowned Sparrows, and the Red-winged Blackbirds and Western Meadowlarks were singing lustily. The most impressive aspect of the morning, however, was the numerous skeins of geese (both Canada and Snow), all very high and all heading north.

Today's checklist (as well as previous checklists from this year and previous years) can be found < here >.

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring. — Aldo Leopold.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------




(image by < Mark Chappell, > used with permission)
Posted by: Dr.GH on Mar. 02 2008,17:55

It is egg layers in the open air;



Here is a battered Mourning Cloak female;


Posted by: Dr.GH on April 09 2008,14:03

I was thinking about D'Tard's truck picture sporting a butterfly, and I thought to post a photo of wildlife growing on my truck.  I get the most kick out of the lichen:


Posted by: Nomad on April 09 2008,23:37

I traditionally have freaky nearly transparent white (ghostly white was how I always thought of them) spiders growing on my vehicles.  They seem to have stayed away from my latest car, I'm not really sure why.

I have no pictures, but you have to understand that I have a fairly strong fear of spiders bordering on phobia level.  They're small, fragile looking spiders.  The freaked me out not because they're big or dangerous but because they're spiders and because they had a tendency to appear without warning while I was trying to drive.  You think cell phones make for distracted drivers?  Try the time I had a spider rappelling down into my lap while I was driving.  I came close to pulling over to get rid of it.

I've gotten a little better since then, perhaps they've decided that they can't have as much fun torturing me anymore and have buggered off to find someone new to harass.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 09 2008,23:43

< Painters!!!!! >
Posted by: jeffox on April 13 2008,23:55

I saw my first barn swallows of the year today.
Posted by: skeptic on April 14 2008,15:57

Just this morning I watched a brilliant red cardinal right in the back yard.  He comes so frequently that the dogs let him stand right on the top of the dog house without a second glance.  I've even seen him pinch a bit of dog food from time to time.
Posted by: rhmc on April 14 2008,17:21

had a bald eagle soaring over the house friday afternoon.  

setting sun highlighting the white head, white tail, brown wings.

and i hope to view a bunch of seagoing crustaceans this weekend as i've deployed the crabtraps in the estuary.
Posted by: khan on April 14 2008,18:08

A Cooper's Hawk grabbed a bird (finch?) out of midair about 6 feet from my front window (near the bird feeder).  There's also a Northern Harrier that favors doves.
Posted by: Henry J on April 14 2008,22:58

Can deer eat cactus without hurting themselves on the spines? There's a patch of some kind of cactus near the parking lot where I live, and something has taken bites out of some of its flat oval shaped sections. The shape of the missing pieces suggests something with a fairly large mouth, maybe deer sized.

Henry
Posted by: Dr.GH on April 14 2008,23:19

Quote (rhmc @ April 14 2008,15:21)
had a bald eagle soaring over the house friday afternoon.  

setting sun highlighting the white head, white tail, brown wings.

and i hope to view a bunch of seagoing crustaceans this weekend as i've deployed the crabtraps in the estuary.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Baldies are really fun to watch grab fish.  Santa Catalina Island has 4(?) mated pairs.  Last years chicks are quite large and have already learned to hit on the sport fishing boats. We spilf a mackeral so that it stays on the surface and get a good view of the eagles taking the fish.  Last year we got to see an eagle nail a seagull which is the obverse of most of their interactions.  A half dozen or so gulls, or some of the island ravens will often harass an eagle until they are forced to perch.
Posted by: Dr.GH on April 14 2008,23:26

Quote (Henry J @ April 14 2008,20:58)
Can deer eat cactus without hurting themselves on the spines? There's a patch of some kind of cactus near the parking lot where I live, and something has taken bites out of some of its flat oval shaped sections. The shape of the missing pieces suggests something with a fairly large mouth, maybe deer sized.

Henry
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, I have seen them do it.  Cattle too, even with needles all over their faces.  I saw a photo of a steer with pads stuck to his face.

Coyotes are passionate for prickely pear fruit.  They get terribly spiked up, and even get diarrhea from the amount of fruit they eat- scat that are merely purple stained mucus and opuntia seeds.  

We have junkies, so I see there is no need to feel superior.
Posted by: J-Dog on April 15 2008,08:11

Couger in Chicago - Of course, the Police Department shot it.  

Link goes to the story and has some sad looking pictures.

< http://www.wbbm780.com/Cougar-Shot-In-Roscoe-Village/2001618 >
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 15 2008,08:30

I ain't no junkie so git yer paws off my superiority pal.  I have never even heard of a steer, with catcus pads in his lips or not, that could fiddle the Wildwood Flower.  now i can't swat flies with my tail but I don't want to anyhow.  on a related diminished triad...

1:Do cows prefer to experience their Opuntia eating full flavor, glochids and all, or is it just any way you can get it?

b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?

b5:Why does Paul Nelson still show up around here?
Posted by: Assassinator on April 15 2008,10:06

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD, Posted on April 15 2008,08:30 )
b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Do dogs care if they stink or not ;)
Anyway, you guys sure have some fascinating wildlife around there. It's just boring crap here in Holland, the little and plain birds (blackbirds, pigeons, several species of tits and unfortunatly not the interesting types of tits) we have here are mostly chased away by my 2 cats (who still occasionally catch one, picture on 1st page). The best I can spot here, are grey herons who occasionally fly over. They like my neighborhood (densly build quarter build like 12 years ago) because lots of people have small ponds in there backyards, thus fish. Also the nightly sky isn't that woopy, because I live 200 meters from a freeway. And still the area where I live would be labeled as "country-side".
Yay for Holland...
Posted by: Dr.GH on April 15 2008,11:39

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 15 2008,06:30)
b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I once had a dog that liked skunk spray.  Even when the skunk missed him, he would go for a good roll in it.  Otherwise he was normal.
Posted by: EyeNoU on April 15 2008,19:52

In South Texas, ranchers will burn the spines off prickly pear pads so the cattle can feed on it, especially in times of drought.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 17 2008,14:15

The KSU Field Ornithology class dodged the thunderstorms this morning and found some good birds. Shorebirds are coming through this part of the world right now, and we found American Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, and Spotted Sandpiper. We also found a few sparrows, a few ducks, and some terns and gulls.

The final < species list > was 48 species. Hopefully we will get better weather next week, but we did pretty well for a rainy and blustery day. (note - the American Avocet image at the linked checklist was NOT shot today)
Posted by: Richardthughes on April 17 2008,14:18

I was never a big biology fan at school, but one of the best lessons was definitely collecting a fixed amount of leaf litter and counting and classifying the species...
Posted by: J-Dog on April 17 2008,14:42

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 17 2008,14:15)
The KSU Field Ornithology class dodged the thunderstorms this morning and found some good birds. Shorebirds are coming through this part of the world right now, and we found American Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, and Spotted Sandpiper. We also found a few sparrows, a few ducks, and some terns and gulls.

The final < species list > was 48 species. Hopefully we will get better weather next week, but we did pretty well for a rainy and blustery day. (note - the American Avocet image at the linked checklist was NOT shot today)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hey - I just got a PM from FTK!  

She and her kids would like to know just exactly where those birds are located, and where the biggest concentration of prey , easy targets, birds might be located.*




* Just kidding, in case FTK gets outraged.  They don't need to know where the birds are located, they'll just call in an air-strike and do some saturation bombing.**

**Really, she didn't PM me.  But it sounds believable, right?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 17 2008,15:39

Quote (J-Dog @ April 17 2008,14:42)
Hey - I just got a PM from FTK!  

She and her kids would like to know just exactly where those birds are located, and where the biggest concentration of prey , easy targets, birds might be located.*




* Just kidding, in case FTK gets outraged.  They don't need to know where the birds are located, they'll just call in an air-strike and do some saturation bombing.**

**Really, she didn't PM me.  But it sounds believable, right?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bad J-Dog! Bad!

FtK's appreciation of the avifauna of Kansas has < advanced  significantly in recent weeks. >

On a lighter note, here's a < story about an Avocet rescue >, using a bird dog, from carlsonjok's area (well, not exactly, but it was within 100 miles or so).
Posted by: J-Dog on April 17 2008,15:52

If those are Canadian Geese that FTK's kids are harassing, they could be in BIG Trouble - they are a Federally protected species.  I'm thinking they could even be Expelled...

Rich might be interested in some of FTK's upcoming Prison Blog's, if there is a live feed.  I understand that this type of "docu-drama" has a niche market.  And by niche market I mean Adult Films - and I bet a single malt bottle of scotch that if FTK winds up in a Women's Prison Movie, it will gross more than Expelled.  

If it's "tastefully" done of course.
Posted by: dnmlthr on April 17 2008,18:08

Guess the type of area that I live in...

We have:
- Rats of all shapes and sizes, with some really big ones every now and then
- Rabbits AKA rats with big ears
- Pigeons AKA rats with wings
- Too few dogs and definitely too few cats
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 17 2008,18:12

yeah J-D the niche market for people who like "nasty people who are willfully hooked on stupid and have disgusting bodies (butter faces) and lame personalities anyway having uninspired protected sex like inuits doing it only no invoking the deity" I'm sure pays well.  millionaires and stuff.

-rolls eyes, queefs-

-throws up in beard just a little bit at thought of the sad scene-

-changes channel-

for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  I have been watching that asparagus for 8-9 months waiting for today.  I have found 60+ morels in two days.  there just aint no ramps around here.  i blame it on the sevier family, and with good reason.

Also, wild phlox, wild geraniums, some bloodroot (still), some spring beauties (still), yesterday a host of bellwort (theyre nice), trillium luteum everywhere that is worth being, solomons seal up and big, so is zig zag, trout lilies done already, some asters i don't know that were in deep forest, still lots of violets in the woods, may apples blooming (there stand my wan soldiers), hexastylis and little brown jugs are both blooming, turkey mustard blooming, several others i didn't know.  not much wildlife.  saw a couple nice bass finning around in a hole under the river bank this morning.  my eyes are to the ground.

dnmlthr  what kind of place is that?  we have too many cats.  it is debatable though because there is too much privet.
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 17 2008,18:22

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 17 2008,19:55

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 17 2008,18:22)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


what are you, an inuit?

poke has been up for a couple of weeks here in the valley.  some of it is damn near too big to eat.  that is if you care what they say about it.

i knew an old indian that ate the berries like a bear.  said it didn't hurt the bears, wouldn't hurt him.  he was pretty old.  might be true.  white people tell me it is pizen.
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 17 2008,20:05

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,19:55)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 17 2008,18:22)
 
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


what are you, an inuit?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okie.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------

poke has been up for a couple of weeks here in the valley.  some of it is damn near too big to eat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The only thing that has really taken off so far is the rye and henbit.  I don't really start seeing any poke until July or later.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 19 2008,19:08

It was a stunning spring morning here on the edge of the Great Plains, so I hauled the camera and the binoculars out to a local birding spot. I got some pictures of a few migrants and a few residents, which can be seen < here. >

Enjoy!
Posted by: nuytsia on April 19 2008,20:54

Those are some really nice shots of great birds Albie.
I particularly like the 2nd yellow rumped warbler shot.

I found this on my living room window earlier this week.
< >
I love moths but they're such b4st4rds to identify.
This might be Syneora mundifera but IANAL* so it could be something totally bloody different. :-(

I picked up this a few days later at a friends house.
< >
No idea what it is but  I assume it's another Geometridae.


* I am not a lepidopterist - in a perfect world this phrase would be used more often. :angry:
Posted by: k.e.. on April 20 2008,04:57

I don't have a photo and it wasn't in the backyard, that only has boring Australian parrots anyway...this was in my kitchen.

A mouse ran around the counter top and thought the toaster would be a good place to hide.......
Posted by: Duvenoy on April 20 2008,09:09

I live in a rural area and my winter bird feeders usually have:
goldfinch
titmouse
redpolls
eastern nuthatch
eastern chickadee
junkos (who the hell names these things, anyway?)
hairy woodpecker
golden fronted woodpecker
mourning dove
boat tailed grackle
carolina sparrow
cardinals
bluejays
grey squirrels, one of which was a rehab and is still pretty tame.
a couple of optomistic but seldom lucky cats, mine and a neighbor's.
and some other stuff that slips my mind at the moment.

My feeders are made from small, galvenized garbage cans and hold someting like 15# of black oil seed each.

Beyond the feeders, I'm not all that intense a bird watcher. This time of year, I'm usually herping, and later on it'll be bug watching. Having finally gotten a decent camera, I hope to finally get some photos worth keeping.

I have a house (of sorts) 'possum that visits through the cat flap and hustles handouts. He's also a damned good mouser.

doov
Posted by: Quidam on April 20 2008,10:15

< >
Photographed: Pine Marten, Deer, Black bear, dinosaurs.

Sighted but not photographed: Elk, moose, cougar, skunk, various raptors, woodpeckers, etc.

And an infinite supply of squirrels
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 20 2008,12:03

Part of the crop gathered this morning.


Posted by: dnmlthr on April 20 2008,13:13

Erasmus: Let's just say that by swedish standards it's an urban area. However, I came back from a week in New York a week ago, so it has a certain rural charm about it that I didn't notice two weeks ago.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 20 2008,15:20

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 20 2008,12:03)
Part of the crop gathered this morning.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


NICE

I am up to 114 morels this year.  I got fresh wild asparagus and poke sallet again thursday and we had pasta.  Friday we took about 30 giant yeller ones like you got there and Sweet Thing made a chip dip with sauteed mushrooms and i don't know what all, fake crab meat, artichoke hearts, who knows. yum.

my neighbor just walked across the street and said do you know what this thing is?  it was a giant yellow.  he didn't know what it was.  i'm going to see if there are any more.
Posted by: Dr.GH on April 20 2008,16:51

These were from a project I worked on back in 1989.

Mommy Kitty (angry)



Boy Kitty (stoned)




We tagged these about 10 miles from the house.  Boy Kitty got his first radio collar and a tatt.  Mommy Kitty got a new battery for her collar.  They both got shots.  We used dirty stinky bandanas to cover their eyes so they would associate people stink with sore butts and headaches.  The anal probes were just rectal thermometers (we had to keep them cooled below 104 F, preferably <102 F).


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 20 2008,18:21

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 20 2008,15:20)
I am up to 114 morels this year.  I got fresh wild asparagus and poke sallet again thursday and we had pasta.  Friday we took about 30 giant yeller ones like you got there and Sweet Thing made a chip dip with sauteed mushrooms and i don't know what all, fake crab meat, artichoke hearts, who knows. yum.

my neighbor just walked across the street and said do you know what this thing is?  it was a giant yellow.  he didn't know what it was.  i'm going to see if there are any more.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


But this can't be true. FtK says that you have no morals :D

We probably harvested 70-80 morels this morning; it is just the first day here, as far as I can tell (previous trips to the same spots yielded zilch). So I am looking forward to lots more, if I can get away from work over the next few days.

We also found lots of the false morels (Gyromitra sp.), like this one



We're not going to eat those...
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on April 20 2008,18:38

So, evidently you are operating under a morel code!











Sorry. I'll get my coat.
Posted by: Henry J on April 20 2008,19:00



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
So, evidently you are operating under a morel code!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Well, at least he's a fun gi.

:p

Henry
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 20 2008,21:51

albie that is great.  how long does your season last?  the gyromitras were up in the first of the month in my neighbors yard.  he found a giant yellow one there in the same place yesterday.

Sweet Thang, Littlun and I found 32 more this evening.  Most were weird shaped yellows that I am fairly sure have just emerged.  a few yellows but no bigguns.  we only looked for an hour or so, this is a patch i've already got 50 out of or so last week.  it rained yesterday so i will be looking here again.  

I swear I'm going to get some pictures up.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 21 2008,07:12

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 20 2008,21:51)
albie that is great.  how long does your season last?  the gyromitras were up in the first of the month in my neighbors yard.  he found a giant yellow one there in the same place yesterday.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Our morel seasons here are incredibly variable, since the weather in the spring can be incredibly variable here. Two years ago it was so dry in the winter and spring that there were no morels, or at least we found none, and I heard no positive reports from anyone else. Last year we got the first batch, then a ridiculous cold snap hit (temps in the teens for three days in a row), and there were no more after that. In 2004 (the best year I remember) the season lasted a couple of weeks; we had a good combination of rains and warm nights. We gathered and dried enough mushrooms that we only finished off the last of that batch in mid 2007.

I'm hopeful that this will be more like 2004!

Maybe FtK is partially right. I have a morel code, but it changes from year to year...
Posted by: jeffox on April 22 2008,22:31

I saw my first chipping sparrow of the year today!  Still no fungi yet, though.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 23 2008,07:21

I'm up to 160 for the year, the last four a buddy gave me.  last friday one of my patches was invaded by the homeless and there are Scott blossoms in my fishin hole.  some old drunks, said he was a 'plumber, by trade'.  I knew something was wrong when I walked in and saw a cat sitting in the woods looking at me.  Then another.  wtf.  then a truck parked in the bushes.  then two old drunks.  then some more cats.  then a bunch of shit strowed around the woods.  then a mushroom.

there were a few there.  they didn't know what they were and i told them there was a poisonous lookalike that would kill you and the person next to you.  jeff where are you that the funguseses ain't amongusus ye?
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 23 2008,07:50

Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.
Posted by: k.e.. on April 23 2008,07:56

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:50)
Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds* doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


They had feathers right?

*Bird is English slang for female
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 23 2008,08:08

Quote (k.e.. @ April 23 2008,08:56)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:50)
Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds* doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


They had feathers right?

*Bird is English slang for female
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When we were kids, bird was our word for penis.

But yeah, they were the feathered kind of Mockingbird.
Posted by: jeffox on April 23 2008,20:57

Erasmus, FCD did ask:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

jeff where are you that the funguseses ain't amongusus ye?

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



And, to answer, I currently live in Oak Lair, (not it's real name :)) Wisconsin.  I was born & raised & lived most of my life in Minnesota, however.  

Just to let you all know, there is still snow on the ground in a few isolated spots in town here.  

I'm currently attending UWEC as a nontraditional student (I'm 46) studying for a geology major.  (I hear it pays well :)).

Fun thread, spring is short here; and I find it an especially fun time to birdwatch - I'll keep you all posted on the stuff I see.

Thanks for asking!
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 23 2008,21:48

Today a colleague was going to treat us to (Canada) goose for lunch but as just a few have arrived so far he was only able to get one which we divided amongst us. The flavour was good but from the part-leg I had I think it must have walked here.

At the weekend I saw the first rusty blackbird, a grey heron (we are at about the northern limit of their range) and a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes. The ravens seem to be paired up and are doing aerobatics. A colleague saw two bald eagles feeding on road kill the previous weekend but so far I've not seen any.

The lakes are still mainly ice-covered but most of the snow has gone. In a melting snow-bank at the edge of town I saw what looked distinctly like wolf droppings (large, more hair than anything else).  The pussy willow is out, the trees are changing colour as the buds expand and there are a few tiny green shoots showing here and there.
Posted by: J-Dog on April 24 2008,18:49

Quote (Richard Simons @ April 23 2008,21:48)
Today a colleague was going to treat us to (Canada) goose for lunch but as just a few have arrived so far he was only able to get one which we divided amongst us. The flavour was good but from the part-leg I had I think it must have walked here.

At the weekend I saw the first rusty blackbird, a grey heron (we are at about the northern limit of their range) and a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes. The ravens seem to be paired up and are doing aerobatics. A colleague saw two bald eagles feeding on road kill the previous weekend but so far I've not seen any.

The lakes are still mainly ice-covered but most of the snow has gone. In a melting snow-bank at the edge of town I saw what looked distinctly like wolf droppings (large, more hair than anything else).  The pussy willow is out, the trees are changing colour as the buds expand and there are a few tiny green shoots showing here and there.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Please visit Chicago, where there are @ 1,000,000 Canadian Geese that you can eat.  All they do here is eat and shit, usually all over my kid's sports fields.

Maybe FTK and her kids can stop by and help.
Posted by: hereoisreal on April 24 2008,20:26



ALBINO PEACOCK
 A friend sent me this picture of the
rare bird.  Kinda looks like a snow flake.
As I was scanning this, I heard one calling near my home.

Zero
Posted by: nuytsia on April 28 2008,16:26

Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week
< >
This is the Tasmanian Giant Velvet Worm (Tasmanipatus barretti), a monster of almost 75mm!!!111
This is a rather rare species only occuring in an area of 600 square km up in the north east of Tasmania. Luckily for me I was out with a friend who knew exactly the kind of habitat to look in.

Here's a shot that gives a better sense of scale
< >
After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 28 2008,17:07

Quote (nuytsia @ April 28 2008,16:26)
Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week

---snip----

After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That is wicked cool! On my sole trip to the Southern Hemisphere I looked for these guys, but didn't find any. Congrats!

My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.
Posted by: J-Dog on April 28 2008,20:47

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,17:07)
Quote (nuytsia @ April 28 2008,16:26)
Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week

---snip----

After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That is wicked cool! On my sole trip to the Southern Hemisphere I looked for these guys, but didn't find any. Congrats!

My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You need the New LePage Brand Bird Feeder.  They'll never fly away before you get your camera again.

Posted by: carlsonjok on April 28 2008,21:03

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,17:07)
My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey. The poor thing was having a hard time getting altitude and did a faceplant into a wire mesh fence. Dog almost caught it before it took off again, this time parallel to the fence, and hightailed it into a juniper tree.  I looked where it came from and found it a nest with 13 eggs in it.  I'm not sure how long they have been there, so I'll need to keep an eye out to see when they hatch.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 28 2008,21:08

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 28 2008,21:03)
While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's a pretty impressive dog.  How did you train it to fill in gopher tunnels?  :p
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 28 2008,22:17

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,21:08)
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 28 2008,21:03)
While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's a pretty impressive dog.  How did you train it to fill in gopher tunnels?  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Simple.  I told them that I wasn't going to feed them for free.  If they wanted to eat, they needed to work.  They were so intent on survival that they evolved opposable thumbs. Praise Darwin!
Posted by: Henry J on April 28 2008,22:40

All these critters being described here make the local rabbits and deer seem boring... Cute, yes, but maybe nothing to write home about (so to speak).

Henry
Posted by: Dr.GH on April 28 2008,23:14

Well, I have had some other sphinx moths today, mostly white lined.  The most cool visitor was a downey woodpecker.  If you are in an area where they are common, they might not be a big deal.  Here they are rare so I get a kick out of seeing them.

The english sparrows have wiped-out the mourning cloak caterpillars.  We had several painted lady butterflies this morning.  I watched a 12 spot lady beetle emerge.  Sorry I forgot pictures (I tried on the woodpecker, but they were cummy).

I went fishing at Santa Catalina Island today (about 10 species of fish cuaght) and saw quite a number of gulls, terns, cormerants, shearwaters, pelicans etc...  Also a bald eagle. Sea Lions were all over the place as usual. Just outside Dana Point harbor we saw a blue whale.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 29 2008,14:19

Got a call that there was a bee swarm near one of our buildings this afternoon, so I went to see it. It was pretty cool, and a decent size swarm, as you can see.



We contacted the extension entomologist to see if anyone wanted to collect it (it is worth about $80-100 to a beekeeper). That question was answered in the affirmative, and so we helped collect them. That is a very high-tech process, involving a cardboard box and a couple of people shaking the branch to dislodge the bees, allowing the swarm (hopefully containing the queen) to drop into the box.



A chemistry prof (not shown) who is an amateur beekeeper was the lucky recipient. As the old English rhyme goes:

   A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
   A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
   A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

We also found the parent hive from which this swarm originated; it is in a hollow branch of an oak tree about 30-40 feet from where this swarm was found. Maybe we'll get to find another one next spring!
Posted by: Assassinator on April 30 2008,12:25

Question: how the hell do you keep those bees in the box, and isn't such a hive way to heavy for a cardboard box like that?
Anyway, 2 days ago I saw a pretty nice bird, wich I've never seen here before. I didn't take a picture, because I was just on my way back from school, but I think it was this one:

The Eurasian Nuthatch, mainly because it was spurting down up and down the trunk of a tree so smoothly. But I could be wrong ofcourse, I'm far from a connaiseur ;-)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 30 2008,13:24

Quote (Assassinator @ April 30 2008,12:25)
Question: how the hell do you keep those bees in the box, and isn't such a hive way to heavy for a cardboard box like that?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The bees stay in the box as long as the queen is there. It was really interesting; the bee guys knew that they had captured the queen because immediately some of the worker bees positioned themselves around the vent at the top of the box, and started fanning their wings rapidly, to keep the temperature in the box comfy enough for a queen.



And it is not a permanent home, but merely a transport device to get them to a regular wooden new hive/home. I'd imagine that the whole swarm weighed under a kilogram, so the box could easily hold them.

Nice bird, BTW.
Posted by: Nomad on May 02 2008,00:59

Well look who I caught in the act:


This cute little guy (or girl, I have no idea on the gender) has been living in the attic above my bedroom for years.  The truth is the roof needs to be repaired, there's a gap on the side with plenty of room for inquisitive wildlife to enter.  All attempts to keep him from climbing up to the roof have failed, it appears he's shimmying up the drainpipes.  The drainpipes now have a spiked collar around them, but somehow he climbs up in spite of them.

At least he's been penned in, most of the attic is blocked off by a wire mesh fence.  So instead of a luxury suite he's limited to a sort of studio apartment.

It was fascinating to catch him up there (that's the lower level of the roof just above the front door).  Once he saw me he seemed to be about to climb back up that drainpipe, but then he thought better of it and curled up in the corner, it's like he decided to out wait me.  It was evening and he was headed out, but clearly wasn't interested in hopping down with me out there.  He stayed put long enough for me to bring my camera and tripod (it was getting dark fast, the exposure on this shot was 3.2 seconds) and take as many pictures as I wanted.

Eventually I went inside and watched from a front door window as he climbed down via a tree, demonstrating fairly impressive dexterity.  I tended to think raccoons were a bit less limber than that, they seem too heavy to gently lower themselves down onto the end of a branch while supporting their weight on their front legs (on the end of the branch, not a very large surface).

I'm hoping that this encounter will deter him, but I kind of doubt it.  I'm sure he knows he's living above humans, finally seeing one can't be that scary.
Posted by: J-Dog on May 02 2008,09:26

That is a cute little bugger - and he looks a lot more intelligent than those pictures of Nein Stein in shorts...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 02 2008,11:56

It's been hectic here as we near the end of the semester, but I finally got around to posting the checklist of birds seen by the KSU Field Ornithology class yesterday. Here is < the list > (49 species), along with an interesting story about our encounter with a black rat snake.

Enjoy!
Posted by: rhmc on May 03 2008,21:26

was southeast of savannah today for a "derby" party.
wandering the grounds we saw a 4' black snake (probably a racer but didn't see the white chin), brown pelicans and a flight of wood storks.
some bottle nose dolphins cruised up the creek.
beautiful day.  mostly cloudy, 15kt winds, around 80f.
Posted by: Richard Simons on May 04 2008,00:28

Assassinator:
The European nuthatch is fairly common, especially around old deciduous, rough-barked trees like oak. They are the only bird that habitually goes head-first down tree trunks and under large branches. Usually you hear them first - their call has been described as like fairy trumpets. And yes, they are attractive, especially as they can be more stongly-coloured than the one in the photo.
Posted by: jeffox on May 04 2008,01:24

I got out of town today on a geology field trip.  I saw numerous vultures at the landfill we visited, one marsh hawk later, and one common merganser.  Oh, and a good ol' sloughpumper (great blue heron).  

The day started out very cool and drizzly but the sun came out by mid-afternoon for a nice day.  Still too cool here for most fungi.

I hope e1 had as nice a day as I did.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 04 2008,17:01

It was cold last night, with a north wind, which should keep some of the northbound migrants grounded for an evening. So I ventured out this morning to see what I could see, bird-wise. There were lots of migrants, but some of the best views I had were of some of our regular summer breeding birds. These included this male Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)



and this female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)


Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on May 05 2008,06:42

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 29 2008,15:19)
Got a call that there was a bee swarm near one of our buildings this afternoon, so I went to see it. It was pretty cool, and a decent size swarm, as you can see.



We contacted the extension entomologist to see if anyone wanted to collect it (it is worth about $80-100 to a beekeeper). That question was answered in the affirmative, and so we helped collect them. That is a very high-tech process, involving a cardboard box and a couple of people shaking the branch to dislodge the bees, allowing the swarm (hopefully containing the queen) to drop into the box.



A chemistry prof (not shown) who is an amateur beekeeper was the lucky recipient. As the old English rhyme goes:

   A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
   A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
   A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

We also found the parent hive from which this swarm originated; it is in a hollow branch of an oak tree about 30-40 feet from where this swarm was found. Maybe we'll get to find another one next spring!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had a very similar experience 15 years ago. I returned from work one cool spring evening to find a large swarm nestled under one of the eves of my house. We called an exterminator, but they suggested bee keepers. An elderly couple arrived with a box and a broom. They climbed out a window onto the porch roof below the eve, dislodged the swarm with the broom and it dropped into the box.

Plop.

I was amazed.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 08 2008,15:42

On our last field trip for the semester, the KSU Field Ornithology class found 68 species on a calm, bright, and pleasant morning. The highlights included good looks at American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, Orchard Orioles, and a Green Heron. The entire checklist can be seen < here >.

This is a fun class to teach, but unfortunately only 3 of the 7 enrolled students managed to get out of bed in time to come to class today, and it was the nicest day of the semester, both in terms of the birds seen and in terms of the weather...
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 10 2008,14:28

I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a < Catbird > alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.
Posted by: carlsonjok on May 10 2008,15:14

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,14:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a < Catbird > alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I just spent an hour and a half rescuing a baby barn swallow out of my barn loft.  The swallows like to build nests in the rafters of the lower level of my barn. I normally tear them down immediately, but they managed to put a nest in a new location and by the time I discovered it, there were already chicks in it. Those chicks are now learning to fly and one managed to find its way into the loft. I opened the loft doors and gave the little fella some time, but he never managed to fly out.  So I grabbed a towel and captured the little fella and took him down to ground level where his sibling was hopping around.  They have both now disappeared, so I assume my rescue was successful.

I have dubbed the episode "another chapter in the book why animal lovers shouldn't live in the country."
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on May 10 2008,15:34

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,12:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a < Catbird > alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


While we sadly don't have Catbirds out in the West Coast, I've always thought Mockingbirds were even better for that. When I was a kid there was a nesting pair in my back yard for several years. The male used to attack cats during the nesting season, and he had a song that he basically sang all day for 6 months of the year. In peak summer you'd hear it all night, even at 2-3am. The song took about 3-4 minutes to 'recite' in full and was so consistent that after a few years I actually knew what notes were coming up next.
Posted by: stevestory on May 10 2008,15:53

Just moved back to Carrboro. Nice little garden out back. Mint, basil, rosemary, tomatoes, etc. Only wildlife to report around here are lots of deer.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 10 2008,16:04

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 10 2008,16:34)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,12:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a < Catbird > alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


While we sadly don't have Catbirds out in the West Coast, I've always thought Mockingbirds were even better for that. When I was a kid there was a nesting pair in my back yard for several years. The male used to attack cats during the nesting season, and he had a song that he basically sang all day for 6 months of the year. In peak summer you'd hear it all night, even at 2-3am. The song took about 3-4 minutes to 'recite' in full and was so consistent that after a few years I actually knew what notes were coming up next.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I get regular visits from mockingbirds as well, though for whatever reason it seems like the catbirds, the robins, and the red-bellied woodpeckers are the most frequent "serenaders" in my yard.  (I don't guess that's the best word for the woodpecker's call, but whatever.)

I have a line of azaleas about 30' long and 5' tall across the back fence, and there's always some very pretty music emanating from the depths of that, but even with 10X50 binoculars from the window, it's usually not possible to see exactly who's making it.  Sometimes I can recognize the songs, sometimes I can figure it out from the Cornell site, but a lot of times I can't, so I just sit and listen.

There's a Catbird (the same one as earlier maybe? - the song is definitely different but similar) out there letting it rip now, in fact, accompanied by a Cardinal and someone else who just seems to be "peep"ing (that might be another Cardinal, but I can't locate the exact source).  There's a Blue Jay in the background, further away somewhere, and some other bird I haven't heard before just joined them.

The latest guest sounds like a Cardinal's peep 8 or 9 times in a row in quick succession, like a machine gun.  Almost a trill, but not quite.  'bout the same pitch as a Cardinal, too, but I've never heard a Cardinal do that before.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 10 2008,16:29

My bird adventure of the day was an excursion to try to photograph a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), aka the "Golden Swamp-warbler"). These are rare and local around here, but there are at least a couple of pairs at a local campground, so I headed out before the thunderstorms hit this afternoon. I got lucky.



In keeping with the FtK theme that science=religion, I should also note that the name of this bird derives from its bright yellow color, which is the same yellow as the color of the robes of < papal officials > known as "prothonotaries apostolic". These high ranking monsignors were (and still are) keepers of the papal documents.

In keeping with the FtK and Wee Willy Wallace theme that science=atheism, I should also note that the Prothonotary Warbler figured prominently in the HUAC investigation of < Alger Hiss >, an accused communist whose prosecution initiated the rise of the political career of Richard Milhous Nixon.

But sometimes a bird is just a bird.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 10 2008,16:48

That is an amazing shot.
Posted by: stevestory on May 10 2008,16:58

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )
Posted by: khan on May 10 2008,19:17

I live in a small house on a small lot (~50' x 100').  Electric wires run across the back of the property.

Observed: a cardinal on a wire singing; another cardinal on a wire ~50 or so feet along, singing;  first cardinal walks sideways on the wire and resumes singing; second cardinal responds; first cardinal walks sideways a bit more and resumes singing...
Posted by: jeffox on May 10 2008,22:26

Finally got some fungi up here in WI.  Coprinus Micaceous (sp.) in copious amounts on and around an ash tree stump near my apartment.

Keep in mind, we've only had one day all year in the 70-80 F range, so far.  Today was mid-60s F.
Posted by: nuytsia on May 10 2008,23:34

Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2008,08:58)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well speaking as someone who has a telephoto lens (not a swanky one, mind) I'd be bloody chuffed with that shot. :p

That's a great shot and a gorgeous bird.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 11 2008,07:10

Quote (nuytsia @ May 10 2008,23:34)
 
Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2008,08:58)
     
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well speaking as someone who has a telephoto lens (not a swanky one, mind) I'd be bloody chuffed with that shot. :p

That's a great shot and a gorgeous bird.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks.

The lens is a 100-400 mm telephoto zoom (Canon). To most folks, that upper end (400 mm, or about 8X in telescope terminology) seems plenty powerful enough for shots of small birds. But it's not; warbler-size birds have to get really close (4-5 m) before you can get a decent shot. And they don't get that close very often... People who do small bird photography for a living often use a 500 mm lens and a 1.4 tele-extender to get an effective focal length of 700 mm. The rest of us just have to wait for the odd bird to pop up close enough.

So yeah, I was bloody chuffed when I got home and saw those pics on my computer screen. Thank goodness for (nearly) instant gratification!
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on May 11 2008,11:08

Indeed, the fact that's also a rather scarce (and gorgeous) species of bird makes it even better. Even the big mosquito in his mouth is a delightful touch.

Do you take requests? How about a Bachman's Warbler next?  :p
Posted by: khan on May 11 2008,12:03

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 11 2008,12:08)
Indeed, the fact that's also a rather scarce (and gorgeous) species of bird makes it even better. Even the big mosquito in his mouth is a delightful touch.

Do you take requests? How about a Bachman's Warbler next?  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....nesbury >



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Dick Davenport - Lacey's longtime friend later married. An avid bird watcher of endangered bird species. Died in a controversial 1986 strip asking God to take a picture of a bachman's warbler.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Dr.GH on May 15 2008,16:30



Today's shot of a Mourning Cloak laying eggs
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 18 2008,06:56

The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.
Posted by: Zachriel on May 18 2008,09:49

From Ben Bova's Jovian Travelogue,



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Huge balloonlike creatures called Clarke's Medusas drift in the hurricane-like winds surging across the planet. Birds that have never seen land, living out their entire lives aloft. Gossamer spider-kites that trap microscopic spores. Particles of long-chain carbon molecules that form in the clouds and sift downward, toward the global ocean below.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



< >

(Sometimes, if you're patient, Earthling spaceships can be seen flying by!)

< >
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on May 18 2008,16:12

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2008,04:56)
The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's an amazing coincidence, since I saw my first Pileated woodpecker this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday.

Staying in cabins in the Santa Cruz mountains, I was sort of half-dozing at about 7am when I heard a loud "BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK" that sounded really close by. I sleepily got up to see what kind of bird it was, not expecting much, when I looked thru the front window of the cabin, and the big guy was no more than 10 feet in front of me. He was alternating between running up and down an oak tree and picking for food inside a fire pit in the campsite. All in all he gave me a nice, 6 minute long look at him.

Then this morning he reappeared at the same time and did exactly the same thing, for about 3 minutes. Also I kept hearing his hammering all morning. Now I know what they sound like.

I know this isn't a big deal for folks in the Eastern US, but Pileateds are *not* common in California. After 25+ years of birding in Calif., it's the first one I've seen. I had no idea they had them in Santa Cruz County -- it appears to be on the extreme southern tip of their West Coast range.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 18 2008,17:16

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 18 2008,17:12)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2008,04:56)
The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's an amazing coincidence, since I saw my first Pileated woodpecker this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday.

Staying in cabins in the Santa Cruz mountains, I was sort of half-dozing at about 7am when I heard a loud "BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK" that sounded really close by. I sleepily got up to see what kind of bird it was, not expecting much, when I looked thru the front window of the cabin, and the big guy was no more than 10 feet in front of me. He was alternating between running up and down an oak tree and picking for food inside a fire pit in the campsite. All in all he gave me a nice, 6 minute long look at him.

Then this morning he reappeared at the same time and did exactly the same thing, for about 3 minutes. Also I kept hearing his hammering all morning. Now I know what they sound like.

I know this isn't a big deal for folks in the Eastern US, but Pileateds are *not* common in California. After 25+ years of birding in Calif., it's the first one I've seen. I had no idea they had them in Santa Cruz County -- it appears to be on the extreme southern tip of their West Coast range.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Funny, 'cause I'd never seen one until I moved here.  Of course, I never really paid a great deal of attention before that, I don't think.

If I happened to notice a blue jay, it was worth noting to someone later in the day.

"Hey, I saw a blue jay earlier."
"Doesn't take much to impress you, does it?"
"But he was right there in the yard!"
"You're an idiot."
"I saw a Cardinal, too."
"I'm gonna go watch paint dry."
"Hey they're pretty rare!"
"No, Cardinals are pretty common."
"This one had lasers for eyes."


Posted by: ashwken on May 20 2008,13:35

Tales from North Georgia

Some years ago my mother had a hanging basket of fuchia on the porch in front of a picture window. Even though there we many of us sitting on the porch one afternoon a determined hummingbird was not threatened by our presence.

Unfortunately, as the hummingbird worked its way around the hanging basket it got tangled up in a spider web that was present in a portion of the picture window. The spider web "glued" some of the wing feathers together and effectively grounded it.

The task fell to me to rescue the little fella and we tried a wet wash cloth on the webbing to no avail - and I was real concerned about aplying too much pressure to its wings, the thing seemed so fragile in the palm of my hand.

Abandoning the wet wash cloth I just started removing the webbing with my fingers. At some point the hummingbird felt that it had had enough of this nonsense and tried flying off, but there was still enough webbing to prevent it from flying and it just fluttered to the floor.

Eventually I was able to remove enough webbing so that it was able to take flight.

On another occassion, we have a row of dogwoods along the back property line and I had laid out some bird seed on the ground between a couple of them. After awhile some of the larger ground feeding birds found the seed and as I was watching a beautiful male cardinal, there was a flash of brown and white feathers as a hawk swooped in and carried that cardinal off into the woods for lunch.
Posted by: Assassinator on May 20 2008,17:23



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The task fell to me to rescue the little fella and we tried a wet wash cloth on the webbing to no avail - and I was real concerned about aplying too much pressure to its wings, the thing seemed so fragile in the palm of my hand.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Then I can say again, poor spider, deprived from his food ;)
Posted by: keiths on May 25 2008,00:14

Check out < this amazing video > taken off the coast of Japan of a flying fish that remains aloft for 45(!) seconds.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 25 2008,06:23

I'm gonna be off the grid for about 10 days, camping and hiking and photographing in the lovely states of Arizona and New Mexico. Hopefully I'll have some wildlife shots to share when I return; I only wish that this was my backyard!
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 25 2008,06:39

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 25 2008,07:23)
I'm gonna be off the grid for about 10 days, camping and hiking and photographing in the lovely states of Arizona and New Mexico. Hopefully I'll have some wildlife shots to share when I return; I only wish that this was my backyard!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'll be looking forward to those, Alby.
Posted by: Assassinator on May 25 2008,16:41

Can't wait as well. Ya know, you guys sure revived my love for the outdoors ;)
Anyway, maybe a funny little "wildlife" story to tell as well. Yesterday, at work, we had ourselfs a bird in the supermarket's storage. For some odd reason, all my co-workers were scared shitless from the little fella. I just found it a pretty nice experience to watch a bird up close, and his singing sounded even better! And because I was the only guy around (all my co-workers are girls, except for the boss who wasn't around) I was the one who could scare it away, and thus I got crap all over me (thanks girls!).
I think it was one of these:

A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure (1 of the reasons I would like a camara on my cellphone).
All in all another fun day at work, at least my newest co-workers who just had her first day has one to remember.
Posted by: Richard Simons on May 25 2008,20:54



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The male blackbird (which is the one that does the singing) is jet black with a bright yellow beak. The starling is chunkier with a dull beak but if you see it reasonably well you can see it is spotted, not uniform black and I would not describe its song as sweet. If it was brown, likely contenders are the thrushes but they are light underneath with obvious dark spots. They, like the blackbird, have clear, fluty songs.

The blackbird is the one that is most likely to be comfortable enough around people to enter a building (at least, in the UK). I remember one that used to come into a lunch room and pick up crumbs from under the tables while people were sitting there. When the janitor saw it he rushed at it, shouting and waving his arms. The bird would quickly fill its beak with everything within reach and casually fly out inches in front of him.
Posted by: EyeNoU on May 26 2008,06:56



Can anyone identify this fellow? Several of them joined us every morning for breakfast while in Costa Rica.
Posted by: fusilier on May 26 2008,08:24

Right now we've got cardinals, robins, grackles, and pigeons all over the place.  Lots of wrens and goldfinches at the feeder.  Don't know what's happened to the Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks that we used to see all the time - maybe that we had to eliminate the pond.*

We're also pretty over-run with carpenter bees - the big solitary ladies are damned territorial.



*Lousy quality-control on pumps.
Posted by: Assassinator on May 26 2008,09:51

Quote (Richard Simons @ May 25 2008,20:54)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The male blackbird (which is the one that does the singing) is jet black with a bright yellow beak. The starling is chunkier with a dull beak but if you see it reasonably well you can see it is spotted, not uniform black and I would not describe its song as sweet. If it was brown, likely contenders are the thrushes but they are light underneath with obvious dark spots. They, like the blackbird, have clear, fluty songs.

The blackbird is the one that is most likely to be comfortable enough around people to enter a building (at least, in the UK). I remember one that used to come into a lunch room and pick up crumbs from under the tables while people were sitting there. When the janitor saw it he rushed at it, shouting and waving his arms. The bird would quickly fill its beak with everything within reach and casually fly out inches in front of him.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmm yes then it was definatly not a female blackbird. I can only recall it was a slim bird who was totally brown, with a fluty song. It could be a European Starling, but I can't recall it being that spotted. The beak was also different, it had a darker color.
Posted by: midwifetoad on May 26 2008,17:14

Your bird looks a bit like a Magpie Jay.

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-throated_Magpie-jay >
Posted by: EyeNoU on May 26 2008,19:46

Thanks, Midwife. I believe you are correct. Saw them every morning at breakfast, and they didn't appear to be too afraid of humans.
Posted by: k.e.. on May 28 2008,09:19

Is it a bird or a moth?


From my recent rip to PNG










Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 30 2008,21:12

Nice Magpie Jay!  There is an interesting story about JJ Audubon and that species that will have to wait until later. We are temporarily back on the grid, in a hotel in Albuquerque NM, cleaned up from 5 days of sand and heat. Tomorrow we head to Chaco Canyon for a couple of days, then back home.

I'll post more pics later, but I really thought you all needed to see this one. Two nectar-feeding bats hitting the hummingbird feeder after sunset in Cave Creek Canyon, AZ. It appears that that one on the right is very pregnant...


Posted by: Lou FCD on May 30 2008,21:42

That right there's pretty damned nifty.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 31 2008,09:01

A bit of googling revealed that the bats we observed were probably Mexican Long-tongued Bats (Choeronycteris mexicana), and furthermore revealed that their tongues can be up to one-third of their body length. More information on the Portal AZ population of these critters can be found < here. >

Here's another image, of a Blue-throated Hummingbird, also from Cave Creek Canyon AZ.


Posted by: Bob O'H on June 03 2008,13:42

I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I < have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony >.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.
Posted by: Richardthughes on June 03 2008,14:01

Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I < have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony >.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.
Posted by: carlsonjok on June 03 2008,14:16

Quote (Richardthughes @ June 03 2008,14:01)
Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I < have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony >.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I always figured you were a furry.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on June 03 2008,22:16

what the heck is this thing?




weird looking critter.  and the file is too big too.
Posted by: k.e.. on June 04 2008,09:33

Quote (Richardthughes @ June 03 2008,22:01)
Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I < have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony >.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


YEAH WELL, I KNOW GUY WHO KNEW A GUY WHO HAD SEVEN. dT
Posted by: Moorit on June 06 2008,10:57

Erasmus, where was the plant located?  And if you say, "On the ground" or "Up to its sepals in leaf mold", I'll smack ya.  I like plants and I'd like to take a shot at identifying it.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 06 2008,17:04

To "honor" FtK's release from the BW birdcage of stench and moaning, I'll post the next image in the series of shots I collected in the American Southwest in the last couple of weeks.

Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus) - a local specialty species, sought by birders in the Chiricahua Mountains of SE Arizona. Carrying food to the nest, for the kids.



No piranhas in that part of the galaxy, alas.

I'll try to post one image a day for the next few weeks.
Posted by: Lou FCD on June 06 2008,17:18

You're such a tease.
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 07 2008,09:54

I snaped this yesterday just before some crows made him fly off with his prize.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on June 07 2008,09:59

Quote (Moorit @ June 06 2008,10:57)
Erasmus, where was the plant located?  And if you say, "On the ground" or "Up to its sepals in leaf mold", I'll smack ya.  I like plants and I'd like to take a shot at identifying it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Er, it was on the ground up to its sepals in leaf mold.  But all of that was in Jackson County, AL in the Walls of Jericho.  Cumberland Plateau.  There were several, this one was about 50 feet from a small spring head but I saw a few more on an old log skid trail.  Lots of red clay dirt high in silica.  Kalmia, Rhododendron, oak-hickory usual suspects.

hope that helps!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 07 2008,13:52

Today's image is another bird, the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), perched on an Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana). This is a really cool bird, with a complicated social system (hoards acorns in communal locations, juvenile birds from previous broods help raise the nestlings, etc.)


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 08 2008,18:12

Today's installment - a young mule-eared deer (Odocoileus hemionus), browsing near Sunny Flat, Cave Creek Canyon, AZ


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 10 2008,13:39

Here's another bat pic, showing the leafy flap at the end of the nose of these critters. More information (along with a nice portrait) on this species can be found < here >.

Of some interest to some folks on this list is the fact that this is one of the major pollinators for agave plants, the source of tequila. So the next time you enjoy a margarita, thank a bat!


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 11 2008,16:44

The image for today will be the last one from the Chiricahua section of the trip; I'll screen through the images from Chaco Canyon and the Gila River to see if some of those need to be posted tomorrow or thereafter.

This one is a lovely female Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). A common hummer in the southwest US, this was the most common hummer at our feeder in Cave Creek Canyon as well.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 12 2008,14:08

No wildlife today, but < here > are some pictures of the damage from the tornado that hit the KSU campus last evening. This is a shockwave file, so it may some time to load. When it loads, just click on the image to view the next slide.
Posted by: rhmc on June 13 2008,18:38

we've had a different looking feathered visitor in our garden.  took a few weeks to get close enough to intentify it but today we pegged it as a great crested flycatcher.  a first for us here on de island, mon.

berry cool.
Posted by: rhmc on June 16 2008,18:57

had an upclose look at a bottlenose dolphin on sunday.
he/she came up right at the stern of the boat and between the starboard gunnel and the outboard.
it would surface (inhale/exhale rapidly) and then drop down to about a 2 foot depth and remain practically motionless, letting the boat's pressure wave drag it along.
the fact that there was a stainless propeller spinning at 1200rmp 18 inches from it's head didn't seem to phase it a bit.  
it was close enought that you could have leaned over the transom and stuck a finger in it's blowhole if you'd been so foolishly inclined.
it hung with us for about a mile and then scooted off....

i've seen a lot of dolphin but never one that close to the boat.

we also managed a close encounter with 5 spotted sea trout and 4 redfish earlier in the day.
the redfish are only moments away from meeting a skillet.  blackened redfish.  :)
Posted by: Lou FCD on June 16 2008,19:42

Quote (rhmc @ June 16 2008,19:57)
had an upclose look at a bottlenose dolphin on sunday.
he/she came up right at the stern of the boat and between the starboard gunnel and the outboard.
it would surface (inhale/exhale rapidly) and then drop down to about a 2 foot depth and remain practically motionless, letting the boat's pressure wave drag it along.
the fact that there was a stainless propeller spinning at 1200rmp 18 inches from it's head didn't seem to phase it a bit.  
it was close enought that you could have leaned over the transom and stuck a finger in it's blowhole if you'd been so foolishly inclined.
it hung with us for about a mile and then scooted off....

i've seen a lot of dolphin but never one that close to the boat.

we also managed a close encounter with 5 spotted sea trout and 4 redfish earlier in the day.
the redfish are only moments away from meeting a skillet.  blackened redfish.  :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Pisces yummicus?
Posted by: rhmc on June 17 2008,19:14

Quote (Lou FCD @ June 16 2008,20:42)
Pisces yummicus?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


i dunno, i've never tried dolphin.  :)
Posted by: k.e.. on June 18 2008,07:32

I have .......the variety with two legs!

They have endless enery, are total pleasure seekers, don't know the meaning of let's rest, can drink you under a table, eat everything in sight, speak many foreign languages, eat a lot of fish,  are more comfortable in water, exquisite athletes, hold their breath for a long time, firm all over, incredibly playful, not in the least bit shy or afraid of danger and a diabolical sense of humor.

My kind of mammal!
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on June 18 2008,07:45

and when you get near their blow hole they start saying "ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh" and nailing you with their tail.
Posted by: k.e.. on June 18 2008,07:55

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ June 18 2008,15:45)
and when you get near their blow hole they start saying "ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh" and nailing you with their tail.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I knew you wouldn't surface too far away.

I'm off for a nailing.
Posted by: k.e.. on June 18 2008,09:24

Sorry 'ras I was remarking on a Solomon Sea Dolphin and the Indian Ocean Porpoise my Solomoan Sea Dolphin is probably doing this right now.

< The faithful mammal >
Posted by: rhmc on June 20 2008,20:04

for anyone in the neigborhood:

beach seining, south end of tybee island (eastern terminus of highway u.s. 80), saturday morn, 6/21.
dawn - or shortly thereafter.

you'll see stuff you never knew lived that close to land.

hopefully, lots of it will be edible.  :)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 02 2008,17:45

I'm a bit late in reporting on this, but last Sunday I ran the Olsburg BBS (< Breeding Bird Survey >) route, (38-318 in the BBS database), and ended up with 69 species. This is a bit lower than in recent years; I found 77 species in 2003 and again last year.

I wanted to run it the weekend before, but the Black Vermilion River was out of its banks and a chunk of the road, about 200 ft across, was under water. So I had to wait until it dried out.

There were a couple of highlights. I added one species when I found a singing male Scarlet Tanager on Shannon Creek Road. Despite the lateness of the season, the Shannon Creek Bald Eagles were still there, thankfully. I also saw (and heard) a Song Sparrow. That was the second time I have found that species on the route; I found two Song Sparrows in 2006 in the same general area of that route. I also saw a hen Greater Prairie-chicken and 8 young-uns crossing the road at one stop. And before you ask, no, I don't have any idea why the chickens crossed the road... I had a record number of Dickcissels (111, previous high was 91 in 2006), and a record number of Cliff Swallows (131, previous high was 96, also in 2006). A lovely male Dickcissel is pictured below.

Misses included Loggerhead Shrike (not seen on this route since 2002), Red-headed Woodpecker, Black-billed Cuckoo, and Bell's Vireo.

The most interesting aspect of this year's count was a bird I hoped to see. On my scouting run up there on Saturday, I found a road-killed male Bobolink, near the Black Vermilion Marsh. It was very flat, and embedded with gravel, so I didn't bother to bring it back to KSU for the collection, but it was definitely a Bobolink. Unfortunately I found no Bobolinks there, or along the rest of the route, on Sunday...

I think that these wet years along the Blue River allow some more northerly birds like Bobolinks and Song Sparrows to trickle down here from Nebraska.


Posted by: Dr.GH on July 02 2008,17:52

great photos. Tell us the camera and lens details.  

I have had a Nuttels woodpecker visiting for 2 days now which is very fun.  They are rare here, and then mostly winter migrants. Climate change?

The sharpshinned hawk is still around too.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 02 2008,20:55

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 02 2008,17:52)
great photos. Tell us the camera and lens details.  

I have had a Nuttels woodpecker visiting for 2 days now which is very fun.  They are rare here, and then mostly winter migrants. Climate change?

The sharpshinned hawk is still around too.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. That dickcissel in the picture was a bird we just banded, and my daughter was holding him. You can't see her hands, but that allowed me to use a very sharp lens (Canon 100 mm macro) on a Canon EOS 30D body.

I'd love to get a good pic of a Nuttall's Woodpecker. When I lived in California I didn't have the equipment to do that, and now that I do, I find that those birds don't make it to the Great Plains very often...
Posted by: carlsonjok on July 18 2008,14:32

I need some help from the resident birders here. Last night, my wife and I were standing on our front yard observing a hawk perched ontop of one of our blackjack trees.  He was mostly brownish in color, but had a white head.  I've looked around some and couldn't identify what it was?  Any pointers to a better site where I can look?

What was really fascinating is that we have about three pairs of barn swallows nesting in our barn and the little suckers actually ganged up on that hawk and chased it off.  They are nasty little buggers.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 18 2008,14:40

Just got back from several days on an island in the Puget sound. We got abnormally beautiful, sunny weather that gave us a totally misguided notion of what the area is really like. Then on the last day, the other shoe dropped and it was totally overcast and gray.

Anyway, only two new birds -- several Bald Eagles, and a bajillion Northwestern Crows. I also saw a Pigeon Guillemot while out boating, but I've seen them before.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 18 2008,15:02

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 18 2008,14:32)
I need some help from the resident birders here. Last night, my wife and I were standing on our front yard observing a hawk perched ontop of one of our blackjack trees.  He was mostly brownish in color, but had a white head.  I've looked around some and couldn't identify what it was?  Any pointers to a better site where I can look?

What was really fascinating is that we have about three pairs of barn swallows nesting in our barn and the little suckers actually ganged up on that hawk and chased it off.  They are nasty little buggers.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What size was it? If it was a regular buteo sized bird, it was likely a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). If you look in a standard bird book you will find a picture of a standard red-tailed hawk; the only problem with that is that you probably will never see one that looks exactly like the one in the book. They are among the most variably-plumaged birds on the planet. From < here >  

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Due to its extreme variability though, the Red-tailed Hawk can be very difficult to identify.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Here's one with a white head.


Posted by: jeffox on July 19 2008,00:42

I walked over to a city park in town here, yesterday.  I saw a pair of downy woodpeckers and one hairy.  I also saw a guy at the dock catch 3 nice smallmouth bass while I was there.  Nice outing, but I had to come in because it started raining.
Posted by: Alan Fox on July 19 2008,05:03



Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 19 2008,06:52

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks more like a dobson fly, alder fly, or caddis fly. Which makes sense since these insects have aquatic larvae, and might be found under a pool cover.

Here's an image of a dobson fly larva



You might see what kinds of Neuroptera are found in your vicinity and then you should be able to get closer to a specific ID.
Posted by: fusilier on July 19 2008,10:09

We're getting some new, small, birds at the feeder and sunflowers.

I'm pretty sure that one variety is a scarlet tanager - and we've never seen them before, in Indianapolis.  Then there are some new chickadee/finch-sized birds - is there a black-capped chickadee found in the midwest?

Tons of gold-finches and assorted small warblers.

The cats are fascinated.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 19 2008,10:38

Quote (fusilier @ July 19 2008,10:09)
We're getting some new, small, birds at the feeder and sunflowers.

I'm pretty sure that one variety is a scarlet tanager - and we've never seen them before, in Indianapolis.  Then there are some new chickadee/finch-sized birds - is there a black-capped chickadee found in the midwest?

Tons of gold-finches and assorted small warblers.

The cats are fascinated.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Maybe, except that Scarlet Tanagers don't eat seeds. If you had one at a seed feeder, it would be highly unusual. How large is it? A bit bigger than the Goldfinches?

How about House Finch?



I think Carolina Chickadees are more likely in Indy, according to this < range map >. But the dividing line between Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees is fairly fluid, and that is a relatively old map. The other pages at that USGS website linked above will help you distinguish between the two species; it is a bit tricky but it is possible if you get good looks.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 19 2008,11:01

Hey, Alby, I just spotted your work < here! >

Those are hard to find -- my sister's been in southern AZ for 8 years and still hasn't managed to see one.
Posted by: Alan Fox on July 19 2008,11:12



Thanks for your suggestions, Dave. It does look very similar to the < image > above, described as Larva of Chrysoperla carnea or perhaps C. mediterranea feeding on an aphid. But there does seem to be a difference in scale as the thing I saw was about 70 - 80mm long, while the C. mediterranea in the Wiki photo must be smaller unless it is eating a giant aphid.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 19 2008,11:15

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2008,11:01)
Hey, Alby, I just spotted your work < here! >

Those are hard to find -- my sister's been in southern AZ for 8 years and still hasn't managed to see one.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, I've got a bunch of pictures scattered across that USGS website. I wish that they would update it; in many cases I have better images now for some of those species! But, as is typical in this administration, education and outreach re wildlife has little support, budgetary or otherwise.

Trogons are not hard to see if you are in the right place. We were camping at Sunny Flat in the Cave Creek area this May, and there was a pair of trogons that visited our campground. Here's the male



and the female



Tell your sister that she just needs to camp out at Sunny Flat for a day or two!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 19 2008,11:18

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,11:12)
But there does seem to be a difference in scale as the thing I saw was about 70 - 80mm long, while the C. mediterranea in the Wiki photo must be smaller unless it is eating a giant aphid.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I don't know about your Mediterranean species, but I have seen adult dobson flies here that were easily 3 inches long. So I wouldn't worry about the size of the thing; they can get pretty big!
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 19 2008,11:24

I'll pass that on!

Southern Arizona is really interesting for birding. My sister took me to the ONE park in the state where you're guaranteed to see Gray Hawks and I saw one flying about 20 feet over my head within 2 minutes of getting out of the car. There's only a dozen or so breeding pairs in the state, I'm told, and that's where they are. But I also saw some other birds far more easily than she found them. Stopping in Tumacacari for soft drinks, I instantly saw a Zone-Tailed Hawk. My sister was very irked since she said it took her a year of birding and deliberate searching to see one. But on the other hand I was out there for 5 days with NO Roadrunners, even tho they're not rare. My sister was baffled -- usually they're all over. It was starting to look like I'd have to leave without seeing one, til finally one ran in front of me in the parking lot of the Sonora Desert Museum, of all places. (Nice place, BTW -- if only for the fact that it's the only way you're ever gonna see Thick-Billed Parrots in Arizona.)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 19 2008,11:36

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2008,11:24)
I'll pass that on!

Southern Arizona is really interesting for birding. My sister took me to the ONE park in the state where you're guaranteed to see Gray Hawks and I saw one flying about 20 feet over my head within 2 minutes of getting out of the car. There's only a dozen or so breeding pairs in the state, I'm told, and that's where they are. But I also saw some other birds far more easily than she found them. Stopping in Tumacacari for soft drinks, I instantly saw a Zone-Tailed Hawk. My sister was very irked since she said it took her a year of birding and deliberate searching to see one. But on the other hand I was out there for 5 days with NO Roadrunners, even tho they're not rare. My sister was baffled -- usually they're all over. It was starting to look like I'd have to leave without seeing one, til finally one ran in front of me in the parking lot of the Sonora Desert Museum, of all places. (Nice place, BTW -- if only for the fact that it's the only way you're ever gonna see Thick-Billed Parrots in Arizona.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Zone-tailed Hawks are a nemesis bird for lots of birders, so you are lucky. In my experience NM is better than AZ for seeing that one.

I have a similar story about birding luck in AZ. My youngest daughter was not quite 4 the first time we took her camping there. We were with a large group birding along the San Pedro BLM land near Sierra Vista (great place if you haven't been there). We saw lots of birds, including my lifer Botteri's Sparrow. But the target species was the Green Kingfisher, and we hadn't seen one as we were heading back to the parking lot. Naturally, since I was shepherding a four-year old and her 6 year old brother, I was bringing up the rear with the kids.

As we headed down the path toward the parking lot, Ellen stopped and said "I think that's the kingfisher". Sure enough, it was a gorgeous Green Kingfisher, sitting in full sunlight over the river about 30 yards away. We called the group back so that everyone could see it!

She hasn't quit birding since then; she's a lot better ear birder than I am, for sure!

This will be my last message for a while. I'm headed to Scotland in a few hours, hopefully to meet up with Louis sometime in August and plot the next conquests of the evil Darwinist Empire. Or maybe we'll just have a beer and haggis...
Posted by: Dr.GH on July 19 2008,11:39

Yesterday’s fishing disadventure turned into a $250 marine mammal cruise. The conditions were perfect with the only problem a full moon. But the marine layer was very thick, and when I went on deck at 11PM, and 3AM, it was very dark. We set out lines at ~ 4:30 and the next 6 hours saw nothing but lots of water. We started fishing about 65 miles SSW of San Diego in an area that was holding fish. There were about 10 purse seiners in the area, two of them had deployed their nets. We worked a temperature break between the outer NW swell ~66F, and the south dominated inner water ~70F. The marine layer stayed solid all day. Clean water, 10 to 15 knot NW winds, plenty of flying fish. Everything was perfect- except no tuna. About 12 Noon, a tiny albacore committed suicide on a trolling feather. We let the youngest kid on-board reel it in. This was the sixth time I have not caught tuna on a targeted trip. (Sea Horse, Cherokee Geisha, Sea Horse, Admiral, Doctors Orders, and now the Pacific Star) Two trips went into gales with high seas, one I had been sick and stayed in my bunk. The trip on the Cherokee Geisha was the weirdest- people who couldn’t tie on their own hooks caught tuna but I couldn’t even get a bite.

But, we did see several pods of Dall’s porpoise who put on some great aerial displays as well as some their larger cousins, the common porpoise. The first whales we saw were two finback calves and an adult (?) mother. The adult was ~70 feet long, the light colored calves ~20-30. About 20 miles south of San Diego, just north of the Coronado Islands, we started seeing blue whales. In all we saw 7, one solo, a pair, and a quartet.


Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 19 2008,11:53

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 19 2008,09:36)
This will be my last message for a while. I'm headed to Scotland in a few hours, hopefully to meet up with Louis sometime in August and plot the next conquests of the evil Darwinist Empire. Or maybe we'll just have a beer and haggis...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Be sure and report back on that. I think we're all curious to know if Louis is as physically repulsive as he's rumo(u)red to be.  ;)
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on July 19 2008,12:24

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


i don't think they are aquatic, and they are definitely not megaloptera (dobsonflies or their ilk).

i'd say probably a beetle larvae but my inordinate fondness for beetles does not cover the terrestrial forms.  the size tends to rule out Neuroptera.  there are some structural differences between the first pic and the lacewing larvae, or whatever it was that was a few posts below.

are their fleshy prolegs along the abdomen?  what does the posterior end of the abdomen look like?  hooks?
Posted by: fusilier on July 20 2008,11:49

Thanks for the ID's!

Definitely a house finch or three.  The pale red color extends over most of the animal, just like the photo.

Also, probably a Carolina chickadee.  The black head and black throat separated by the white band is also clear.
Posted by: J-Dog on July 20 2008,14:58

This Just IN!

I had never heard of this, but noticed a Dragonfly Swarm last night out front of our house.

A little google indicates that dragonfly swarms ( @50)are not unknown, but not all that common either.

The Designer Must Work In Mysterious Ways.

I have a movie, .mov file extension, but my pc ineptitude does not allow me to link or post to it.  The pics I took are too small to be useful.

If you have hints on How To Do It, and of course, if you are interested in it, let me know.
Posted by: carlsonjok on July 20 2008,17:19

A little wildlife from around my property.  I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.



This photo of a coyote pup isn't real good resolution as I took the photo from about 80-100 yards away and had to zoom in and resize some.


Posted by: J-Dog on July 20 2008,19:13

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 20 2008,17:19)
A little wildlife from around my property.  I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.



This photo of a coyote pup isn't real good resolution as I took the photo from about 80-100 yards away and had to zoom in and resize some.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think your coyote saw your first photo and said "Mmmmm! Breakfast!"
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 21 2008,03:18

Wildlife report from near Tyndrum, Scotland. (in no particular order)

Red deer
some kind of lemming or vole
Chaffinch
Wren (known as the Winter Wren in the US)
Magpie
Pied Wagtail
House Martin
Barn Swallow
European Robin
Rook
Herring Gull
Osprey!
Linnet
Coal Tit

and probably a few more that I can't recall right now (jet lag). I got some pics of the Chaffinch and the Wren (including young un's), but will wait til I get back to edit those. Today we head to the Isle of Lewis, so I should get some seabirds for the list.
Posted by: fusilier on July 21 2008,07:42

Quote (J-Dog @ July 20 2008,15:58)
This Just IN!

I had never heard of this, but noticed a Dragonfly Swarm last night out front of our house.

A little google indicates that dragonfly swarms ( @50)are not unknown, but not all that common either.
{snip}
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


yeah, ain't they amazing?

We had one in front of our house, maybe ten years ago.  We sit at the corner of three streets - in an ordinary subdivision - and they were just soaring up and diving down for over two hours.  It started late afternoon and just went on and on and on til dusk.  Just about twilight, a flock of swifts arrived and the display was over in minutes.
Posted by: khan on July 21 2008,18:16

Once, 20 or more years ago, the Monarch butterfly migration came through my street (SW Ohio).  Thousands of them settling into the trees for the night.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 22 2008,09:41

Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

Greylag goose
Grey Heron
Merlin
Eurasian Curlew
European Oystercatcher
Northern Lapwing
Common Buzzard
Corn Bunting
Twite
Meadow Pipit
Corncrake!!! (walked across the road in front of us)
Greater Skua
Whooper Swan (pair with 6 cygnets)
Grey Seal
Carrion Crow
Snipe
Posted by: J-Dog on July 22 2008,11:15

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 22 2008,09:41)
Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

Greylag goose
Grey Heron
Merlin
Eurasian Curlew
European Oystercatcher
Northern Lapwing
Common Buzzard
Corn Bunting
Twite
Meadow Pipit
Corncrake!!! (walked across the road in front of us)
Greater Skua
Whooper Swan (pair with 6 cygnets)
Grey Seal
Carrion Crow
Snipe
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't forget to tell us about the weather, and the food!

(Unless you just listed the menu at the Scottish Arms Hotel?)

Just kidding! :)
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on July 22 2008,11:42



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Rusty and I could fix that if you wanted.


Posted by: carlsonjok on July 22 2008,11:53

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 22 2008,11:42)
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------

I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Rusty and I could fix that if you wanted.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


LOL.  You'd have to work your way through about a half-dozen nasty little barn swallows that didn't appear too afraid of a hawk that landed on one of my blackjacks last week.

Actually, I haven't seen the rabbits in a number of days.  Their "disappearance" seems to coincide with both Mike Gene's bowing out over at TT and the appearance of a coyote in my backyard recently.  So, they may have been eaten, or perhaps they have been called to MG's secret lair to prepare for the inevitable war on the monolithic Darwinian priesthood.


Posted by: dvunkannon on July 22 2008,14:03

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 22 2008,10:41)
Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

snip
Carrion Crow
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I saw a hooded crow on Castle Hill in Budapest about two weeks ago. Given that King Matthias was the Raven King, I thought it highly appropriate. Bird was too smart for me to catch a picture of, almost made me drop my camera as I tried to follow it.
Posted by: jeffox on July 22 2008,14:08

CarlsonJOK wrote:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Actually, I haven't seen the rabbits in a number of days.  Their "disappearance" seems to coincide with both Mike Gene's bowing out over at TT and the appearance of a coyote in my backyard recently.  So, they may have been eaten, or perhaps they have been called to MG's secret lair to prepare for the inevitable war on the monolithic Darwinian priesthood.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------



It's that darn holy hand grenade of Antioch!

:)   :)   :)   :)   :)
Posted by: Henry J on July 22 2008,20:55

This < thread on another bb > has a right interesting youtube (but I'm not sure how to post one of those directly).

Henry
Posted by: Alan Fox on July 23 2008,12:01

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 19 2008,07:24)
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


i don't think they are aquatic, and they are definitely not megaloptera (dobsonflies or their ilk).

i'd say probably a beetle larvae but my inordinate fondness for beetles does not cover the terrestrial forms.  the size tends to rule out Neuroptera.  there are some structural differences between the first pic and the lacewing larvae, or whatever it was that was a few posts below.

are their fleshy prolegs along the abdomen?  what does the posterior end of the abdomen look like?  hooks?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hi Erasmus

Only just spotted your reply, for which many thanks. You are right in that they are not aquatic. If they had come from the pool they would have been bleached. Also I don't think we get dobsonflies or fishflies in Europe.

I am sorry to report that my friend did not keep the specimens, so I can only report what I remember from looking at them around Easter. I saw six walking legs towards the front of the body, don't remember obvious prolegs or abdominal hooks.

I'll try googling coleopteran larvae.
Posted by: nuytsia on July 24 2008,21:52

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 23 2008,04:01)
 
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 19 2008,07:24)
   
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



---------------------QUOTE-------------------


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ooops I missed this as well.

This < gentlemens flickr set > might prove useful.

I wonder if it's a Lycidae beetle larvae.

I found something rather similar a while ago and haven't been able to pin it down either
< >
but I think it's probably Lycidae as well?
Posted by: Alan Fox on July 27 2008,10:13

Thanks Nuytsia.

There is an abandoned orchard next to my friend's property which is carpeted in dead and decomposing wood, and lycid beetles seem quite evident around. But they tend to be on a much smaller scale, perhaps 20mm. What scale are the larvae in your photos? They do seem very similar in general appearance.
Posted by: Jkrebs on July 27 2008,10:56

Taken in my backyard in more-or-less the center of Lawrence, KS.  The doe and two fawns have been around all summer, and this is my best picture.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on July 27 2008,20:37

oddly enough the other day i was helping some local folks with identifying some specimens they had collected during biological monitoring of streams near some surface coal mining activity (National Coal Corporation is peopled by incompetent douchebags) and a grad student had a jar of critters with (what appeared to be) this exact same larvae.  No label of course (and he calls himself an entomologist... actually no he calls himself a herpetologist perhaps he has Total Recall and forgoes the label) and I didn't yank the critters out of the jar.  

But it sure did tickle me to death.  Coincidence?  I think not.  O, synchronicity, thou cruel mistress.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 27 2008,21:21

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 27 2008,18:37)
oddly enough the other day i was helping some local folks with identifying some specimens they had collected during biological monitoring of streams near some surface coal mining activity (National Coal Corporation is peopled by incompetent douchebags) and a grad student had a jar of critters with (what appeared to be) this exact same larvae.  No label of course (and he calls himself an entomologist... actually no he calls himself a herpetologist perhaps he has Total Recall and forgoes the label) and I didn't yank the critters out of the jar.  

But it sure did tickle me to death.  Coincidence?  I think not.  O, synchronicity, thou cruel mistress.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oh sure. And I assume it's just an accident that this happened right after Altenberg. What are you trying to hide, Erasmus?  :angry:
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 27 2008,21:28

Down to the Carquinez Straits, saw several of these:



And a pair of these:



Only one of these, but he flew real low over us and gave us a great view:



And about 1.5 bajillion of these:



None of these were new to my list, but it was cool anyway.
Posted by: nuytsia on July 28 2008,03:52

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 27 2008,02:13)
Thanks Nuytsia.

There is an abandoned orchard next to my friend's property which is carpeted in dead and decomposing wood, and lycid beetles seem quite evident around. But they tend to be on a much smaller scale, perhaps 20mm. What scale are the larvae in your photos? They do seem very similar in general appearance.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hi Alan,

Goodness hard to recall really but I think around 40mm.

The curious thing about this larvae was it was actually found in Eucalypt foliage harvested from a low branch of a tree. Not in keeping with the general description of this famiy but I'm assuming there are, as ever, exceptions?

It had a single pseudopodium at the base of the abdomen. The abdomen contracted and expanded to aid movement.
Posted by: nuytsia on July 28 2008,04:57

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 27 2008,13:28)
Down to the Carquinez Straits, saw several of these:
(snip)
None of these were new to my list, but it was cool anyway.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a very cool day Arden!

I < popped over to Canberra > a fortnight ago to visit friends and had a very nice time.

Saw my third wild platypus and got my first ever shots!
< >
Not brilliant, I know, but I was rather chuffed.

Saw the usual Kookaburra
< >
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Galahs, Crested Pigeons, an inordinate amount of Aussie Magpies and Magpie Larks (don't get these in Tassie).
Also saw Wedge-tailed Eagle, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Emu, Darters (Anhinga), Cormorants and some snow. :-)

Also got my first really good look at Common Myna
< >
which are an introduced pest species to mainland Australia. Thankfully they've not got into Tassie.
Posted by: dhogaza on July 29 2008,12:14

Well, walking from my girlfriend's flat, out towards the Royal Preserve that surrounds the palace at El Pardo (Madrid area), saw a short-toed eagle today.  Very cool.

But it was soaring overhead and I didn't see its short toes.  Oh well.

It was carrying something fairly large and furry in its mouth, and young rabbits are quite noticable in the area, I'm guessing less noticable by a count of one as of this morning.  Perhaps its toes are so short it has to carry it's prey in its mouth!

The edge of the suburb where my girlfriend lives, Las Rozas, has open fields and slightly shrubby grassland, good raptor country.  Common buzzard, hen harrier (why, oh why, have I only seen the species that exists back home in north america?), red kite, eurasian kestrel ...

While hiking along the glorified stream (they call it a river) that the palace of El Pardo was built on, I've seen large kettles of griffon and a couple of spanish imperial eagles.

And each once while talking my morning bird walk outside Las Rozas.  And the other morning, while walking through the central plaza right in town, happened to look up as a griffon soared right overhead about 50 meters up.  Startled me.

The dickey birds on these morning walks aren't particularly special for Europe, i.e. serin, melodious warbler, goldfinch, house-but-never-spanish sparrow, crested lark, red-legged partridge, wood pigeon (never in the woods, though, except in the botanical garden next to El Prado, not to be confused with El Pardo), several other species I'm forgetting at the moment.  Oh, black redstart, that's a nice bird.

Not bad birding for 10km morning walks in a suburb in sight of downtown Madrid.
Posted by: Alan Fox on July 29 2008,13:29


The nearest I have got to a wild griffon vulture while hiking in the Cerdagne last month. There was a group of about half a dozen that seemed to come and check us out for a few minutes before moving on. Best I could do with a basic  digital.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on July 29 2008,17:58

A friend sent me the photo below of some sort of insects he found in his apple tree.  Anybody know what they are?


Posted by: nuytsia on July 30 2008,01:42

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ July 29 2008,09:58)
A friend sent me the photo below of some sort of insects he found in his apple tree.  Anybody know what they are?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Some sort of Hemiptera.
Look like < shieldbug larvae > to me?
< Wikipedia > page.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on July 30 2008,10:12

Quote (nuytsia @ July 30 2008,01:42)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ July 29 2008,09:58)
A friend sent me the photo below of some sort of insects he found in his apple tree.  Anybody know what they are?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Some sort of Hemiptera.
Look like < shieldbug larvae > to me?
< Wikipedia > page.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That looks like it.  Thanks!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 30 2008,16:30

We're back on the grid in Aberdeen, after a few days in the Highlands and a couple of days on Orkney. In regard to the latter, I wish we could stay another month!

Here are some shots of northern wildlife.

Northern Fulmar and chicks, Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides)



Northern Fulmar in flight (from the Orkney Ferry)



Common Eider ducklings (Orkney)



And Professor Steve Steve at the Butt of Lewis


Posted by: J-Dog on July 30 2008,17:47

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 30 2008,16:30)
And Professor Steve Steve at the Butt of Lewis


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That IS a Big Butt... but I thought it was spelled Louis?
Posted by: qetzal on July 30 2008,21:10

OK, I really don't have much of interest in my backyard these days. Am I allowed to indulge my inner geezer & reminisce?

We lived in southern Illinois for a year in junior high. There were probably 20 chipmunks living in the back yard. We'd hand-feed them peanuts; they got quite tame. We gave them all names and learned to recognize them on sight.

We had a great horned owl that nested in the woods behind us. I climbed an adjacent tree to see the chicks, and the female strafed me. Almost fell out of the tree.

There were also flying squirrels. We discovered them when we heard little chirps in the trees at night. At first, we couldn't see what was making the noise, but it didn't sound like a frog or cricket. Took a while before we saw the dark shapes gliding from tree to tree.

Best was the time we caught a coatimundi in the field across the street! Turns out it was an escaped pet from down the street, but still.

Those were the days, I tell you! (Get off my lawn!)

[/geezer]
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on July 30 2008,22:27



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Northern Fulmar and chicks, Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You saw Louis's butt?

I can understand why you didn't post pictures. You need satellite photos for something that big.
Posted by: bystander on July 31 2008,02:11

I'll have to grab a camera. The most common non-bird critters around our place are red bellied black snakes. Even though they are poisonous, they leave you alone unless you step on them. I always think that these guys are pretty cool and like to watch them until they disappear.

Blue Tongued lizards under scrap sheet metal (until the Dogs get to them).

We sometimes find  Echidna's curled up next to the house and in the mountain behind us there are Wallabys. There are a lot of Wombat holes around but we haven't seen one yet.

As for birds, Where I live is supposed to have the highest diversity of parrots in the world. Our favourite is the Black Cockatoo. Their call is not as raucous as the white Cockie.

Wes would like the Wedged Tailed Eagle. Another bird that is fascinating to watch, especially when the dive to grab a rabbit or lizard.
Posted by: dhogaza on July 31 2008,05:28

Wedge-tailed eagles are cool, one of the dozen or so raptors on my oz list from my three week visit there.  The Oz Aquila, closely related to the northern hemisphere's golden eagles and the (spanish or otherwise) imperial eagles of europe.

< This > was my favorite Australian raptor, though ...

Not sure where you are in Australia, but the parrot diversity is great.  I remember leaving the airport at Cairns, driving toward a place we were staying on the edge of a state forest as a base for a week of birding (cassowary male with chick on one of the dirt logging roads, how cool is that?).  We passed a very large plowed field full of white birds that back home, in winter, might've been mew gulls or the like.  Sulphur-crested cockatoos, a thousand or so of them, more than I've *ever* seen in a pet store in North America! :)

Black cockatoo are cool, won't disagree with you on that score.

Lorries, parrots, cockatoos ... nice.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on July 31 2008,11:38

My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
Posted by: nuytsia on July 31 2008,17:32

Quote (bystander @ July 30 2008,18:11)
(snip)

We sometimes find  Echidna's curled up next to the house and in the mountain behind us there are Wallabys. There are a lot of Wombat holes around but we haven't seen one yet.

As for birds, Where I live is supposed to have the highest diversity of parrots in the world. Our favourite is the Black Cockatoo. Their call is not as raucous as the white Cockie.

Wes would like the Wedged Tailed Eagle. Another bird that is fascinating to watch, especially when the dive to grab a rabbit or lizard.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bystander what part of Australia are you in?

Blue tongues are cool as are echidnas.
This was my very first echidna I saw in Tassie. :-)
< >

I also agree on the black cockies. Their call is just so eerily gorgeous. Here in Tassie they tend to be a mountain bird, but during the winter they come down into Hobart and strip the cones of the pine trees and ring bark the branches of elms.
All good fun! :-)

 
Quote (dhogaza @ July 30 2008,21:28)
(snip)
We passed a very large plowed field full of white birds that back home, in winter, might've been mew gulls or the like.  Sulphur-crested cockatoos, a thousand or so of them, more than I've *ever* seen in a pet store in North America! :)

Black cockatoo are cool, won't disagree with you on that score.

Lorries, parrots, cockatoos ... nice.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When I first got to Tassie I saw a field full of Sulphur crested Cockies and Forest Ravens. It was a most bizarre site.
According to my local guru, in Tassie you rarely see these birds feeding with any other species, but when you do it's almost always this combination. He reckons there's some kind of stand off between them.

Think my favourite parrot has to be the galah.
On my very first visit to Australia I spent an hour watching a flock in Kalbari play on a climbing frame and in the sand pit below (and I do mean play). It was the first time I'd really seen a bird expend so much energy doing bugger all.
It was fascinating!

Apparently the locals don't like them that much as they keep destroying the lawn and they killed the top of the Norfolk Island Pine in front of the police station.
I read a report that a flock of Galahs was observed to fly straight into a twister, apparently just for the hell of it.
Posted by: khan on July 31 2008,18:25

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ July 31 2008,12:38)
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I saw a Coopers grab a finch (sparrow?) out of mid air near the bird feeder.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 01 2008,08:42

Quote (khan @ July 31 2008,18:25)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ July 31 2008,12:38)
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I saw a Coopers grab a finch (sparrow?) out of mid air near the bird feeder.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


This could have been the case in my sighting as well. I saw the hawk swoop down, disappear behind a fence, and then come back up with the finch in its talons.  It went flew into a large evergreen tree nearby and although I couldn't see the hawk, I could see small feathers floating down from the tree.
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 01 2008,12:38



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Or sharpshinned hawk, which are considerably smaller.  They're easy to distinguish once you know how but ...

Cooper's hawk have much more robust legs.  The sharpshinned hawk gets its name from a prominent ridge on its "shin" (metatarsal), which gives it a bit more fore-and-aft rigidity, otherwise its legs are glorified toothpicks.

Cooper's hawks also have blockier heads due to longer feathers on the rear of the head, that they lift to make their head "look big" (and scary, I guess) when nervous/scared < see here >.

Sharpshinned hawks are more heavily streaked (though there's a great deal of variation in Cooper's hawks - I've banded literally thousands of north american accipiters).

If you've got a kid - a brown-backed bird with brown streaking on the breast - the plumage is going to be grown in and fresh (migration cometh soon).  A Cooper's hawk will show a distinct white terminal band.  A sharpshinned will normally show a greyish terminal band though quite white (but narrow) is not totally unknown.

With an adult bird at this time of year, it's hard to tell, their tail will be molting enthusiastically and the old feather that haven't dropped yet beat to shit (i.e. any white band likely to be worn off).  Sharpies are farther along in molt than Coops at this point (it's a size thing, male sharpies, the smallest, will be very far along now in august).

Far too much data, right?

Go find that hawk and look again!
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Aug. 01 2008,13:15

Quote (dhogaza @ Aug. 01 2008,12:38)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Or sharpshinned hawk, which are considerably smaller.  They're easy to distinguish once you know how but ...

Cooper's hawk have much more robust legs.  The sharpshinned hawk gets its name from a prominent ridge on its "shin" (metatarsal), which gives it a bit more fore-and-aft rigidity, otherwise its legs are glorified toothpicks.

Cooper's hawks also have blockier heads due to longer feathers on the rear of the head, that they lift to make their head "look big" (and scary, I guess) when nervous/scared < see here >.

Sharpshinned hawks are more heavily streaked (though there's a great deal of variation in Cooper's hawks - I've banded literally thousands of north american accipiters).

If you've got a kid - a brown-backed bird with brown streaking on the breast - the plumage is going to be grown in and fresh (migration cometh soon).  A Cooper's hawk will show a distinct white terminal band.  A sharpshinned will normally show a greyish terminal band though quite white (but narrow) is not totally unknown.

With an adult bird at this time of year, it's hard to tell, their tail will be molting enthusiastically and the old feather that haven't dropped yet beat to shit (i.e. any white band likely to be worn off).  Sharpies are farther along in molt than Coops at this point (it's a size thing, male sharpies, the smallest, will be very far along now in august).

Far too much data, right?

Go find that hawk and look again!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


which one tastes the best?
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 01 2008,13:43

Quote (dhogaza @ Aug. 01 2008,12:38)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Or sharpshinned hawk, which are considerably smaller.  They're easy to distinguish once you know how but ...

Cooper's hawk have much more robust legs.  The sharpshinned hawk gets its name from a prominent ridge on its "shin" (metatarsal), which gives it a bit more fore-and-aft rigidity, otherwise its legs are glorified toothpicks.

Cooper's hawks also have blockier heads due to longer feathers on the rear of the head, that they lift to make their head "look big" (and scary, I guess) when nervous/scared < see here >.

Sharpshinned hawks are more heavily streaked (though there's a great deal of variation in Cooper's hawks - I've banded literally thousands of north american accipiters).

If you've got a kid - a brown-backed bird with brown streaking on the breast - the plumage is going to be grown in and fresh (migration cometh soon).  A Cooper's hawk will show a distinct white terminal band.  A sharpshinned will normally show a greyish terminal band though quite white (but narrow) is not totally unknown.

With an adult bird at this time of year, it's hard to tell, their tail will be molting enthusiastically and the old feather that haven't dropped yet beat to shit (i.e. any white band likely to be worn off).  Sharpies are farther along in molt than Coops at this point (it's a size thing, male sharpies, the smallest, will be very far along now in august).

Far too much data, right?

Go find that hawk and look again!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks for all the information. I was guessing Cooper's based on size alone (and pictures/descriptions from Peterson's field guide); our bird seems a little larger than a big crow. The banding on the tail is clear.  It's making fairly frequent appearances now, so it shouldn't be long before I can get a good look. He was perched on the neighbor's TV antenna yesterday, but was gone by the time I'd gotten my binoculars out.
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 01 2008,14:20



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
which one tastes the best?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The chicken hawk, of course.

That's the cooper's hawk, honest!  Cooper's hawks have a fascination with pigeon-sized and chicken-sized birds that has to be seen to believed.  If one shows up outside a locked coop (nice pun) made of chicken wire so the birds are visible, a Coop will sit and stare forever.  And try to figure out how to get in.  "mmm ... all that food ... if I only had a brain I could figure out that door-like contraption and eat for hours!".

Jim - crow-sized+ points to not only Cooper's hawk, but a female one (they're larger than the males, in the western US typically 450-550 grams weight, eastern US a bit heavier).  And that broad band, yes, Coop.  A kid, I imagine (brown not grey-brown), if it's that obvious - an adult female, esp. one that laid this year, would be looking pretty ragged in the tail by now I should think (they start dropping flight feathers after they lay, males get an earlier start and their smaller feathers grow in faster, too).

So drop the "he" bit :)   Believe me, it's the female Cooper's hawk that has the mentality of an NFL linebacker, they're amazing - the boys are chickenshit chicken hawks by contrast.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 01 2008,16:56

Quote (dhogaza @ Aug. 01 2008,14:20)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
which one tastes the best?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The chicken hawk, of course.

That's the cooper's hawk, honest!  Cooper's hawks have a fascination with pigeon-sized and chicken-sized birds that has to be seen to believed.  If one shows up outside a locked coop (nice pun) made of chicken wire so the birds are visible, a Coop will sit and stare forever.  And try to figure out how to get in.  "mmm ... all that food ... if I only had a brain I could figure out that door-like contraption and eat for hours!".

Jim - crow-sized+ points to not only Cooper's hawk, but a female one (they're larger than the males, in the western US typically 450-550 grams weight, eastern US a bit heavier).  And that broad band, yes, Coop.  A kid, I imagine (brown not grey-brown), if it's that obvious - an adult female, esp. one that laid this year, would be looking pretty ragged in the tail by now I should think (they start dropping flight feathers after they lay, males get an earlier start and their smaller feathers grow in faster, too).

So drop the "he" bit :)   Believe me, it's the female Cooper's hawk that has the mentality of an NFL linebacker, they're amazing - the boys are chickenshit chicken hawks by contrast.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


SHE is very brown.  Just a little while ago I was walking the dog and she (or another one just like her) was standing in a neighbor's driveway, not much impressed with the presence of me or the dog, even though we were no more than 20 feet away. It was the first really good look I've had, and I think it's indeed a Cooper's.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Aug. 01 2008,17:53

A Cooper's hawk figured out how to get into our pigeon/quail house... < The Curse of the Blue Streak >.


Posted by: khan on Aug. 01 2008,17:59

The favorite prey of Coopers Hawks & Northern Harriers is doves (at least in my front yard).

I'll see if I can dig up some photos of feathers.
Posted by: jeffox on Aug. 01 2008,22:12

One of the advantages of being a former medical secretary who once worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN was that I got to see the resident (no pun intended) perigrine falcons hunt and eat the local pigeonry.  :)  It was an easy task, as long as one worked at the 10th story or higher.

Occasionally they'd land on one of the window ledges with a freshly killed pigeon and proceed to (quite literally) tear it apart eating it.  The feathers literally flew, and it usually took about 30 seconds to 1 minute for the hawk to eat a full-grown bird.  

If you were anywhere downtown, you could tell that the perigrines were hunting by observing the way the flock of pigeons flew.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 01 2008,22:22

Quote (dhogaza @ Aug. 01 2008,10:38)
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
My neighbor has a lot of bird feeders in his backyard, and it resulted in periodic visits from a small hawk. I think it's a Cooper's.  Yesterday I got to see it grab a Goldfinch off of one of the feeders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Or sharpshinned hawk, which are considerably smaller.  They're easy to distinguish once you know how but ...

Cooper's hawk have much more robust legs.  The sharpshinned hawk gets its name from a prominent ridge on its "shin" (metatarsal), which gives it a bit more fore-and-aft rigidity, otherwise its legs are glorified toothpicks.

Cooper's hawks also have blockier heads due to longer feathers on the rear of the head, that they lift to make their head "look big" (and scary, I guess) when nervous/scared < see here >.

Sharpshinned hawks are more heavily streaked (though there's a great deal of variation in Cooper's hawks - I've banded literally thousands of north american accipiters).

If you've got a kid - a brown-backed bird with brown streaking on the breast - the plumage is going to be grown in and fresh (migration cometh soon).  A Cooper's hawk will show a distinct white terminal band.  A sharpshinned will normally show a greyish terminal band though quite white (but narrow) is not totally unknown.

With an adult bird at this time of year, it's hard to tell, their tail will be molting enthusiastically and the old feather that haven't dropped yet beat to shit (i.e. any white band likely to be worn off).  Sharpies are farther along in molt than Coops at this point (it's a size thing, male sharpies, the smallest, will be very far along now in august).

Far too much data, right?

Go find that hawk and look again!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Also, I get the impression that Cooper's Hawks are more common than Sharp-Shinned Hawks, and much more adapted to heavily built up, residential neighborhoods. I see Cooper's Hawks around town here pretty routinely, but I've never seen a Sharp-Shinned anywhere except out in the countryside.

Two years ago I got to see a female Cooper's Hawk scarfing a Common Bushtit in a Chinese Elm tree in front of my house. I was first alerted to her presence by these little feathers drifting down from the tree. I found her in the tree and started watching her, first as she de-feathered it, and then as she started ripping hunks off it and eating. At one point she seemed to have swallowed too big a piece and started gagging, but she soon got it down and resumed. All told, she was in that tree for around 25 minutes. She stared at me with her beady red eyes a couple times but otherwise didn't seem to much care that she was being watched.
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 02 2008,02:06



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
A Cooper's hawk figured out how to get into our pigeon/quail house
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice big 'ole adult coop photo there.  You can see she's (I think) molting one or more inner primaries.

Where I've banded most frequently, in Nevada, our pigeon/dove/starling coops are Coop- and Gos-proof.  It took us years, though, to figure out how to thwart ...

Skunks!

(not for the faint of heart ...)

Problems with them digging under pigeon coops - ours tend to be about 8 feet high and first attempts were just on the ground, skunks would get in, and it would be like a dog in a herd of sheep.

Then we tried chicken-wire flooring to keep them out, one dug under and left us with some legless pigeons (even with plenty of things to roost on, there will always be a few that prefer to roost on the ground, hey, they're domesticated, you expect smart?)

Anyway, we finally figured it out.  And now the skunks no longer hang out around our camp, which is too bad, because we no longer have skunk stories to share.  Like the time our cook fell half-asleep in our central tent, in the rocking chair I used to carry up there, in front of the wood stove on a cold october night at 9,000 feet in the Great Basin ... stroking the back of the cat that was rubbing up against her leg ... wait ... cat?  There ain't no cats in field camp!  SCREAMING "oh my god I've been petting a skunk!" ... poor skunk, just wanted a little lovin'!



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Also, I get the impression that Cooper's Hawks are more common than Sharp-Shinned Hawks, and much more adapted to heavily built up, residential neighborhoods. I see Cooper's Hawks around town here pretty routinely, but I've never seen a Sharp-Shinned anywhere except out in the countryside.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Depends on where you live, really.  Sharp-shinneds are common around feeders in new england in winter.  Where I live (portland, oregon) both are common in winter.  Only coops nest here in the city, though, and are  doing so with increasing frequency over the last couple of decades (true throughout the willamette valley).

Coops nest throughout the lower 48 and southern Canada, while the sharpies range extends much further north and they don't nest in the more southern parts of the US.  So depending on where you live, and the time of year, you may be much more likely to see a Coop than a sharpie.

While plenty of Coops and sharpies winter in the US, most of our band returns from eastern Nevada are from Sinaloa and Sonora, probably due to our banding site being east and south of where most Coops and sharpies migrating to winter in western OR/WA/CA are headed.  And a lot of our wintering sharpies are just coming down from the Cascades, like many of the yellow-rumped warblers and other small birds they like to prey on.
Posted by: bystander on Aug. 02 2008,02:08

Quote (nuytsia @ Aug. 01 2008,05:32)
Quote (bystander @ July 30 2008,18:11)
(snip)

We sometimes find  Echidna's curled up next to the house and in the mountain behind us there are Wallabys. There are a lot of Wombat holes around but we haven't seen one yet.

As for birds, Where I live is supposed to have the highest diversity of parrots in the world. Our favourite is the Black Cockatoo. Their call is not as raucous as the white Cockie.

Wes would like the Wedged Tailed Eagle. Another bird that is fascinating to watch, especially when the dive to grab a rabbit or lizard.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bystander what part of Australia are you in?

Blue tongues are cool as are echidnas.
This was my very first echidna I saw in Tassie. :-)
< >

I also agree on the black cockies. Their call is just so eerily gorgeous. Here in Tassie they tend to be a mountain bird, but during the winter they come down into Hobart and strip the cones of the pine trees and ring bark the branches of elms.
All good fun! :-)

   
Quote (dhogaza @ July 30 2008,21:28)
(snip)
We passed a very large plowed field full of white birds that back home, in winter, might've been mew gulls or the like.  Sulphur-crested cockatoos, a thousand or so of them, more than I've *ever* seen in a pet store in North America! :)

Black cockatoo are cool, won't disagree with you on that score.

Lorries, parrots, cockatoos ... nice.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When I first got to Tassie I saw a field full of Sulphur crested Cockies and Forest Ravens. It was a most bizarre site.
According to my local guru, in Tassie you rarely see these birds feeding with any other species, but when you do it's almost always this combination. He reckons there's some kind of stand off between them.

Think my favourite parrot has to be the galah.
On my very first visit to Australia I spent an hour watching a flock in Kalbari play on a climbing frame and in the sand pit below (and I do mean play). It was the first time I'd really seen a bird expend so much energy doing bugger all.
It was fascinating!

Apparently the locals don't like them that much as they keep destroying the lawn and they killed the top of the Norfolk Island Pine in front of the police station.
I read a report that a flock of Galahs was observed to fly straight into a twister, apparently just for the hell of it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I live on the coast 140km south of Sydney. Another strange bird when you see it in the wild is the lyrebird. I often see them crossing the road when I go to customer's houses further up in the hills (almost ran one over yesterday). They have a strange hopping run using their wings for balance and speed. It reminds me of some of the CGI reconstructions of feathered dinosaurs, very much unlike any other birds.
Although it is probably the animators using a lyrebird as a model for the dinosaur.
Another thing about Lyrebirds is that they are fantastic mimics and it is common to hear them imitating a chainsaw.

The cassowary is another bird that seems ancient. I was bicycle riding through FNQ and when I heard a loud noise in the forest, I always wondered if it was a Cassowary, although I don't know if I would want to meet one.

Galah's are funny but do a lot of damage.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 02 2008,06:02

Alas, it seems that Louis has been called away to France on a work-related trip, so we will not be meeting up with him for a visit to Hutton's Uncomformity (Siccar Point). Professor Steve Steve was disappointed to learn of this change of plans, and so was I.

I'll append below a couple of other pictures from the trip thus far. The first is not a wildlife shot; it is the Standing Stones of Callanish (Callanais), on the Isle of Lewis. This structure is about 4000 years old.



The second is a female Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus). We've been seeing large flocks (up to 300 birds) of Lapwings, but they seem quite camera-shy. This is the best shot I have to date, and it was taken this morning near Rattray, north of Aberdeen.



Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Aug. 02 2008,08:23

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2008,06:02)
The first is not a wildlife shot; it is the Standing Stones of Callanish (Callanais), on the Isle of Lewis. This structure is about 4000 years old.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmmm... let's turn up the drama...


Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 02 2008,11:33



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

I'll append below a couple of other pictures from the trip thus far. The first is not a wildlife shot; it is the Standing Stones of Callanish (Callanais), on the Isle of Lewis. This structure is about 4000 years old.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Alby, did you hear much Gaelic spoken on Lewis?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 02 2008,12:00

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 02 2008,11:33)
Alby, did you hear much Gaelic spoken on Lewis?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, we did hear a bit of it on Lewis, and also on North Uist, where we spent a couple of days. Actually, we didn't run across lots of people very often, but on the ferries it seemed that lots of folks (families with kids especially) were speaking Gaelic. One of the other guests at one of the B&B's where we stayed on Uist seemed to speak it fairly well, and gave us some hints on pronunciation (sorely needed). All of the roadway signs gave place names in Gaelic as well as the Anglicized versions.

It's an interesting part of the world...
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Aug. 02 2008,12:17

mmmmmm Gaelic




proof that asheville has done something right, every once in a while.  god dam hippies.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 02 2008,12:23

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2008,10:00)
   
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 02 2008,11:33)
Alby, did you hear much Gaelic spoken on Lewis?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, we did hear a bit of it on Lewis, and also on North Uist, where we spent a couple of days. Actually, we didn't run across lots of people very often, but on the ferries it seemed that lots of folks (families with kids especially) were speaking Gaelic. One of the other guests at one of the B&B's where we stayed on Uist seemed to speak it fairly well, and gave us some hints on pronunciation (sorely needed). All of the roadway signs gave place names in Gaelic as well as the Anglicized versions.

It's an interesting part of the world...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice news that you were hearing kids speak it. And yes, the pronunciation of Gaelic, especially Scots, is VERY hard. Definitely one of the weirdest European languages, setting aside Basque, Finnish & Hungarian.

I've always wanted to visit that part of Britain. Once upon a time very long ago I was considering doing linguistic fieldwork in the Inner Hebrides, but my grad student path took a very different direction.

In 1985, I visited the Isle of Arran (as a tourist), which is a gorgeous, spooky place (and the hotel restaurant at Brodick served the best curry I'd ever had), but from what I gather Gaelic died out there in the 70's. The island is basically a huge, densely wooded mountain with a little 1-lane road going around it. When I was there, it boasted the largest nesting colony of Golden Eagles in Britain.
Posted by: khan on Aug. 02 2008,18:30

A rebuttal to the nature crunchy granola types: it's a jungle out there.

Cats killing birds squirrels rabbits chipmunks.

Grackles killing finches.

Hawks killing finches sparrows doves.

Blue Jays stealing worms from robins.

And all just in my front yard.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 02 2008,20:05

Quote (khan @ Aug. 02 2008,16:30)
A rebuttal to the nature crunchy granola types: it's a jungle out there.

Cats killing birds squirrels rabbits chipmunks.

Grackles killing finches.

Hawks killing finches sparrows doves.

Blue Jays stealing worms from robins.

And all just in my front yard.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well. None of that happened before the Fall, though. Back then, T-rexes ate coconuts.  :angry:
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 05 2008,01:25

Well, Louis didn't make the trip, but two other friends accompanied us to Siccar Point, the site where James Hutton found the evidence that the earth had to be more than 6000 yrs old. We had a stunning day to visit, and the tide was out, so we could clamber down to the rocks and wander around a bit. The red sandstones in the picture overlay the folded and eroded gray stone (greywackes in the local vernacular). That original deposition and folding, followed by erosion and then deposition of the red stone, would have required much longer than 6000 years.

So here's a picture, with evidence, so that FtK can finally make up her mind about the age of the earth.


Posted by: Louis on Aug. 05 2008,04:03

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2008,12:02)
Alas, it seems that Louis has been called away to France on a work-related trip, so we will not be meeting up with him for a visit to Hutton's Uncomformity (Siccar Point). Professor Steve Steve was disappointed to learn of this change of plans, and so was I.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't blame me, blame a) recalcitrant French "chemists"*, b) insistent boss and c) an incipient pay review date!

No one is more disappointed than I. First and foremost meeting the REAL Prof Steve Steve as opposed to some cheap panda knock off (which I have met many times) would have been the culmination of my hero worship. Also meeting some Kansans who are ACTUALLY reasonable would have been nice too. And of course to collect my winnings for a certain bet about a certain Kansan who is most certainly not reasonable at all (despite claims to the contrary). Although the latter is vastly less important than the former two reasons.

Of course this means I now have to schlep over to the US of A for a combined Howlerfest/PTfest/AtBCfest at some point in the not too distant future. Make sure you have warm beer, indifferent cuisine and bad dentistry ready for the event.

Anyway, since this is WILD(life)LY off topic thus far I shall redeem myself slightly by mentioning that my Dad telephoned me upon my return to inform me that he has adders in his pond. This is not a euphemism.



An adder, yesterday.

He then asked me (since I used to keep a snake, although I'm no Lenny Flank {snicker, giggle, shrug}) how best to deal with them since they were eating all his fish.

Leave the poor buggers alone and buy new fish in the autumn, was my advice.

Louis

* I have no desire to speak ill of French chemists in general. Many of my most capable and brilliant chemistry colleagues and collaborators have been/are French. This band of merry muppets however were trying to pull a fast one on we Rosbifs and claiming things they could not support as part of an outsourcing collaboration. Naughty naughty. They have been duly, but politely and diplomatically, dealt with.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 05 2008,19:33

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 05 2008,01:25)
Well, Louis didn't make the trip, but two other friends accompanied us to Siccar Point, the site where James Hutton found the evidence that the earth had to be more than 6000 yrs old. We had a stunning day to visit, and the tide was out, so we could clamber down to the rocks and wander around a bit. The red sandstones in the picture overlay the folded and eroded gray stone (greywackes in the local vernacular). That original deposition and folding, followed by erosion and then deposition of the red stone, would have required much longer than 6000 years.

So here's a picture, with evidence, so that FtK can finally make up her mind about the age of the earth.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That is totally beautiful - Do you think Walt Brown has seen this?  FTK?  Have you sent this to him yet?
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 05 2008,19:41

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 05 2008,04:03)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2008,12:02)
Alas, it seems that Louis has been called away to France on a work-related trip, so we will not be meeting up with him for a visit to Hutton's Uncomformity (Siccar Point). Professor Steve Steve was disappointed to learn of this change of plans, and so was I.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't blame me, blame a) recalcitrant French "chemists"*, b) insistent boss and c) an incipient pay review date!

No one is more disappointed than I. First and foremost meeting the REAL Prof Steve Steve as opposed to some cheap panda knock off (which I have met many times) would have been the culmination of my hero worship. Also meeting some Kansans who are ACTUALLY reasonable would have been nice too. And of course to collect my winnings for a certain bet about a certain Kansan who is most certainly not reasonable at all (despite claims to the contrary). Although the latter is vastly less important than the former two reasons.

Of course this means I now have to schlep over to the US of A for a combined Howlerfest/PTfest/AtBCfest at some point in the not too distant future. Make sure you have warm beer, indifferent cuisine and bad dentistry ready for the event.

Anyway, since this is WILD(life)LY off topic thus far I shall redeem myself slightly by mentioning that my Dad telephoned me upon my return to inform me that he has adders in his pond. This is not a euphemism.



An adder, yesterday.

He then asked me (since I used to keep a snake, although I'm no Lenny Flank {snicker, giggle, shrug}) how best to deal with them since they were eating all his fish.

Leave the poor buggers alone and buy new fish in the autumn, was my advice.

Louis

* I have no desire to speak ill of French chemists in general. Many of my most capable and brilliant chemistry colleagues and collaborators have been/are French. This band of merry muppets however were trying to pull a fast one on we Rosbifs and claiming things they could not support as part of an outsourcing collaboration. Naughty naughty. They have been duly, but politely and diplomatically, dealt with.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Whoa - I think that's close enough...(I would have used a telephoto lens, BTW...

Where does your Dad live, that he gets adders in his yard???!!  Not England, right?

And in Other News - nice story Louis!  I would say more, but I don't want to offend Jeannot.  Shrug.
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 06 2008,02:06

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2008,01:41)
Where does your Dad live, that he gets adders in his yard???!!  Not England, right?

And in Other News - nice story Louis!  I would say more, but I don't want to offend Jeannot.  Shrug.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


South of England, next to some heathland. We get adders in the UK, but they are weak European types whose bite is only mildly worse than a bee sting. Not proper venomous snakes like those you get in Furrin Parts and Teh Colonies.

My dad didn't take that photo btw! It's a stock one from teh tubes.

Louis
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 06 2008,08:41

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 06 2008,02:06)
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2008,01:41)
Where does your Dad live, that he gets adders in his yard???!!  Not England, right?

And in Other News - nice story Louis!  I would say more, but I don't want to offend Jeannot.  Shrug.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


South of England, next to some heathland. We get adders in the UK, but they are weak European types whose bite is only mildly worse than a bee sting. Not proper venomous snakes like those you get in Furrin Parts and Teh Colonies.

My dad didn't take that photo btw! It's a stock one from teh tubes.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks.  I must have read too much Sherlock Holmes when I was a kid - The Adventure Of The Speckled Band stuck with me.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 06 2008,16:50

Thankfully we saw no snakes while in Scotland. St. Columba must have driven them down to Brighton.The only herps we saw were frogs and toads aplenty. We did see several road-killed foxes, as well as bunnies. Other mammals included both roe and red deer. I wanted to see a badger, but I was disappointed in that desire.  Maybe next time.

I have had time to only go through a small subset of the pics, but here are a few more.  The first is Siccar Point, on the East Lothian coast just south of Dunbar (John Muir's birthplace). It is a remarkably beautiful site, well worth the trip. It is a bit hard to find, but having found it, I can now provide explicit directions for any who want to venture there. J-Dog, if you get to Edinburgh to visit your daughter this year, you ought to take her there. You can see what you need to see from the overlook (where this shot was taken). It is a steep (about 45-60 degree slope) grassy clamber down the 300 ft cliff. I clambered back up before Elizabeth. She wanted to look at more of the tide pools and I wanted to get back on to level ground (silly Kansan). You can spot her there just to the left of the leftmost tide pool; it's a long ways down. But on the right of the picture you can see the geology for which the site is famous - red sandstones overlaid on folded, uplifted and eroded gray sedimentary rocks. If that can happen in 6000 years, it truly would be a miracle!



We also visited a nature reserve in Kinross (on Loch Leven, north of Edinburgh), where I got these two pictures. Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis, aka Dabchick), which was a new bird for the life list, and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), which I had previously seen in California, where they are regular vagrants (a few show up there  every year).





Finally, here is a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) amongst the cow parsnips and Scottish thistle at ye old Rintoul estate a few miles west and north of Kinross. It consists of an abandoned 19th century house (two stories) and caved-in barn (complete with resident Barn Owl).  My great-grandfather emigrated from this area of Scotland in 1849. It was quite interesting to visit the place from whence my family name originated...


Posted by: Dr.GH on Aug. 06 2008,17:50

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2008,06:41)
Thanks.  I must have read too much Sherlock Holmes when I was a kid - The Adventure Of The Speckled Band stuck with me.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wasn't that a Fer-de-Lance?
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 06 2008,19:45

Quote (Dr.GH @ Aug. 06 2008,17:50)
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2008,06:41)
Thanks.  I must have read too much Sherlock Holmes when I was a kid - The Adventure Of The Speckled Band stuck with me.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wasn't that a Fer-de-Lance?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The fer-de-lance was actually the first Nero Wolfe story.

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fer-de-Lance_%28book%29 >

A little more googling gets me to the Speckled Band, which is an adder.

< http://www.nomig.net/radiodr....%20Band >
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 06 2008,19:47

[quote=Albatrossity2,Aug. 06 2008,16:50]Thankfully we saw no snakes while in Scotland. St. Columba must have driven them down to Brighton.The only herps we saw were frogs and toads aplenty. We did see several road-killed foxes, as well as bunnies. Other mammals included both roe and red deer. I wanted to see a badger, but I was disappointed in that desire.  Maybe next time.

I have had time to only go through a small subset of the pics, but here are a few more.  The first is Siccar Point, on the East Lothian coast just south of Dunbar (John Muir's birthplace). It is a remarkably beautiful site, well worth the trip. It is a bit hard to find, but having found it, I can now provide explicit directions for any who want to venture there. J-Dog, if you get to Edinburgh to visit your daughter this year, you ought to take her there. You can see what you need to see from the overlook (where this shot was taken). It is a steep (about 45-60 degree slope) grassy clamber down the 300 ft cliff. I clambered back up before Elizabeth. She wanted to look at more of the tide pools and I wanted to get back on to level ground (silly Kansan). You can spot her there just to the left of the leftmost tide pool; it's a long ways down. But on the right of the picture you can see the geology for which the site is famous - red sandstones overlaid on folded, uplifted and eroded gray sedimentary rocks. If that can happen in 6000 years, it truly would be a miracle!



We also visited a nature reserve in Kinross (on Loch Leven, north of Edinburgh), where I got these two pictures. Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis, aka Dabchick), which was a new bird for the life list, and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), which I had previously seen in California, where they are regular vagrants (a few show up there  every year).

.jpg[/img]



Finally, here is a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) amongst the cow parsnips and Scottish thistle at ye old Rintoul estate a few miles west and north of Kinross. It consists of an abandoned 19th century house (two stories) and caved-in barn (complete with resident Barn Owl).  My great-grandfather emigrated from this area of Scotland in 1849. It was quite interesting to visit the place from whence my family name originated...


Absolutely tremendous - and holy ID, that IS a long way down!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 07 2008,06:19

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2008,19:47)
Absolutely tremendous - and holy ID, that IS a long way down!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, and a longer way back up. Elizabeth took a picture (included below) as I was climbing back up; the little dot toward the top of the grassy slope, near the fenceline, is me. The fence looks useful, but the top strand is barbed wire; not the thing that you need to grab if you start to slip. If you need a sense of scale, I am 6'4" tall...

The impressive geology of the site can be seen again in the righthand section of the picture.


Posted by: JohnW on Aug. 07 2008,11:52

<FTK>Wow, Scotland must have been travelling pretty fast to bang into the sandstone so hard!</FTK>
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 08 2008,08:57

In addition to the aforementioned Cooper's hawk that's been frequenting my yard, yesterday afternoon there was a female American Kestrel perched on my neighbor's TV antenna, smack in the middle of what appeared to be a finch convention.  There were eight of them (Gold, Purple), apparently unaware of the feeding habits of the kestrel.

As I understand it, kestrels are more likely to eat small mammals (mice, voles) and large insects (grasshoppers, dragonflies) than small birds, and are themselves considered a delicacy by Cooper's Hawks.  Nonetheless, the grouping on the antenna looked like a lion-sleeping-with-lambs situation.
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 08 2008,16:26



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
As I understand it, kestrels are more likely to eat small mammals (mice, voles) and large insects (grasshoppers, dragonflies) than small birds
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You'll see them frequently hover-hunt over open fields, looking for voles and/or bugs.  They'll take birds, too, but very small ones.  Though, one year while banding hawks, with a trainee on the large (pigeon) lure, a kestrel came into the station and the trainee was so excited I couldn't get her to stop moving the pigeon around.  Usually we immediately work on them with a house sparrow, before they get a good look around and see all the station hardware which tends to freak them out, causing them to perch on a mistnet pole or the like, giving alarm calls.  And looking with suspicion into the blind.

On this occasion I finally got the trainee to park her pigeon in small hideaway built of rocks for just that purpose.  The female kestrel walked into the little hideaway and jumped on the pigeon's back.  The trainee dragged the pigeon and tiny kestrel (outweighed by the pigeon something like 6:1) into the bownet and caught it.

That was one optimistic kestrel.

But usually birds sorta freak them out unless they're very tiny.  Kestrels, like all falcons, have relatively tiny and weak feet (compared to hawks and eagles of comparable size) so they grab prey and kill vertebrates by severing the spinal cord in the neck (their bills have a notch in them, one of the morphological characteristics differentiating them from hawks).
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 08 2008,16:30

Beautiful blue tit photo above, nice job (and I speak as someone who's sold a fair number of nature photos to the international book and magazine market).
Posted by: nuytsia on Aug. 08 2008,17:03

Last weekend I popped down to South Arm in search of Greenhood orchids (Pterostylis species) but sadly failed to find one.

So I ended up at the beach and found this....
< >

Isn't that cool?
No?


Well here's another shot
< >
I took a bit of < video too >. Not brilliant, but it shows the animal vanishing as it settles into some weed.

I find these decorator crabs very cool, partly I suppose because we didn't have anything like this in the UK. I've purchased a few books and browsed the web for information on Australian Majidae but there seems to be a bit of confusion. I'm not 100% on the species but I'm reckoning it's Notomithrax ursus.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 09 2008,12:46

I have managed to go through about a third of my pictures from Scotland, and posted a couple dozen of the highlights, mostly from the Outer Hebrides, at this URL

< http://www.davidrintoul.com/hebrides/ >

There are some birds, some scenics, and, just for Arden, some more pictures of the Butt of Lewis.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Aug. 09 2008,15:21

I was on the ocean yesterday, and had some Delicious results.



This was a 10 lb male dorado.



This was a 25 lb male Albacore Tuna. (The dog's name is Yoggie).

The fishing was slow over all. I only lost one fish (a larger albacore) when my reel momentarily locked up. We caught 11 albacore, 2 Yellowfin Tuna, 2 Yellowtail jack, and 41 dorado for 32 people fishing. Mine was the largest dorado, with the majority barely over 3 lbs. (I had a several of those but released them). The per pound cost of the meat was still well above market, 15 lbs of trimed meat for ~$300.  The local fish market charges $10.
Posted by: nuytsia on Aug. 10 2008,04:14

This was rather cool.
Saturday was a beautiful day in Hobart so I popped into the Botanic Gardens to photograph some of the rarer endemic flora that's beginning to go into flower.
< >
As I came round a corner I scared a White Goshawk that had been sitting on a wall.
I followed it through the garden till it settled in an Araucaria and took a few shots.
< >
Right on the limitations of my 75-300 lens but I was still pretty pleased with these.
A friend had said they'd seen a White Goshawk in the gardens a few months back, but this was still a surprise as these tend to be a rural bird and the BG is in the center of Hobart.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 10 2008,10:20



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Wildlife: What's in your backyard?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Fire ants in my cousin's back yard, and I now have intimate knowledge of them.

Bastards.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Aug. 10 2008,12:32

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 10 2008,08:20)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Wildlife: What's in your backyard?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Fire ants in my cousin's back yard, and I now have intimate knowledge of them.

Bastards.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


OUCH!

Sorry to hear that.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 10 2008,13:03

Quote (Dr.GH @ Aug. 10 2008,13:32)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 10 2008,08:20)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Wildlife: What's in your backyard?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Fire ants in my cousin's back yard, and I now have intimate knowledge of them.

Bastards.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


OUCH!

Sorry to hear that.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks for the sympathy, I need it just now.

I have about half a dozen good sized welts and another dozen smaller ones on my legs.  Stepped right into a small nest of them, and I knew the damned things were there.

That's the real pain.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 13 2008,21:17

Saw a black bear this evening, along one side of block where I live.

Several cars seemed to be loitering in the area.

Being on foot at the time, I decidedly did not loiter in the area.

Henry
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Aug. 13 2008,21:23

wow where do you live?

a yearling attacked an 8 year old boy in the park here last weekend.  boys daddy run it off, unh huh.  a-hittin it with sticks and rocks, unh huh.  hit coulda been worse i reckon.  said they had been a-eatin fried chicken before hit come up on em, unh-huh.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 13 2008,22:39

Colorado Springs. I was just walking around the block, when a car stops along side and the guy says there's a bear up there where those cars are. Well, I crossed to the opposite side of the street, and walked slightly faster than normal until well past it. Got a couple of glimses of the bear, which seemed to be exploring around a building.

If I'd been in my car I'd have gotten a closer look. Deer aren't that unusual to see around this block, but that's the first bear I recall in the neighborhood. (Though a couple years ago a coyote trotted by while I was pulling out to go to work; no road runners in area so it probably kept going. Well, unless that one likes rabbit.)

In other wildlife sightings, couple of times in the last week I saw a bird collecting bait. A couple of weeks ago there was a very brief glimpse of what was presumably a lizard (quickly getting off the sidewalk); lizards are rarely visible (to me, anyway) around here. (How many are around but out of sight, I have no clue.)

Henry
Posted by: ppb on Aug. 14 2008,10:05

We justs moved to a new home in Lexington, MA (suburban Boston).  There are some wild turkeys in the area.  I've seen a few of them on my street, although none in my back yard yet.  Should be interesting when my dogs discover them.

Haven't gotten a photo yet, but I did have one fly almost head-on at my car.  I saw a big, black bird coming toward my windshield.  They are huge!
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 14 2008,11:02

Quote (ppb @ Aug. 14 2008,10:05)
We justs moved to a new home in Lexington, MA (suburban Boston).  There are some wild turkeys in the area.  I've seen a few of them on my street, although none in my back yard yet.  Should be interesting when my dogs discover them.

Haven't gotten a photo yet, but I did have one fly almost head-on at my car.  I saw a big, black bird coming toward my windshield.  They are huge!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When first married, we lived in Beverly MA, and loved it.

Once we saw a tom turkey - not wild, a domestic - might have just escaped - while roaming around Walden Pond - does that count?

If you haven't been there I recommend it, BTW, and 2 years ago re-visited Lexington and Concord.*



* For Louis and all the Brits here - It's why we don't waste ink on superfluous vowels in words like "color".  





Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 14 2008,11:09

Also for Louis and all the Brits here, some more < pictures >of Scotland. All in colour...
Posted by: ppb on Aug. 14 2008,11:18

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 14 2008,12:02)
When first married, we lived in Beverly MA, and loved it.

Once we saw a tom turkey - not wild, a domestic - might have just escaped - while roaming around Walden Pond - does that count?

If you haven't been there I recommend it, BTW, and 2 years ago re-visited Lexington and Concord.*



* For Louis and all the Brits here - It's why we don't waste ink on superfluous vowels in words like "color".  





---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, Walden is a favorite spot.  It's only a few miles from my house.

Beverly is nice too.  When I first moved to the area in the early 90's I looked at houses in Beverly.  It would have been a tough commute though given where I have worked over the last decade.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 14 2008,11:29

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 14 2008,11:09)
Also for Louis and all the Brits here, some more < pictures >of Scotland. All in colour...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Beautiful Pictures* - thanks, I forwarded them to my daughter Erin.  

I also just read The Man Who Found Time by Jack Repcheck, the story of James Hutton, and I understand a heck of a lot better how important your trip to Skepic Point was.

Thanks for the pics and the posts.


* I liked your coloured pictures.  Plus it looks so peaceful there with not a lot of lorries to spoil the view.  I noticed that you didn't have any night pics though - Did your electric torch run out of charge?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 14 2008,13:42

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 14 2008,11:29)
I liked your coloured pictures.  Plus it looks so peaceful there with not a lot of lorries to spoil the view.  I noticed that you didn't have any night pics though - Did your electric torch run out of charge?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, and we didn't figure out that we had to go to the chemist's shop to get batteries.  So we just ate haggis, and hoped that the fluorescent flatulence would be sufficient lighting...
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 14 2008,13:58

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 14 2008,19:42)
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 14 2008,11:29)
I liked your coloured pictures.  Plus it looks so peaceful there with not a lot of lorries to spoil the view.  I noticed that you didn't have any night pics though - Did your electric torch run out of charge?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, and we didn't figure out that we had to go to the chemist's shop to get batteries.  So we just ate haggis, and hoped that the fluorescent flatulence would be sufficient lighting...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Was it deep fried Haggis? I did warn you that Scottish cuisine involves a lot of batter and deep frying.

The NHS has thought about introducing a policy regarding deep fried pizza. Each time you eat a piece of deep fried pizza you get a stamp. Three or more stamps a year and they refuse to treat you for heart disease.

Louis

P.S. Thanks very much for the wonderful photos. I'd share you some of mine from the same period if I'd taken any. even if I had they'd have all been of moody Frenchmen, labs, offices and NMR spectra.

P.P.S. J-Dog: With that many colours in your foliage, a beautiful sight I agree, I think you need the extra vowels to fully encompass the magnificence of such a sight.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 14 2008,14:19

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 14 2008,09:29)
* I liked your coloured pictures.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Please. The correct term these days is 'pictures of colo(u)r'.
Posted by: Bob O'H on Aug. 15 2008,00:52

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 14 2008,11:09)
Also for Louis and all the Brits here, some more < pictures >of Scotland. All in colour...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks - gorgeous, as always.  Scenery like that is one thing I miss in Finland.  And hey, the fulmar is almost an albatross.

One question - should the wagtail be a pied wagtail?  I'm not really sure what the distinction is: my bird guide implies that it's pied in the British Isles and white elsewhere.  I'm confused about this at the moment.

Earlier this summer there was a pair around here that spent their time < winding up The Beast >.  They even managed to hover just inside the French window.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 15 2008,04:14

Quote (Bob O'H @ Aug. 15 2008,00:52)
One question - should the wagtail be a pied wagtail?  I'm not really sure what the distinction is: my bird guide implies that it's pied in the British Isles and white elsewhere.  I'm confused about this at the moment.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I don't claim to be an expert on wagtails; they are not common birds in the US. Indeed most field guides would give you the impression that the birds found throughout the UK are pied wagtails.

But my understanding is that the grey-backed birds found in the northern parts of the UK are Motacilla alba alba (aka white wagtail). The black-backed birds (found in most of the UK) are M. a. yarelli (pied wagtail). We did see some of the black-backed versions as well, near Edinburgh and Kinross. I didn't get any decent pics of those; the bird in my picture was from Orkney (pretty far north!), and has a grey back.

Some of the taxonomy is discussed < here >, but I'm not sure if a Wikipedia article is the best authority. If anybody else has other information, I'd be glad to hear about it.

Since all of these birds are just subspecies, I only got to count one species for my trip list.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 16 2008,18:07

We've had a lot of rain lately; the logs on which we grow shitake mushrooms have been overproducing  :)

But the most interesting thing in the yard today was a myxomycete (slime mold). A little research indicates that this thing is called Fuligo septica, aka the Dog Vomit Slime Mold.

Here's the whole thing; it's about 4 inches long.



and a detail


Posted by: rhmc on Aug. 16 2008,18:32

slime molds are cool.  to my knowledge, its the only fungus that travels.  we have the the yellow one and a pepto-bismal pink one.  they'll wander several feet in the right conditions, until the weather changes and they dry up.  

for the birders, when one sees a titmouse (the bird) and then one sees several more, is that  "titmice" or  "titmouses"?
(we went through the "a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a flock of geese..." but no one knew about the multiplicity of titmouse...)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 16 2008,18:59

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 16 2008,19:07)
aka the Dog Vomit Slime Mold.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That thing needs a new PR guy.

Possibly also an attorney, as I think that name is tradmarked < for someone else >.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 16 2008,19:26

Quote (rhmc @ Aug. 16 2008,18:32)
slime molds are cool.  to my knowledge, its the only fungus that travels.  we have the the yellow one and a pepto-bismal pink one.  they'll wander several feet in the right conditions, until the weather changes and they dry up.  

for the birders, when one sees a titmouse (the bird) and then one sees several more, is that  "titmice" or  "titmouses"?
(we went through the "a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a flock of geese..." but no one knew about the multiplicity of titmouse...)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, but it's not a fungus, despite the name. The myxomycetes are considered to be protists. But the taxonomy has always been controversial, and I suspect that it still is!

As for the plural of titmouse, I've always used titmouses. But a google search (an arbiter that might be suspect) indicates that there are 5,400 uses of titmouses on the web and 152,000 uses of titmice on the web. Titmice is definitely winning!
Posted by: jeffox on Aug. 24 2008,02:54

Testing 1, 2, 3. . . .We'll see if THIS works, now.  



This photo was taken back in about mid-May.  There is a place in town that is part of the older, higher riverbank - now an isolated "mound".  That's where I ran into these "road rabbits".  :)   Enjoy!
Posted by: jeffox on Aug. 24 2008,03:01

IT'S ALIVE!!!  :)   :)   :P

Ok, let's do a few more!  This is a nice smallie caught in the dam-pool in the Chippewa River as it passes through town, about 6 blocks from my apartment:



And a pair of mallards in front of the public library downtown, photo from (about) early May this year:


Posted by: midwifetoad on Aug. 31 2008,12:20

Some pics from my travelling spawn.














Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 31 2008,13:51

Mid-toad - NICE PICS!!!  What?  You climbed Mt Everest, without telling us???!!!

But seriously?  When and where dude?
Posted by: midwifetoad on Aug. 31 2008,14:23

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 31 2008,13:51)
Mid-toad - NICE PICS!!!  What?  You climbed Mt Everest, without telling us???!!!

But seriously?  When and where dude?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Last week, taken in Peru by my son. Possibly on the Inca Trail, but I'm not in frequent touch.

I think it's nice to be able to upload travel pictures to Flickr as you go, in case your stuff gets lost or stolen.
Posted by: Assassinator on Sep. 03 2008,14:39

Maybe some of you guys can help me identifying an odd bug I've seen at work (supermarket) this evening.
It was black, a bit shorter then an inch, it's head looked like 1 from an ant and it had a pretty long abdomen wich it could curl up like a scorpion's tail. It made me think of an earwig, but it was bigger, black, I didn't really see a pincher on the back of it's tail and I've never seen an earwig curl it's tail up like that.
Anyone knows what I'm talking about?
Posted by: Richardthughes on Sep. 03 2008,14:43

what flavour was it?
Posted by: JohnW on Sep. 03 2008,15:18

Quote (Assassinator @ Sep. 03 2008,12:39)
Maybe some of you guys can help me identifying an odd bug I've seen at work (supermarket) this evening.
It was black, a bit shorter then an inch, it's head looked like 1 from an ant and it had a pretty long abdomen wich it could curl up like a scorpion's tail. It made me think of an earwig, but it was bigger, black, I didn't really see a pincher on the back of it's tail and I've never seen an earwig curl it's tail up like that.
Anyone knows what I'm talking about?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sounds like a < rove beetle >.  Something like this?


Posted by: Richard Simons on Sep. 03 2008,17:56

I too have an insect I'd like identifying.

It looks basically like a large ladybird larva, about 1.5 to 2 cm long, with a small, slender head and short legs. The abdomen looks like it is covered with large scales that give it a conspicuous serrate appearance. The whole animal is black on top, lighter below. I found it in a rotting log in boreal forest.

A colleague says it is a beetle larva but I do not know how good her identification skills are.

I'm sorry, my camera is not up to taking a decent photo of it but perhaps I'll get a close-up lens for Christmas . . .
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 03 2008,22:50



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
what flavour was it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



More to the point, did it taste like chicken? (or early semiaquatic vertebrates, whichever.)

Henry
Posted by: Assassinator on Sep. 04 2008,06:02

Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 03 2008,22:50)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
what flavour was it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



More to the point, did it taste like chicken? (or early semiaquatic vertebrates, whichever.)

Henry
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Doesn't everything exotic ;)

But yes JohnW, that´s exactly the bug I saw. Thanks a lot.
Posted by: fusilier on Sep. 04 2008,12:09

Quote (Assassinator @ Sep. 03 2008,15:39)
Maybe some of you guys can help me identifying an odd bug I've seen at work (supermarket) this evening.
It was black, a bit shorter then an inch, it's head looked like 1 from an ant and it had a pretty long abdomen wich it could curl up like a scorpion's tail. It made me think of an earwig, but it was bigger, black, I didn't really see a pincher on the back of it's tail and I've never seen an earwig curl it's tail up like that.
Anyone knows what I'm talking about?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sounds like a rove beetle -Staphylinidae - to me.

See

No, not THAT Rove.

ETA:  poo, JohnW beat me to it.
Posted by: fusilier on Sep. 04 2008,12:16

Richard Simons - ya gotta remember that one in five animal species are coleopterans.  Haldane wasn't joking when talking about "an inordinate fondness for beetles."

Look anything like this?




powderpost beetle larva
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 04 2008,12:43

There was an adult red-tailed hawk perched near our house this morning. We usually don't get buteos hanging around due to the Harris' hawks.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Sep. 04 2008,14:08

Fusilier,

Thanks, but I did what I should have started with and searched through Google Images. On the 15th page I found something similar - a lycid beetle larva.
(Sorry - I don't know how to reduce the size of the image) The one I have is somewhat different (more taper to the abdomen, smoother thorax, all black) but it is clearly related. I currently have it living under some moss and rotting wood in a take-out salad container so I can show it to my Adult Ed Biology students when we reach a suitable point.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Sep. 18 2008,17:41



Well, this 25 lb Yellowfin Tuna is of great interest to the dog. I caught her yesterday on the Fury out of Dana Point Warf.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 18 2008,17:44

One doesn't usually need a charter boat to hook a dog.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Sep. 18 2008,17:48

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 18 2008,15:44)
One doesn't usually need a charter boat to hook a dog.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The sound of the can opener is usually all the bait needed.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Sep. 18 2008,18:31

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 04 2008,10:43)
There was an adult red-tailed hawk perched near our house this morning. We usually don't get buteos hanging around due to the Harris' hawks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Harris's Hawks? Where are you living these days?

We get little but Redtails here. I think some Harris's hawks would be some wonderful variety.

The first Western bluebirds seem to have arrived for the winter. They're early -- usually I don't see them here til the first big rainstorms around New Years. They're inevitably gone by Spring.
Posted by: nuytsia on Oct. 15 2008,05:16

As way of a political break...

Went for a stroll on Sunday and came across four echidnas during the day.

< >
Check out those front claws!

< >
The rear leg of these animals is quite odd as it faces outward. I can't think of another mammal that does that.. other than perhaps the platypus?
Anyone else?

In the late afternoon I met one at the top of a hill and took the opportunity to roll it over (the soil was too dry and hard for it to burrow down).
< >
You get a good view of the rear legs here. Apparently the large claws on the rear legs are important for grooming between the spines.

These are such cool creatures. The < wikipedia entry > on the short beaked echidna is well worth a read.
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 15 2008,08:21

Nice Work on the Pics and story - thanks.  I am looking forward to FTK's explanation of how they swam to Australia after Walt Brown's Big Flood.  

And now back to our Regularly Scheduled "Friendly" Political Discussions...
Posted by: JohnW on Oct. 15 2008,10:31

Quote (nuytsia @ Oct. 15 2008,03:16)
As way of a political break...

Went for a stroll on Sunday and came across four echidnas during the day.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I suspect McCain would be doing better in the polls if he'd picked an echidna instead of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Cuter, and a much better understanding of foreign policy.
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 15 2008,11:07



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The rear leg of these animals is quite odd as it faces outward. I can't think of another mammal that does that.. other than perhaps the platypus?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Could that be characteristic of egg-laying mammals in general?
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 15 2008,11:07

Quote (JohnW @ Oct. 15 2008,10:31)
Quote (nuytsia @ Oct. 15 2008,03:16)
As way of a political break...

Went for a stroll on Sunday and came across four echidnas during the day.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I suspect McCain would be doing better in the polls if he'd picked an echidna instead of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Cuter, and a much better understanding of foreign policy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


BaDump - CHING!
Posted by: nuytsia on Oct. 16 2008,05:21

Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 15 2008,03:07)
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The rear leg of these animals is quite odd as it faces outward. I can't think of another mammal that does that.. other than perhaps the platypus?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Could that be characteristic of egg-laying mammals in general?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aaaaahhhh...  good point.
From wikipedia
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Monotremes retain a reptile-like gait, with legs that are on the sides of rather than underneath the body.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmmm.. wish I'd thought to look that up originally.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I suspect McCain would be doing better in the polls if he'd picked an echidna instead of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Cuter, and a much better understanding of foreign policy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The difference between McCain and an echidna?
One is an ancient organism surrounded by pricks. The other is an egg laying mammal.
VOTE ECHIDNA!!!!
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 16 2008,07:57

Quote (nuytsia @ Oct. 16 2008,11:21)
Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 15 2008,03:07)
   

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The rear leg of these animals is quite odd as it faces outward. I can't think of another mammal that does that.. other than perhaps the platypus?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Could that be characteristic of egg-laying mammals in general?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aaaaahhhh...  good point.
From wikipedia
   

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Monotremes retain a reptile-like gait, with legs that are on the sides of rather than underneath the body.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmmm.. wish I'd thought to look that up originally.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I suspect McCain would be doing better in the polls if he'd picked an echidna instead of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Cuter, and a much better understanding of foreign policy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The difference between McCain and an echidna?
One is an ancient organism surrounded by pricks. The other is an egg laying mammal.
VOTE ECHIDNA!!!!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Applause! (for both the echidna pictures and joke)

On a similar humour theme:

Q:What's the difference between {insert politician of choice} and a plaice?

A:One is a scum sucking bottom dweller and the other is a type of fish.

Or my personal favourite, guaranteed to get one into trouble with ladies across the globe:

Q:What's the difference between premenstrual tension and bovine spongiform encephalopathy?

A:One is mad cow disease, and the other is some kind of agricultural problem.

Back on topic, those echindas are exceptionally nice. Sadly in the UK we don't have such exciting wildlife. Don't get me wrong, a crested newt has its charms and an adder is delightful, but monotremes are where it's at.

Louis
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 16 2008,08:29

Quote (nuytsia @ Oct. 16 2008,05:21)
The difference between McCain and an echidna?
One is an ancient organism surrounded by pricks. The other is an egg laying mammal.
VOTE ECHIDNA!!!!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes!  BaDum  CHING!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 20 2008,21:29

The 60th annual Manhattan CBC was held today, and the cold and windy conditions (plus a few snow flurries) kept our numbers of participants and species rather low. Waterfowl  and gull diversity was quite low; we managed to tally only 82 species (+ 2 count week species so far), including a Northern Shrike, some Rusty Blackbirds, 2 Prairie Falcons, and lots of Canada, Cackling and Snow Geese. Notable misses included Canvasback, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Loggerhead Shrike, Bufflehead, Greater Prairie-chicken, Field Sparrow, Merlin, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. The highlight of my part of the count was a stunning dark-phase Rough-legged Hawk (the only Rough-legged Hawk seen on the count today).

My daughter Ellen and I also rescued a very fancy rooster who was apparently abandoned; he was cold, hungry, and headed toward the vehicle as soon as I opened the door. He was grateful for a warm place, food and water, and will soon be back amongst other chickens at an acquaintance's farm near Alma. And no, this chicken is not included in the species total above.But he is very handsome!



One interesting sighting that is awaiting more details before inclusion in the list is a report of a very large tern ("size of a ring-billed gull") seen along the Kansas River by two experienced observers. If these details are correct, we will add Caspian Tern to the Manhattan CBC checklist, bringing that list up to a total of 170 species over the last 60 years.
Posted by: EyeNoU on Dec. 29 2008,14:50

Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 29 2008,15:14

Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 29 2008,14:50)
Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a Bald Eagle (and nest) to me.

I'm sure that somebody with the TX Wildlife/Game agency, or some Texas branch of the USFWS, has tabs on every Bald Eagle nesting in the state. You might see what they can tell you about this guy.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 29 2008,16:32

I am currently in the San Francisco Bay area, where the temps are moderate and the wildlife is abundant. This morning I went to a place called Shoreline Lake, between Palo Alto and Mountain View, on the west side of SF Bay. It was foggy early in the AM, but that made the spiderwebs much more visible.



It was a good place to see Surf Scoters and Great Egrets as well.




Posted by: EyeNoU on Dec. 30 2008,08:34

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 29 2008,15:14)
Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 29 2008,14:50)
Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a Bald Eagle (and nest) to me.

I'm sure that somebody with the TX Wildlife/Game agency, or some Texas branch of the USFWS, has tabs on every Bald Eagle nesting in the state. You might see what they can tell you about this guy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Alb. I have contacted both agencies you mentioned, hopefully they will respond with some information about him.
Posted by: EyeNoU on Dec. 30 2008,18:08

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 29 2008,15:14)
Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 29 2008,14:50)
Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a Bald Eagle (and nest) to me.

I'm sure that somebody with the TX Wildlife/Game agency, or some Texas branch of the USFWS, has tabs on every Bald Eagle nesting in the state. You might see what they can tell you about this guy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I e-mailed both agencies. I received a reply from someone at Texas Parks & Wildlife.He said they have been monitoring sites at or near the lake since 1986. He said they knew of one active site that has been quite productive, usually producing two young eagles per year. He also asked me exactly where I saw this guy, there is a possibility it is a site they are unaware of. I'll keep you informed.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Dec. 31 2008,15:03

We saw a trio* of young male red-breasted sapsuckers pecking away at a sappy streak on a Dougfir in snowbound Western Washington the week before Chrismas.

Not to be confused with Casey Luskin, the yellow-bellied sapsucker...




_
*The collective noun for multiple sapsuckers is apparently "slum," which would've been a pretty good set-up for my Luskin joke, if only I'd have thought of it in time...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 04 2009,08:56

Some of the pics from my recent trip to the San Francisco Bay Area can be seen < here. > I tried to get together with Arden, another bird aficionado who lives in the Bay Area, but he apparently was in LA for the holidays. Since I also failed to get together with Louis last summer in the UK, I can only conclude that Louis and Arden are the same person...

Enjoy!
Posted by: Bob O'H on Jan. 04 2009,09:45



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Enjoy!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I did - thanks!  But you should have done something about the red-eye on photo 16.
Posted by: keiths on Jan. 04 2009,14:35

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 04 2009,06:56)
Since I also failed to get together with Louis last summer in the UK, I can only conclude that Louis and Arden are the same person...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That would explain their inordinate fondness for each other's mothers.
Posted by: keiths on Jan. 04 2009,14:42

Those shots are terrific, Alby.  Could you identify the species for the less bird-literate among us?
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 04 2009,17:03

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 04 2009,06:56)
I tried to get together with Arden, another bird aficionado who lives in the Bay Area, but he apparently was in LA for the holidays. Since I also failed to get together with Louis last summer in the UK, I can only conclude that Louis and Arden are the same person...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Given how fat Louis is, I'd say he's several of the people here.

Very nice pix, BTW. I haven't seen a Golden-crowned sparrow in ages.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 04 2009,17:13

Quote (keiths @ Jan. 04 2009,14:42)
Those shots are terrific, Alby.  Could you identify the species for the less bird-literate among us?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sure.

1 - Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
2, 3, and 4 - spider webs, species unknown
5 and 22 - White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), although 22 should be renamed Homeland Security Sparrow (Zonotrichia dmz)
6 and 8 - shorebird flocks, mostly Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa) with a few Willets (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)
7 - Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus)
9 - Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
10 and 11 - Great Egret (Ardea alba)
12 - Great Egret and Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
13 and 15 - Snowy Egret
14 - Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)
16 - Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
17 - Female Common Goldeneye (Bucephela clangula)
18 - Pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
19 and 20 - Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), male (19) and female (20)
21 - American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)
23 and 24 - Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)
25 - Male Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)
26 and 27 - Common Raven (Corvus corax)
28 - Sanderling (Calidris alba)
29 - View north from the lighthouse trail at Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Posted by: keiths on Jan. 05 2009,13:59

Thanks, Alby.
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,13:57

These critters were about 10ft behind the house. We have a motion sensor activated light and we always hop up to see what's out there when it comes on. All of these were within a span of 10 minutes.

The first player brought along what looked like chocolate cake, probably from the neighbor's house.








This "attacked" my wife when she opened the door one day a month or so ago.



Posted by: khan on Jan. 09 2009,14:08

Is that a fox?
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,14:17

Yes. Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 09 2009,14:21

Nice photos -- whereabouts are you located?
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,14:37

Thanks.

I live in Montgomery, TX.
Posted by: Henry J on Jan. 09 2009,14:54

Which one attacked the wife, the black and white one (Pepe Le Pew), or the green one (the bug)?
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on Jan. 09 2009,15:50

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 04 2009,07:56)
Some of the pics from my recent trip to the San Francisco Bay Area can be seen < here. > I tried to get together with Arden, another bird aficionado who lives in the Bay Area, but he apparently was in LA for the holidays. Since I also failed to get together with Louis last summer in the UK, I can only conclude that Louis and Arden are the same person...

Enjoy!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Those are beautiful pics, better than most I see from the "professional" photographers I deal with.

May I inquire as to your camera setup?
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,16:09

Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ Jan. 09 2009,15:50)
May I inquire as to your camera setup?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


My guess would be a Canon 5D with a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens.
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,16:10

Quote (Henry J @ Jan. 09 2009,14:54)
Which one attacked the wife, the black and white one (Pepe Le Pew), or the green one (the bug)?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The leaf insect did the attacking. Had the skunk attacked, she'd no longer be my wife.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 09 2009,16:27

Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ Jan. 09 2009,15:50)
Those are beautiful pics, better than most I see from the "professional" photographers I deal with.

May I inquire as to your camera setup?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. The camera body is a Canon EOS 5D. The lens for the bird/wildlife photos is a Canon EF 100-400 mm zoom; the lens for the scenic vistas is a Canon EF 17-40 mm zoom. I use a < monopod > to stabilize the camera and long lens; this doubles as a walking stick in rough terrain!

If you want to see some really gorgeous photos of California (and other) wildlife (including the kite photo that I use as my avatar here), check out my friend < Mark Chappell's site >. Mark is a biology professor at UC-Riverside; he really could make a living with his photography!
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on Jan. 09 2009,16:50

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 09 2009,12:57)
These critters were about 10ft behind the house. We have a motion sensor activated light and we always hop up to see what's out there when it comes on. All of these were within a span of 10 minutes.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Those are fantastic photos as well. The two creatures dancing around chocolate cake at night are especially neat. It conjures up visions of Louis and Arden prancing around the ladies on 42nd Street.

Perhaps it should be obvious, but do you also have the camera connected to a motion sensor or are those taken hand-held? Have the camera mounted on a tripod and pre-focused on the lit spot?
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 09 2009,17:08

Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ Jan. 09 2009,16:50)
Those are fantastic photos as well. The two creatures dancing around chocolate cake at night are especially neat. It conjures up visions of Louis and Arden prancing around the ladies on 42nd Street.

Perhaps it should be obvious, but do you also have the camera connected to a motion sensor or are those taken hand-held? Have the camera mounted on a tripod and pre-focused on the lit spot?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thank you. The camera is not connected to the motion sensor. I shot those hand-held (should have grabbed the monopod, but didn't have time) with a Canon 40D and 135mm f/2 L lens through a door that faces the light.

I need to take more shots, really. It's a parade of animals out there every night - multiple white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossum, fox (a breeding pair), skunk, etc. are always setting off the light. I should bait them with more chocolate cake.  ;)
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 09 2009,17:10

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 09 2009,12:37)
Thanks.

I live in Montgomery, TX.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I like that "okay, what the fuck is he going to do?" expression on the possum's face as he stares at the fox.
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 09 2009,17:26

Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 30 2008,19:08)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 29 2008,15:14)
Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 29 2008,14:50)
Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a Bald Eagle (and nest) to me.

I'm sure that somebody with the TX Wildlife/Game agency, or some Texas branch of the USFWS, has tabs on every Bald Eagle nesting in the state. You might see what they can tell you about this guy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I e-mailed both agencies. I received a reply from someone at Texas Parks & Wildlife.He said they have been monitoring sites at or near the lake since 1986. He said they knew of one active site that has been quite productive, usually producing two young eagles per year. He also asked me exactly where I saw this guy, there is a possibility it is a site they are unaware of. I'll keep you informed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've mostly ignored this thread, but it's turning out to be pretty cool.
Posted by: khan on Jan. 09 2009,17:39

Several years ago I had a 'possum show up with 5 babies attached. I was worried that they would come off as she climbed through the fence, but they held on.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Jan. 09 2009,17:49

Quote (khan @ Jan. 09 2009,17:39)
Several years ago I had a 'possum show up with 5 babies attached. I was worried that they would come off as she climbed through the fence, but they held on.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If they had, you should have stomped 'em. Opposums are carriers for the organism that causes Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a rather nasty neurological disease in horses.  

How could you risk hurting such a noble and handsome creature?


Posted by: jeffox on Jan. 09 2009,22:42

Just to add my 2c to the discussion, :) in central Minnesota, one of the major prey for fox is skunk.  Don't ask me how I know that.  :)   :)   :)

BTW, mink (and other weasel-heads) eat FAR more chickens than fox.  Honest!  ;)
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 09 2009,22:45

Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 09 2009,15:49)
 
Quote (khan @ Jan. 09 2009,17:39)
Several years ago I had a 'possum show up with 5 babies attached. I was worried that they would come off as she climbed through the fence, but they held on.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If they had, you should have stomped 'em. Opposums are carriers for the organism that causes Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a rather nasty neurological disease in horses.  

How could you risk hurting such a noble and handsome creature?


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hey, possums are native to the US and horses are not. Possums were here first.  :angry:
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 09 2009,22:46

Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 09 2009,15:26)
I've mostly ignored this thread, but it's turning out to be pretty cool.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Uh oh, does this mean we can't use this as the "talk shit about Steve behind his back" thread anymore?  :(
Posted by: khan on Jan. 09 2009,22:48

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 09 2009,23:46)
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 09 2009,15:26)
I've mostly ignored this thread, but it's turning out to be pretty cool.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Uh oh, does this mean we can't use this as the "talk shit about Steve behind his back" thread anymore?  :(
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Crap, we've been found out.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Jan. 09 2009,22:58

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 09 2009,22:46)
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 09 2009,15:26)
I've mostly ignored this thread, but it's turning out to be pretty cool.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Uh oh, does this mean we can't use this as the "talk shit about Steve behind his back" thread anymore?  :(
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Pffft. You can talk shit to Steve's face.  Just don't use two specific adjectives describing the color and olfactory characteristic of, umm, well,......shit.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 10 2009,08:31

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 09 2009,22:45)
Hey, possums are native to the US and horses are not. Possums were here first.  :angry:
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Au contraire. Horses evolved in North America, and spread from here to the rest of the world. They went extinct here and were reintroduced by the Spanish. Possums are a much later addition (approx 4 million years ago) addition to the fauna.
Posted by: EyeNoU on Jan. 10 2009,11:26

Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 09 2009,17:26)
Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 30 2008,19:08)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 29 2008,15:14)
 
Quote (EyeNoU @ Dec. 29 2008,14:50)
Question for Albatrossy:



Saw this fellow on the drive home from the oil rig I was working at (I apologize for the poor photo, but all I had was my cellphone). The location is near Lake Limestone in central Texas. The nest in the picture was approximately 5' across and appeared to be made of sticks and twigs. The bird's beak appeared to be curved downward at the end. Could this be a Bald Eagle?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like a Bald Eagle (and nest) to me.

I'm sure that somebody with the TX Wildlife/Game agency, or some Texas branch of the USFWS, has tabs on every Bald Eagle nesting in the state. You might see what they can tell you about this guy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I e-mailed both agencies. I received a reply from someone at Texas Parks & Wildlife.He said they have been monitoring sites at or near the lake since 1986. He said they knew of one active site that has been quite productive, usually producing two young eagles per year. He also asked me exactly where I saw this guy, there is a possibility it is a site they are unaware of. I'll keep you informed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've mostly ignored this thread, but it's turning out to be pretty cool.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I have exchanged a few more e-mails with Mr. Brent Ortego of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. He asked me to send him a Google map with the location of the nest I saw marked on it. This was the reply:

"This is a new site, but it might involve a pair we have already been tracking.  Eagles have problems maintaining their very large nests.  It is not unusual for tree branches to break under the strain when a major storm rolls through.  Nests typically are replaced at 4 year intervals and many times this is due to tree failures.

We will log this nest location into our files and will keep track of this new nesting location"

I then e-mailed Brent asking about their diet. I mentioned that I thought I saw an eagle take off from a roadkseveral weeks earlier, but had only a brief glimpse since i was driving. His response:

"While the eagle is near the top of the food chain, it is not the most efficient predator.  It generally needs to be easy.  Food habit work has shown that catfish, softshell turtles and coots are some of the most abundant food items at nest sites.  They will opportunistically kill waterfowl and when they get desperate/lazy they will work road kills."

I'll post any further information as I get it.

Do you think Wes might like to recruit this bird for those days he would rather fish than hunt?
Posted by: EyeNoU on Jan. 10 2009,11:29

Sorry about the typo. That should read, "roadkill several" rather than "roadkseveral"........
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 10 2009,11:40

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 10 2009,06:31)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 09 2009,22:45)
Hey, possums are native to the US and horses are not. Possums were here first.  :angry:
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Au contraire. Horses evolved in North America, and spread from here to the rest of the world. They went extinct here and were reintroduced by the Spanish. Possums are a much later addition (approx 4 million years ago) addition to the fauna.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Horses lost their place in line by being extinct for 10 thousand years.  :angry:
Posted by: carlsonjok on Jan. 10 2009,12:13

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 10 2009,11:40)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 10 2009,06:31)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 09 2009,22:45)
Hey, possums are native to the US and horses are not. Possums were here first.  :angry:
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Au contraire. Horses evolved in North America, and spread from here to the rest of the world. They went extinct here and were reintroduced by the Spanish. Possums are a much later addition (approx 4 million years ago) addition to the fauna.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Horses lost their place in line by being extinct for 10 thousand years.  :angry:
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 10 2009,12:26

Quote (EyeNoU @ Jan. 10 2009,11:26)
"This is a new site, but it might involve a pair we have already been tracking.  Eagles have problems maintaining their very large nests.  It is not unusual for tree branches to break under the strain when a major storm rolls through.  Nests typically are replaced at 4 year intervals and many times this is due to tree failures.

We will log this nest location into our files and will keep track of this new nesting location"

I then e-mailed Brent asking about their diet. I mentioned that I thought I saw an eagle take off from a roadkseveral weeks earlier, but had only a brief glimpse since i was driving. His response:

"While the eagle is near the top of the food chain, it is not the most efficient predator.  It generally needs to be easy.  Food habit work has shown that catfish, softshell turtles and coots are some of the most abundant food items at nest sites.  They will opportunistically kill waterfowl and when they get desperate/lazy they will work road kills."
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Cool!

Those nests can get pretty big. Several years ago I was privileged to accompany a USFWS crew who wanted to band the two baby bald eagles in a nest about 25 mi north of here. It was interesting.

The nest was in an old oak tree that had drowned during the 1993 flood season here. They used a large slingshot to shoot a line over the branch under it, and then hauled up a bigger line. A local tree surgeon used the line to climb the tree. He sat in the nest (!) and put the eaglets into a large cloth bag and lowered them to the crew on the ground, one at a time. After they were banded, weighed, and had theor blood drawn, they were hauled back up and put back into the nest. The parents sat in a nearby tree and twittered, but they never made any attempt to strafe or attack the guy sitting in the nest.

He reported that the bottom of the nest was littered with bones and shells of turtles... Must have been a good year for turtle-hunting, but that seems like a hard thing to feed a baby eagle.

Here's a pic of one of the little darlings. They had a boy and a girl; this was the girl.



If the nest is successful, maybe they'll let you tag along when they band the babies.
Posted by: nuytsia on Jan. 13 2009,04:56

Had a very cool day on Saturday.

Went to visit a friend living down the coast at Taroona (Tasmania) and we went exploring the local beach as there was a very low tide that day.
Late in the afternoon we were walking amongst some rocks and we (literally) stumbled upon a native water rat.
< >
This is only the second time I've seen one. They tend to be very shy and rarely seen out during the day. This is one of Australia's native placental mammals.

Later on I popped inland to a local nature reserve and watched a Spider Wasp (Pompilidae) species excavating and then resealing a nest chamber
< >
If you follow the link through on the image there's a few bit of video of it in action. The sand flying out of the burrow is pretty impressive. :-)
Interestingly it was getting hassled by another Pompilidae species which looks to be have been attempting to take the chamber and/or I assume the spider that was stashed inside.
< >
Reading the wikipedia entry one subfamily of Pompilidae actually has members that are kleptoparasites of other Pompilidae wasps.
Not sure of the identity of either of the wasps as yet, but will be interested to find out.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 14 2009,15:00

< First Kansas record > for Ross' Gull (Rhodostethia rosea), photographed at 1 PM today near Manhattan KS. The bird was first sighted and identified by Ted Cable around noon today.
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Jan. 14 2009,15:24

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 14 2009,13:00)
< First Kansas record > for Ross' Gull (Rhodostethia rosea), photographed at 1 PM today near Manhattan KS. The bird was first sighted and identified by Ted Cable around noon today.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That bird is seriously lost.

I remember a Ross's Gull sighting in the SF Bay Area circa 1977. Every birder around here just about went nuts.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 14 2009,17:27

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 14 2009,15:24)
   
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 14 2009,13:00)
< First Kansas record > for Ross' Gull (Rhodostethia rosea), photographed at 1 PM today near Manhattan KS. The bird was first sighted and identified by Ted Cable around noon today.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That bird is seriously lost.

I remember a Ross's Gull sighting in the SF Bay Area circa 1977. Every birder around here just about went nuts.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


There was a more recent sighting at the < Salton Sea > a few years back.  That was a seriously lost bird...
Posted by: khan on Jan. 14 2009,17:42

I have at least two hawks that have decided that my front yard is a lunch buffet.  

When the red tailed shows up, even the squirrels stay hidden.

Oh well, I spend less on bird food.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Jan. 14 2009,18:03



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

"While the eagle is near the top of the food chain, it is not the most efficient predator.  It generally needs to be easy.  Food habit work has shown that catfish, softshell turtles and coots are some of the most abundant food items at nest sites.  They will opportunistically kill waterfowl and when they get desperate/lazy they will work road kills."

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



In Florida, they seem to mostly force ospreys to give up their lunch. The ospreys are efficient predators.

Inefficiency is actually pretty much a requirement for a species used in falconry. It's been said that red-tailed hawks miss 19 out of 20 flights at prey, but ospreys get that fish 19 out of 20 times. A falconer can make a real difference for a red-tailed, but doesn't have a chance to help an osprey.
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 18 2009,13:08

Few more from the yard yesterday and today:

White-tailed deer:


Pileated woodpecker (to be fair he was in the front yard):


Mallards:




American Coot:

Posted by: khan on Jan. 18 2009,13:42

Yesterday evening, for the first time (I've been here 30 years) I saw a skunk on the patio.
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 19 2009,19:37

Couple from this morning's walk.




Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 19 2009,21:14

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 19 2009,19:37)
Couple from this morning's walk.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Handsome bird!

Whereabouts are you located?
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 19 2009,21:35

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 19 2009,21:14)
Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 19 2009,19:37)
Couple from this morning's walk.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Handsome bird!

Whereabouts are you located?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks! I was hoping he'd go for a fish, but never did. He took flight and circled around and I lost him in the sun.

I'm located in Montgomery, TX on Lake Conroe. It's a ~21000 acre lake with about 5000 acres in the Sam Houston National Forest (which is over 161000 acres). It's a pretty good area for birding.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 22 2009,12:30

The KSU Field Ornithology class had their first field trip of the spring 2009 semester this morning. Weather was nice, and we saw 26 species. < Checklist > can be found here.

The highlights included a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers chasing each other around a tree trunk, and some Bald Eagles. The class even got to hear the < impressive sounds > that our national symbol makes...
Posted by: subkumquat on Jan. 24 2009,18:41

Went for another walk today. Nothing as cool as the osprey, but decent birding overall.

Great blue heron:


Green heron:


Spotted sandpiper (non-breeding plumage):


Red-bellied woodpecker (female):

[img]
Posted by: khan on Jan. 24 2009,18:58

Today a hawk (Cooper's I think) came soaring under the patio cover, grabbed something (sparrow or finch) and kept going.

I'm maintaining a bird buffet.
Posted by: Dr.GH on Jan. 29 2009,01:53

We have a local lake operated by a fishing club. This time of year they plant thousands of 2 to 4 pound trout every week.  These are easy to catch, but they taste terrible. The ospreys love the live ones, and the turkey vultures love the dead ones.

No photos, but I watched some alligator lizards do their mating display today in the front yard. "We are going to have a family!" to quote my lovely wife. I thought we should amend that to "We are going to host a family."

We also have a captive king snake from the front yard. He has had the easy life for about 5 years now. He grew from about 24 cm to today's 90!  I captured him while he was engaged in swallowing a lizard almost as long as he was. I decided I would rather have lizards to watch than one ornery king snake. He is such a hearty eater (and a King snake) that we named him Elvis. He lacks hips, but he has the appetite and the attitude.  

The alligator lizards are active this time of year eating the lungless slender salamanders that breed in our yard. I really like them too, but I think that the ALs are the highest predator our little yard can support. I would like to introduce some western fence lizards, or maybe some tree frogs.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 30 2009,11:28

Gary

Alligator lizards are pretty cool; they definitely are convinced that they are top predators!

We have been having rather warm weather here for the past few days, which is nice. But that means that the birds are less active, since the imperative to eat constantly is lessened when it is warmer. My Field Ornithology class yesterday only saw 23 species, the full checklist is < here. > Highlights included some gorgeous Eastern Bluebirds.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Jan. 30 2009,11:38

coon in my attic last night.  i am going to close up the soffets this weekend.  he could have easily dropped down through an unfinished section of drywall in the closet and into my little boy's room.  i peppered him with a bb gun by headlamp but that only drove him further into the house.  guess it works better on the cats.  

While on the roof the other day I saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers, a downy or a northern (didn't get a good look), cedar waxwings, starling, peewees, cardinal, blue jay, robins, a smaller Buteo hawk on the wing and my favorite, yellow shafted flicker. i know some cherokees that'll give you $15 for such a bird.  FtK if you are reading this perhaps you will direct your children to shoot these birds instead of big cranky.

i had a nice collection of flicker feathers (we call them yaller hammers) but the dermestids got into my fly tying box and ruined every damn thing, including the quills of the yaller hammer feathers.  i had had them for almost 20 years, at mom and dad's the cats would get them occasionally and I could just pick them up.  they make an absolutely FANTASTIC wet fly mimic of Perlid/Perlodid stonefly nymphs.  dyed dove feathers are not the same thing.

not sure if i want to start plinking away at the local avifauna with a BB gun just to restock.  anyone finds a dead yaller hammer PM me.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Jan. 30 2009,12:41

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 30 2009,11:28)
My Field Ornithology class yesterday only saw 23 species,
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You make me envious! On a 2-hour walk at the weekend I saw 4 - four ravens, two grey jays, a black-backed woodpecker and a black-capped(?) chickadee.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 30 2009,13:25

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Jan. 30 2009,11:38)
my favorite, yellow shafted flicker. i know some cherokees that'll give you $15 for such a bird.  FtK if you are reading this perhaps you will direct your children to shoot these birds instead of big cranky.

i had a nice collection of flicker feathers (we call them yaller hammers) but the dermestids got into my fly tying box and ruined every damn thing, including the quills of the yaller hammer feathers.  i had had them for almost 20 years, at mom and dad's the cats would get them occasionally and I could just pick them up.  they make an absolutely FANTASTIC wet fly mimic of Perlid/Perlodid stonefly nymphs.  dyed dove feathers are not the same thing.

not sure if i want to start plinking away at the local avifauna with a BB gun just to restock.  anyone finds a dead yaller hammer PM me.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Erasmus, you might enjoy Merril Gilfillan's collection of essays entitled "Chokecherry Places". He has a really interesting story about his travels with a Southern Ute fellow across Kansas, and the search for a yellow-shafted flicker to kill so that the Ute could get the tail feathers. The entire essay (not the whole book, alas) is on Google Books < here >.

And if you like that one, Gilfillan's "Burnt House to Paw Paw", with its Appalachian motif, might amuse you as well.

Enjoy!



[eta picture of Yellow-shafted Flicker]
Posted by: dhogaza on Jan. 30 2009,13:29

black-backed woodpecker's a nice sighting, where are you at?  Obviously some place with (at least some dead) coniferous trees, let's see grey jays ... might be mountain, not black-capped, chickadees.  In the places here in the PNW where I'd see grey jays and black-backed or three-toed 'peckers it would almost certainly be mountain...
Posted by: Richard Simons on Jan. 30 2009,18:24

Quote (dhogaza @ Jan. 30 2009,13:29)
black-backed woodpecker's a nice sighting, where are you at?  Obviously some place with (at least some dead) coniferous trees, let's see grey jays ... might be mountain, not black-capped, chickadees.  In the places here in the PNW where I'd see grey jays and black-backed or three-toed 'peckers it would almost certainly be mountain...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm at Cross Lake, Manitoba (54o37'N, 97o47'W), about 150km due south of Thompson.

The other chickadee possibility is the boreal. The last time I saw some, they alerted me to the presence of a boreal owl sitting on a stump. There are several woodpeckers around in the winter including pileated, hairy and downy but they are in small numbers. Two weeks ago I nearly hit a spruce grouse that was standing in the middle of the road, convinced it was well camouflaged. We are in the coniferous forest region and, although some has been logged, most is in a fairly natural condition with quite a few dead trees, especially in old burn areas.

At other times I've seen plentiful tracks of snowshoe hares and foxes and (once) wolf but there were few last weekend.
Posted by: dhogaza on Jan. 30 2009,18:49



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
We are in the coniferous forest region and, although some has been logged, most is in a fairly natural condition with quite a few dead trees, especially in old burn areas.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, that's stereotypical black-backed 'pecker habitat.

Mountain chickadee ain't it if you're living up there in Manitoba, boreal is one that's not on my list ...
Posted by: stevestory on Feb. 13 2009,21:21

Some people I know report that birds use the birdbath like crazy in the winter, even though it's 50 degrees, much more than they use it in the summer. They are perplexed because it is cold and why would you want to be wet in the cold. I told them I'd ask some biologists I knew. What do you guys think?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 14 2009,07:36

Quote (stevestory @ Feb. 13 2009,21:21)
Some people I know report that birds use the birdbath like crazy in the winter, even though it's 50 degrees, much more than they use it in the summer. They are perplexed because it is cold and why would you want to be wet in the cold. I told them I'd ask some biologists I knew. What do you guys think?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hmm. Where I live the water in the birdbath has to be warmer than the air temperature at this time of year...

What kind of birds are we talking about?  And I assume that the habitat is backyard, northern Florida?
Posted by: Henry J on Feb. 14 2009,17:06

Could it be a question of where they're bathing rather than if they are? Might be other places they like better in warmer weather.

Henry
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Feb. 14 2009,17:14

maybe they piss in it first to heat it up.

hey works for a wet suit.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Feb. 16 2009,05:22

Maybe not the appropriate topic, but hey, feel free to move this somewhere else.

I've stumbled upon this nice series of documentaries about wildlife in Australia. Just thought I'd share the link. (This is a link to part one, but normaly all four parts follow each other in the right-hand menu):

< Autralia's wildlife >

I found it quite interesting. (3 and a half hours, mind you)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 25 2009,08:26

A good friend of mine is currently in Chile, and he sent some pics of the wildlife there, including the target species of his quest, the Monito del Monte ("little mountain monkey"), which is not a monkey but is a small marsupial. It sounds like he is having a good time, and he sent lots of pics of birds and mammals. But the best one is this stag beetle, Chiasognathus granti, aka Darwin's beetle. Apparently these guys can be up to 8 cm in length!


Posted by: Henry J on Feb. 25 2009,20:40

So, what late night movies has that guy been the star of? ;)
Posted by: khan on Feb. 25 2009,20:43

There are 6 squirrels that take peanuts from my hand; and 2 blue jays that demand such.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 25 2009,20:56

Don't tell Chatfield, but I killed a gopher tonight. The college student that keeps a horse with us called from out at the barn and said she got bit by a gopher and it was heading across the backyard.  

I went out and, on my way to the barn to get my Weapon of Gopher Destruction (otherwise known as a shovel), I walked past it. As I went past, the little booger turned and came for me.  I got my WGD and found it up by the house.  It actually attacked the shovel.  So,  I conked it on the head rendering it unconscious.  With the varmint thus incapacitated, I dispatched it as efficiently as I could.


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 25 2009,21:07

Uh... rabies? The question should be raised. That is not normal gopher behavior.

Over here, we took Beka, the mini-dachshund out. She found two rabbits and tracked another. At the start, I saw at least three turkeys maybe fifty yards away. They moved on well before Beka got anywhere close.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 25 2009,21:21

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 25 2009,21:07)
Uh... rabies? The question should be raised. That is not normal gopher behavior.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oops, I guess I should have added that she was wearing heavy paddock boots and it didn't even break leather. I had seeded its den with poison earlier in the day (it was taking up residence right by our hitching rail). I was hoping it was just a side effect of the poison, but Google says no.

I have seen this fellow below outside my home office window. The picture look a little blurry because it was taken through a screen window.

Red-bellied Woodpecker


Posted by: Dr.GH on Feb. 26 2009,02:17

Our dog loves to hunt. We live in town, and one would think that his chances were limited. Last night he nailed a possum, his fourth in 6 years. The possum played possum to perfection (and crapped himself very thoroughly). The dog was quite pleased and missed the fact that the possum (bloody, crap covered, and inert) was still alive. I put it under some sagebrush in the front yard, and after two days he headed out for a new adventure. Probably I'll see him on the road, flat.

(I forgot to take a picture. D'oh).


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 26 2009,07:46

Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
Posted by: EyeNoU on Feb. 26 2009,11:09

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 26 2009,07:46)
Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I guess Wes doesn't want to do any research on how rodent poison affects creatures further up the food chain......
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 26 2009,12:00

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 26 2009,07:46)
Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In my defense, the poison is not left on the surface. I have far too many domestic and non-destructive wild animals to ever do that.  It is put into the den underground and it is supposed to work quickly after ingested.  

Are hawks carrion eaters?
Posted by: dnmlthr on Feb. 26 2009,12:49

Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,02:56)
Don't tell Chatfield, but I killed a gopher tonight. The college student that keeps a horse with us called from out at the barn and said she got bit by a gopher and it was heading across the backyard.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Does this mean six more weeks of winter, rain or what? I'm confused.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 26 2009,13:15

Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,12:00)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 26 2009,07:46)
Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In my defense, the poison is not left on the surface. I have far too many domestic and non-destructive wild animals to ever do that.  It is put into the den underground and it is supposed to work quickly after ingested.  

Are hawks carrion eaters?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, many hawks will scavenge carcasses, especially during winter.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 26 2009,13:26

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 26 2009,13:15)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,12:00)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 26 2009,07:46)
Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In my defense, the poison is not left on the surface. I have far too many domestic and non-destructive wild animals to ever do that.  It is put into the den underground and it is supposed to work quickly after ingested.  

Are hawks carrion eaters?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, many hawks will scavenge carcasses, especially during winter.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ahh, okay.  I guess I need to limit my gopher eradication program to summer and take care to get rid of any bodies found on the surface.  No problem. It will take longer that way, as I have alot of activity, but that is okay. I always figured it would be an ongoing project.
Posted by: KCdgw on Feb. 26 2009,13:37

Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,13:26)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 26 2009,13:15)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,12:00)
   
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 26 2009,07:46)
Carlson, remind me never to bring the hawks to your place.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In my defense, the poison is not left on the surface. I have far too many domestic and non-destructive wild animals to ever do that.  It is put into the den underground and it is supposed to work quickly after ingested.  

Are hawks carrion eaters?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, many hawks will scavenge carcasses, especially during winter.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ahh, okay.  I guess I need to limit my gopher eradication program to summer and take care to get rid of any bodies found on the surface.  No problem. It will take longer that way, as I have alot of activity, but that is okay. I always figured it would be an ongoing project.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Or use gopher traps.

KC
Posted by: carlsonjok on Feb. 26 2009,13:45

Quote (KCdgw @ Feb. 26 2009,13:37)
Or use gopher traps.

KC
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Gopher traps are not feasible because the vast majority of my problem is in the pastures where I graze my horses.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Feb. 26 2009,13:48



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
vast majority of my problem is in the pastures where I graze my horses
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



ahh that is your love nest i see. may i suggest getting a room?
Posted by: Bob O'H on Feb. 26 2009,13:48

It was snowing today here in Helsinki, so this little beast was sheltering on my balcony:
< >

And here's a better shot, from closer and without the banana plant in the way:

< >

I was still taking the photos through about 18 layers of glass, hence the quality isn't great.  The little thing was cute, and makes a change from the tits.
Posted by: J-Dog on Feb. 26 2009,14:45

Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2009,13:45)
Quote (KCdgw @ Feb. 26 2009,13:37)
Or use gopher traps.

KC
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Gopher traps are not feasible because the vast majority of my problem is in the pastures where I graze my horses.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I belive that Carl Spackler, Esq.  is available for consultaion on eliminating your excess golfer gopher problem.




Posted by: hereoisreal on Mar. 02 2009,12:37


Posted by: midwifetoad on Mar. 03 2009,19:22

< Some wild, some not so wild, some rocks by the side of the road. >
Posted by: Reciprocating Bill on Mar. 03 2009,19:33

VERY nice Peru photos. I notice the photo of Cusichacca - my wife and I spent about 3 1/2 weeks as an EarthWatch participant at that location in 1985.

(See my profile).
Posted by: Lou FCD on Mar. 03 2009,20:13

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 03 2009,20:22)
< Some wild, some not so wild, some rocks by the side of the road. >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Some GREAT shots!
Posted by: midwifetoad on Mar. 04 2009,08:38

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 03 2009,20:13)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 03 2009,20:22)
< Some wild, some not so wild, some rocks by the side of the road. >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Some GREAT shots!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


These are my son's photos, if it isn't clear from context.

The telephoto shots are blurred because one of the lens elements came unglued. Not a nice thing on a once in a lifetime trip.
Posted by: Wolfhound on Mar. 04 2009,10:39

You are reminding me that I really need a new camera.  I have an old Mavica with the mini discs as a storage medium.  Ideal for taking photos of my dogs and puppies plus little video clips for my website but really, really sucky for trying to get pictures of the other critters around here.  I miss some great photo opportunities every day.  I've tried with the Mavica but it only has x8 zoom, utterly worthless for wildlife photography.

I have a pair of sharp shinned hawks nesting in one of my pine trees so I typically begin my day by seeing one of them fly from the tree to one of the fence posts.  The downy woodpecks, mocking birds, and scrub jays proceed to divebomb him/her.  

Once down the road I have to watch for the wild turkeys and sandhill cranes who are prone to sauntering across the two lane highway, although this morning I almost hit a flock of blue India peafowl that have been very busy birds of late.  There's about a dozen of the crazy things running loose now compared to the two pair I saw last year.

A mile from my place of employment I can watch the swallow tailed kites wheeling overhead.  There are three pair I see on a regular basis.

Living in the sticks sucks as far as having to tolerate the ignorant redneck human population goes but it's pretty cool for other beasts.
Posted by: midwifetoad on Mar. 04 2009,11:24

Best buy currently is the Canon Rebel line. Assuming you want the ability to swap lenses. Point and shoot (non-SLR) cameras are cheaper, but have unacceptable shutter lag and poor battery life. This means that when you push the button there's a half-second delay before the picture is taken -- really bad for wildlife photography.

And if you leave the camera on, the battery will be dead when you need it most. Leave it off, and it takes a minute to boot while your subject finishes doing whatever was cool.

SLR cameras can be left on for days at a time and take thousands of shots on one charge.
Posted by: khan on Mar. 17 2009,16:48

The blue jay is wooing his mate by demonstrating his ability to get me to provide peanuts.

He perches near the patio and makes blue jay love sounds, then does blue jay scream, I toss out several peanuts, they both swoop in and grab one, fly away to whack them open, and when finished eating again make blue jay love sounds.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 17 2009,17:27

Sounds like the bird has successfully trained the erect biped... :p
Posted by: carlsonjok on Mar. 17 2009,19:40

Quote (khan @ Mar. 17 2009,16:48)
The blue jay is wooing his mate by demonstrating his ability to get me to provide peanuts.

He perches near the patio and makes blue jay love sounds, then does blue jay scream, I toss out several peanuts, they both swoop in and grab one, fly away to whack them open, and when finished eating again make blue jay love sounds.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


How exactly do blue jays say "Oh, God!! Oh, God!! Don't stop!!"????
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Mar. 17 2009,21:50

trillium luteum is up but not blooming.

anemone, spring beauty and squirrel corn are all a bloom.
spicebush is in flower.

saw 4 Gyrinophilus (two different species) and about 30 metamorphosing red efts yesterday.  also a pickerel frog and a couple of Desmognathus sp.  and four deer.  yawn

i think my ginseng seeds have sprouted, i mail ordered a couple dozen and planted some berries that i found locally.

yesterday We searched for adult caddisflies in rock houses and shelters where a quasiterrestrial species is known to live, but only collected a single female.  the identity of this critter is not entirely certain, whatever it is, it is a new state record at least.  i have been unable to capture a male despite about 5 visits to this site in the past 3 years.

peas are up about 2" in the yard, both patches.

crocuses long gone, grape hyacinths are currently rocking.  

daffodils and jonquils in full bloom, some of ours are doubles and other old timey varieties.  many other hyacinth looking things are blooming, i can't name them all.  our house is 100 years old and many of the bulbs are heirloom and rare.  tulips are up, at least 3.  

i searched in vain for the elusive morchella elata today and sunday.  it was fun to get out but i have found none yet.  a friend found a couple of M deliciosa today.  i can't wait to harvest a batch.

wild asparagus is just about to bust.  my one wild plant in my yard has a purple bud about 2 inches long but has not made a break for it yet.  i can't wait til it does, i know a field around the way with about 100 clumps in it.  i will have wild asparagus out the frikkin wazoo if i hit it right.

sprung has springed and the sap is risin', as old ron dalton used to say.  he was a drunk anyway.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Mar. 17 2009,23:28

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Mar. 17 2009,21:50)
wild asparagus is just about to bust.  my one wild plant in my yard has a purple bud about 2 inches long
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wild asparagus?  Is that your pet name for Arden?


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
i will have wild asparagus out the frikkin wazoo if i hit it right.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, that is at least 10% gayer than your delicate purple noses comment over on the Libations and Comestibles thread.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Mar. 18 2009,07:36

i've got the gayest one yet saved up, just for you sugar.  and this ain't it.

c'mon carlson, let's go pick asparagus.  you can practice ballet in the meadow wearing nothing but a leather thong and some chaps, I'll collect enough food to barely keep you alive for the following three weeks while you are locked in your cage doing your little 'experiment'.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Mar. 18 2009,10:34

Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 17 2009,23:28)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Mar. 17 2009,21:50)
wild asparagus is just about to bust.  my one wild plant in my yard has a purple bud about 2 inches long
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wild asparagus?  Is that your pet name for Arden?
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
i will have wild asparagus out the frikkin wazoo if i hit it right.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, that is at least 10% gayer than your delicate purple noses comment over on the Libations and Comestibles thread.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


arden has a purple pit, not a purple bud.  he'll tell you that he is like a hyena but don't be fooled.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 18 2009,22:47

Does all that mean that it's the dawning of the age of asparagus?

Henry
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Mar. 18 2009,22:55

hell yeah.  and then feces and we've done a lap.

trout lilies and hepatica today.

i saw hepatica today with bluish petals.  others with white.  anyone know their flarrs?
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 19 2009,09:07

I agree that a DSLR is the way to go if you really want to get some wildlife photos.

I have DSLRs that take Nikon lenses, primarily because I already had Nikon lenses. Currently, I have a Nikon D2Xs and a Fuji S2. The D2Xs has speed and endurance going for it. It is built like a tank and weighs like one, too. It does 5 frames per second at the full 12 megapixel size, and 8 frames per second in a 6.7 megapixel "crop mode". The Fuji S2 design dates back to 2002, and will shoot at a leisurely 2 frames per second. It is considerably lighter than the D2Xs. But both work fine with the lenses, including my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens.

My in-laws recently were burgled, and their camera gear stolen. They find weight a major consideration. So I suggested that they look at some of the Four-Thirds system DSLRs. The Four-Thirds system is designed around a sensor size that is comparable to the APS-c sensor in my Nikon cameras. But because the whole system is designed to that spec, the cameras are smaller, and the lenses can be smaller and lighter.

As with any photography, plan to spend any money on a camera body that can do the job you want, and more money on a good lens or lenses. Your lens purchase is likely to last you decades. Your digital camera to use that lens? Probably not.

Most cameras are bundled with a "kit" lens. Standard fare these days is something around a 3x mid-range zoom, with a f/3.5 - 5.6 maximum aperture. Optically, these range all over the map. Some have excellent, if somewhat slow, optics. Others combine mediocre speed with mediocre resolution. For pretty much any camera you get, there will be available a fixed focal length "standard" lens that is fast, tack-sharp, and relatively cheap. For Nikon, that lens is the Nikkor-AF 50mm f/1.8. With the 1.5x crop factor considered that applies to all Nikon DX sensor cameras, it is like using a 75m lens on a film 35mm SLR. If you can set up the camera with a remote, this sort of lens can do the trick. Most of the time for wildlife work, though, a longer lens is needed.

You'll find that most systems offer essentially two grades of lenses. There are relatively inexpensive lenses with modest maximum apertures offered for the mass market, and pro-quality lenses with terrific resolution and large maximum apertures, with pro-level price tags. Both Canon and Nikon have this sort of split in the lens inventory. I have a Nikkor G 70-300mm f/4 - 5.6 lens that cost me a little over $100. It does nicely from 70 to about 250mm, especially if I can stop down at least two f-stops from the maximum. At the long end, resolution noticeably drops off. I also have a "AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED" lens. The alphabet soup describes various features. AF-S is Nikon's advanced in-lens focusing motor system, one that is both fast and quiet. VR is "vibration reduction", an in-lens system that moves around optical elements to counter the small movements everybody makes when hand-holding a lens. IF is for "internal focusing", where focusing happens by movement of sub-groups of optics in the lens, and not simple displacement of the optics via a helicoid. ED is for "extra-low dispersion", which means at least one element of glass in the lens has a particular composition that has much better dispersion characteristics than standard crown glass. This lens has five such elements. It also cost about $1,600 more than the 70-300mm lens. Is the price difference worth it? It depends. I have been able to get excellent images with the 70-200mm that would have been impossible to get with the 70-300mm. And the image quality is stunning. In comparison to a 105mm prime lens I have from way back, the 70-200mm holds its own, and the 105mm is one that is generally considered one of the sharpest lenses Nikon ever made.

So my advice is to figure out which lens is going to do the job you want, then pick the camera to match. That's how I got started with SLRs way back when. My photo mentor, Lamar Philpot, spotted an excellent used Nikkor-AI 24mm f/2.8 lens for sale at a good price and pointed it out to me. It was my first purchase of 35mm SLR gear, and it took me another couple of months to get a Nikon F2 to put it on. I still have the 24mm f/2.8 lens, though not that first Nikon F2.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Mar. 19 2009,09:08

i just use my phone or like draw it on a receipt or something.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 22 2009,10:27

While I was in the kitchen getting a second cup of coffee this morning, I looked out the window and saw a White-winged Crossbill chowing down on the sunflower seeds. Not too often that I can add to my lifelist in such comfort!


Posted by: Dr.GH on Mar. 25 2009,18:44

Excellent advice, Wes. I have been very slow to convert to digital cameras. I have instead used the college computer lab's slide copier.

I am ready to buy one for myself.

Any recommendations?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 30 2009,10:48

We made a quick excursion up to the Platte River this last weekend to see the Sandhill Crane migration/staging spectacle. We had great weather and a lovely sunset for our trip to one of the blinds at the Rowe Sanctuary near Kearney, NE. Here's one (of too many) images - a family group (mom, dad and last year's colt) of Lesser Sandhill Cranes, parachuting in to a sandbar on the Platte River for the evening.


Posted by: subkumquat on Mar. 30 2009,17:41

This was the last time I've seen my "pet" osprey this year. I miss him.




A couple of weeks ago there are a dozen or so great blue herons on the lake shore around sunset.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 02 2009,21:07

in the past few days i have scored.

Gould's turkey (1 tom two hens)
Blue Throated hummingbird
24 mule deer
buncha weird woodpeckers
buncha other birds i don't recognize
road runner
some kinda sceloporus, about a dozen

wish i knew my birds this place is frikkin full of them.

some yahoos saw a black bear.

another dude saw what he called a juvenile painter.  official word says there may be jaguaramundis (sp?) about, although it is not official.  lol.  plans to document that for real are on the horizon but you know what I hope they don't find out.  next thing you know some drunk will be up here shooting at them, they have never been reported from this state before.  supposedly.

tomorrow, civilization.  Ahhh, sweet sweet sweet humidity.  If  only that didn't mean going through dallas (PUUUUUUKE)

Oh yeah best part, was poking around on the side of a mountain and went in a cave sorta thing and there were CAVE DRAWINGS.  I was f-ing ecstatic, it made the entire event worth while.  I'll never forget that, or the big magnificent natural arch on the other side of the cave, it was a couple of hundred feet high (the arch wasn't that big but the rock was).

If the shit ever hits the fan big enough at Oak Ridge maybe I'll come be an Apache.  Fuck you white people.
Posted by: Henry J on April 03 2009,13:50

Last time I saw deer was a few weeks ago. Only time I've seen a bear since moving to Colorado was last year. Coyote once, several years ago. Lizards a few times in 11 years.

Several kinds of birds are around; there's apparently one kind that likes to throw parties in a certain kind of tree - do not park your car under that kind of tree, if you know what I mean! (Or even if you don't.)

And of course rabbits - can't hardly go outside without having one of those hare-brained critters twitch its nose at you.

Henry
Posted by: dhogaza on April 03 2009,18:37



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
If the shit ever hits the fan big enough at Oak Ridge maybe I'll come be an Apache.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's magic country ... the chiricahuas, dos cabezas, huachucas, animas ...
Posted by: khan on April 03 2009,18:39

Another hawk kill of a dove, 3 feet from the bird feeder.
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 03 2009,20:49

Quote (dhogaza @ April 03 2009,18:37)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
If the shit ever hits the fan big enough at Oak Ridge maybe I'll come be an Apache.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's magic country ... the chiricahuas, dos cabezas, huachucas, animas ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't forget the chupacabra!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 03 2009,21:22

Quote (khan @ April 03 2009,18:39)
Another hawk kill of a dove, 3 feet from the bird feeder.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, you know, that's why they call it a "bird feeder"  ;)
Posted by: khan on April 03 2009,21:27

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 03 2009,22:22)
Quote (khan @ April 03 2009,18:39)
Another hawk kill of a dove, 3 feet from the bird feeder.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, you know, that's why they call it a "bird feeder"  ;)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Buteo buffet
Posted by: Henry J on April 03 2009,21:27

Sometimes it feeds the bird to the other bird? :O
Posted by: clamboy on April 03 2009,21:44

Today's take: starlings too numerous to mention; 3 great blue herons; several American coots (not including me); classic mergansers, male and female; bubbleheads; what looked like a pond turtle, but should not be; several red-winged blackbirds; red-tailed hawk; shovelers; pied-billed grebes; cormorants; Anna's hummingbirds; crows; violet-green swallows; an American goldfinch; a Northern flicker; black-capped chickadees; robins; Canada geese; junchos; mallards; wrens; warblers; and a gold-crowned sparrow!
Posted by: keiths on April 03 2009,22:23

Quote (clamboy @ April 03 2009,19:44)
Today's take: starlings too numerous to mention; 3 great blue herons; several American coots (not including me); classic mergansers, male and female; bubbleheads; what looked like a pond turtle, but should not be; several red-winged blackbirds; red-tailed hawk; shovelers; pied-billed grebes; cormorants; Anna's hummingbirds; crows; violet-green swallows; an American goldfinch; a Northern flicker; black-capped chickadees; robins; Canada geese; junchos; mallards; wrens; warblers; and a gold-crowned sparrow!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I was getting my motorcycle out of the garage today when an Anna's hummingbird flew in and tried to get nectar out of the bright red tag hanging from the garage door emergency release cable.  < Gorgeous bird. >
Posted by: keiths on April 03 2009,22:26

Quote (clamboy @ April 03 2009,19:44)
Today's take:  several American coots...bubbleheads...shovelers...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Visited UD, eh?
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 04 2009,00:01

Quote (Dr.GH @ Mar. 25 2009,18:44)
Excellent advice, Wes. I have been very slow to convert to digital cameras. I have instead used the college computer lab's slide copier.

I am ready to buy one for myself.

Any recommendations?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


With the lens-first advice, one needs to figure out what subjects are most likely to attract your attention. Pick the lens to suit that, then pick the body to provide the convenience features that you want/need. Good glass costs real money. Even good third-party lenses that have the right specs are going to be a significant fraction of the cost of most camera-brand lensmaker's products... except if one is talking Leitz or Zeiss. Picking good third-party lenses does open up the choices on camera systems, since the third-party manufacturers usually offer the same lens design in a variety of mounts.

For general wildlife and mid-scale subjects at modest distances, one can hardly go wrong with a 70-200mm f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens, especially with image stabilization. Both Nikon and Canon make outstanding examples of these sorts of lenses, but expect to pay a bit over $1,600 new for either. Third-party lens makers often have good glass in this specification, but not often with image stabilization. Those are considerably cheaper. Nikon's legendary 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom is right around $1,000, and that has no image stabilization. One can get image stabilization in the camera body in Sony and Pentax DSLRs, giving another path to getting all the features together.

For scenics, wide is good. Recent years have seen the introduction of many ultra-wide lenses. Myself, I got the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. The 12mm covers a full-frame view on a 35mm camera, so I have shot some film specifically to take advantage of that.

If you want to do wildlife that is smaller or at longer distances, you need good telephoto gear. If you want to take photos of wildlife that isn't out in full daylight, your wallet is going to take a walloping. Long, fast lenses are the high-ticket items in photography. The entry level into that sort of gear would include the Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens at $4,100. One f-stop difference, as in the Canon 300mm f/4 lens, drops the price tag to $1,200. Step up to a 500mm lens, and Nikon offers an f/4 with image stabilization for $8,100. If you want to go the economy route, you can spend a fraction of the money to get a mirror lens and a good tripod. The mirror telephoto lenses offer long focal lengths in a compact and light package. The downside is that they are also usually slower, offer only a single aperture, and introduce odd out-of-focus background artifacts because of the lens design. Long lenses of whatever sort require more discipline to get good results.

If you don't need extreme shot-to-shot speed, you can likely get a camera body billed as being for digital SLR entry level. A few years ago, there were lots of ways to argue for particular cameras or camera systems. Now, just about any recent DSLR design is going to offer a good imager. Most people aren't really going to need anything beyond about 6 megapixels. If you are looking to publish, image editor resolution requirements have been rising with the capabilities of DSLRs, but otherwise 6 megapixels should be considered a sufficient baseline.

Some recent DSLRs also offer "live view" and HD video recording. If those features are needed, that will limit your choices. There are cameras with those features in the Canon and Nikon lineups.

Ken Rockwell offers the advice of getting the Nikon D40. If you are getting all-new gear, it is worth looking at. I believe that Rockwell also elsewhere argues for buying a film SLR and having the negatives or slides scanned, noting that the price of a used pro-quality film SLR is way cheaper than a new pro digital SLR. I've shot almost exclusively digital since 2002, basically only using film to get the most out of my ultra-wide angle lens. The single biggest thing you get with digital is immediacy of feedback. You can check the shot right then. That single thing is, IMO, worth it alone.
Posted by: midwifetoad on April 04 2009,01:45

When choosing a lens, you need to know the size of the image sensor. This is not an obvious or widely promoted feature of digital cameras, because it doesn't correlate with megapixel count.

But a full size sensor (the same size as a 35mm film frame) will give the same results with the same focal length as a film camera.

Most affordable cameras have smaller sensors, so the lenses seem "longer" than they would in the35mm world. A 24mm lens, for example, is not very wide.

To make this more complicated, some lenses are optimized for the smaller sensors, giving sharper results on the correct camera. If you are dropping a couple of grand on equipment, it's worth your time reading up on these issues.
Posted by: midwifetoad on April 04 2009,02:14

I'm not an expert on this stuff, but my first real job was at Altman's.

< http://www.photoreporter.com/article....eID=962 >
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 04 2009,14:38



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

To make this more complicated, some lenses are optimized for the smaller sensors, giving sharper results on the correct camera.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Mostly, lenses for smaller sensors simply don't have image circles that cover the larger sensor size, or don't cover the larger sensor size through all the zoom range. Improvement in resolution is a different consideration. It would be better to say that lenses designed to provide those smaller image circles can be produced more cheaply to attain similar MTF performance as lenses that must cover the larger image circle needed for full-frame film or sensors. There's nothing magic about MTF, and a lens with a particular MTF is going to perform the same at the center of the frame for any set of sensors with the same pixel pitch no matter the sensor size. It certainly is not the case that all lenses designated as being only for smaller sensors will perform better on those sensors with respect to resolution than a full-frame-capable lens.

Small pixel pitch to go with the small sensor makes things harder on a lens designer to achieve high resolution. An APS-C sized sensor is only capable of about 3/4ths the resolution of a 36x24mm sensor given the same number of total pixels and the same lens used on both, as I took up in an exercise several years ago and just < reposted >.

An excellent site for comparing lens data is < Photodo >.
Posted by: dhogaza on April 04 2009,15:22



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Step up to a 500mm lens, and Nikon offers an f/4 with image stabilization for $8,100.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nearly two decades ago, when I made the decision to upgrade from my old Minolta system to one offering a 600/4 for bird photography, I had my heart set on buying a Nikon system.

Then I priced out a full system and was staggered by the price differential for long lenses.  Canon was noticably cheaper *and* had fully integrated auto-focus.

Still true today - Canon's 500/4 with image stabilization is about $6K, enough cheaper than the Nikon price quoted above for one to toss in an additional 300/4 image stabilized lens, a 1.4x teleextender, and an extension tube for close focusing (500mm lenses typically only focus down to 5m, for songbirds it's nice to be able to focus a bit closer).

And, no, you're not going to lose quality.  Even Art Wolfe is shooting Canon these days (when did *that* happen?).

Not trying to start a brand war here - both Nikon and Canon are great, and Nikon offers the advantage of there being a huge pool of manual focus lenses available that will at least mount on modern bodies (autofocus is pretty meaningless for extreme wide-angle, or macro, lenses, though macro lenses generally are excellent for all-around use where AF will be more greatly appreciated).

For wildlife shooting I highly favor APS-sized sensors.  I've just upgraded from Canon's 20D to the 50D, but even the 8MP 20D allowed me to make extremely sharp and salable 14x20 prints.  Modern scaling algorithms used in PhotoShop along with a subtle bit of sharpening can yield some extremely impressive results.  Publishers tend to want more megapixels, but gladly accept uprez'd images from my 20D.

Question for Wes: when you did your resolution analysis for the same number of pixels on APC vs. full-frame, did you take into account resolution falloff at the edges?  One advantage of APC is that you're cutting out the sharper, center portion of the image circle when you use it with a lens designed for a full 35mm frame.

Anyway, I'd venture that in the field, any resolution difference due to sensor size when shooting wildlife with a long lens isn't worth worrying about.

One nice thing about digital is that the modern bodies perform extremely well at ISO 200, better than something like Sensia pushed to 200 (well, at least at the time I tried it - is Fuji still investing in improving their film?  I doubt it).

For those of us who grew up shooting Fuji Velvia at ISO 40 in order to give magazine editors the saturation and pallette they wanted (though in later years I found they loved Kodak 100SW, and I really loved that extra stop), decent performance at reasonable speeds like ISO 200 combined with image stabilization can make the difference between chasing stuff with a heavy, awkward tripod or skating around blithely with a nice, easily-handled monopod.

With APC sensor bodies, a 500/4 is adequate for bird photography, especially if you invest in a same-manufacturer 1.4x teleextender.  I bought my 600/4 back in the film days (and am looking to sell it, without much luck, thus far) but a 500/4 on an APC body is equivalent in field of view to an 800/4 on a film body.  Nice.

A 500/4 is noticably lighter than a 600/4 (Canon's is 8.5 lbs vs. 11.8 lbs) and cheaper.

I think it's true that Nikon still beats out Canon at the wide end, though Canon's high-end wide-angle zooms have greatly improved in the last decade.

I second Wes's endorsement of 80-200/2.8 lenses.

I've also been in love with my Canon 28-70/2.8 (now offered as a 24-70 2.8) for many, many years now.  Blindingly sharp.  So sharp, actually, that a manufacturer of a system to print digital images on photo paper (similar to the chromera system) selected one of my images shot with that lens to show off the level of fine detail and fine color rendition their printing system can deliver.  I'm old enough that I remember the days when zooms of any length were a real compromise regarding image quality.  Not so with today's better ones - however, they're expensive.

Hmm ... well, here's the image the printer manufacturer chose ... Canon 1N, Fuji Velvia, EF 28-70/2.8L at roughly 50mm, tripod, mirror lockup, and Monterey Bay giving me a nice neutral background for this pretty guy sitting on the railing of the Monterey Pier.


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 04 2009,19:19



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Question for Wes: when you did your resolution analysis for the same number of pixels on APC vs. full-frame, did you take into account resolution falloff at the edges?  One advantage of APC is that you're cutting out the sharper, center portion of the image circle when you use it with a lens designed for a full 35mm frame.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Nope. For long prime lenses of high quality, the MTF curves are far more similar center to edge than for wider lenses. For an example, see < this page's MTF curves >: once stopped down to f/8 or less, the center and edge performance is virtually identical. The particular  issue that I was addressing in the photo post was specifically about what the size of the sensor implied about resolution. APS-C and full-frame sensors of the same megapixel capacity have a clear resolution difference in favor of the larger sensor; whether that is balanced by edge resolution drop-off or not is going to depend on the specific lens: for some, that is a live issue, and for others it will not make that much of a difference. Generically, though, the back-of-the-envelope calculation I've done makes it such that a lens specifically for the APS-C needs about 1.5x the resolution capability overall of one for full-frame in order to make the total resolution come out even. I haven't done a survey of DX-style lens MTF figures, but I'd doubt offhand that those would generally exceed full-frame designs by that much in resolving power.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Anyway, I'd venture that in the field, any resolution difference due to sensor size when shooting wildlife with a long lens isn't worth worrying about.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I know that I could be getting  better resolution than my current camera offers by dropping $3,700 on a D700, $4,500 on a D3, or >$8,000 on a D3x, but given those are impossible numbers on my budget, I certainly don't worry about using APS-C sized sensors instead.

Once one starts running the sensor ISO setting up one isn't showing  ultimate concern for resolution, anyway. I often shoot at ISO 800 as a matter of course for outings with the dogs and hawks, just to keep the shutter speeds on the good side of 1/1,000th of a second as long as possible.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 05 2009,11:18

Quote (dhogaza @ April 03 2009,18:37)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
If the shit ever hits the fan big enough at Oak Ridge maybe I'll come be an Apache.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's magic country ... the chiricahuas, dos cabezas, huachucas, animas ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


indeed, i was amazed at how much water there was, everywhere.  even fish in the streams.  wish i had grabbed a few.  can't weight to go back.
Posted by: dhogaza on April 05 2009,15:18



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I know that I could be getting  better resolution than my current camera offers by dropping $3,700 on a D700, $4,500 on a D3, or >$8,000 on a D3x, but given those are impossible numbers on my budget, I certainly don't worry about using APS-C sized sensors instead.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And all this assumes you can fill the frame in the first place, while the truth is that a bird ain't necessarily going to let me get closer just because I'm using an $8K full-frame sensor body rather than my $1050 50D.  What I find is that I use my 1.4x extender a lot less often than I did shooting with a full-frame sensor (umm ... film).

And the film body didn't do 20 FPS HDTV, either.

I just gave away the last of my 35mm film, 27 rolls of B&W, about 75 rolls of chrome, to people happy to be living in the film age.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on April 05 2009,19:32

72 blacks and greys, including a bunch of thimbles.  about 20 big fat black ones, and probably 18 or so little tiny grey ones.  i love them, they are so dense and little.  very different cap color than all the others.  it is time, it is on, and i am stoked.  was afraid i'd miss the opening while i was out in the bush on holiday but it is all good.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 12 2009,12:39

A call from a local USFWS employee alerted us to the presence of 5 Whooping Cranes about 8 miles east of here. The migratory path of this endangered species, recovering but still perilously close to extinction, does not usually include our area, so this is a rare and exciting event. We scurried out to see them, and hear them trumpeting. It makes for a fine resurrection story on this Easter Sunday.


Posted by: rhmc on April 12 2009,18:59

i went to visit the 2nd most threatened river in the u.s.
< http://www.americanrivers.org/our-wor....nt.html >

we were at a place called sprewell's bluff.
< http://www.gastateparks.org/info/sprewell/ >

saw birdsfoot violets, trout lillies and many native azaleas...lots of granite cliffs and some serious whitewater...

we were supposed to take a 2 day canoe trip down the river and take out at sprewell's bluff but the recent deluges swamped our plans.  river was way too high to canoe safely...hell, it ain't all that safe at much lower levels.

'twere just as well as friday evening severe thunderstorms with embedded tornadoes swept through the area.  

tent camping isn't very reassuring in those conditions.
granma's house was much more comfortable...

we'll try again in early summer....
Posted by: hereoisreal on April 20 2009,17:36

< http://www.flixxy.com/cougar-vs-bear.htm >
Posted by: rhmc on April 23 2009,19:19

found a 4' black racer in the yard.  it was playing the "i'm a rattler" game.  it must be after the bumper crop of anoles and skinks we had last summer.

the last two michelia figo blooms of the season opened today.
no banana ever smelled that good.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 10 2009,12:09

Caught this feller this morning. Jays are pretty and there are plenty of them around my yard for me to practice on.



ETA: Canon EOS Rebel xs with standard 18 - 55 stabilized lens. ISO was set at 1600, manual focus, shutter speed 1/1000, F5.6 (I'm still figuring out what all that means and how to tweak it). Taken from about 20 yards, and this is a 40% image reduction and cropped for your viewing pleasure.

ETAA: Twitpic apparently will not allow me to hotlink my shot, so I uploaded to WordPress. WP may have done further compression.


Posted by: Lou FCD on May 10 2009,21:47

An Eastern Bluebird on my gutter:



Somebody looks unhappy at having his photo taken:



and here's a better look at the bluebird's friend.



A few weeks ago I caught a luna moth with the cell camera:


Posted by: Lou FCD on May 11 2009,11:45

I tried dropping the ISO and shutter speed to see what would happen.

I shot this red-bellied woodpecker out my bedroom window.



I think I went too low.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 11 2009,12:28

lou if you sprinkle salt on that little bastard's tail you can catch it
Posted by: khan on May 11 2009,14:06

I've seen a blue heron  couple times overhead.  Today I saw two bumblebees (I think they were having a property dispute).
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 11 2009,15:04

These are cropped versions of the two best shots I got of this little guy.

Any ideas on who he is? He was climbing the pine out back like a woodpecker, very small, and a long red streak from his beak, over his head, and down his back.

I took the shots quickly, and I know they suck, but I was afeared he'd get away.






Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 11 2009,15:21

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 11 2009,15:04)
These are cropped versions of the two best shots I got of this little guy.

Any ideas on who he is? He was climbing the pine out back like a woodpecker, very small, and a long red streak from his beak, over his head, and down his back.

I took the shots quickly, and I know they suck, but I was afeared he'd get away.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Brown-headed nuthatch > (Sitta pusilla)
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 11 2009,15:24

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 11 2009,16:21)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 11 2009,15:04)
These are cropped versions of the two best shots I got of this little guy.

Any ideas on who he is? He was climbing the pine out back like a woodpecker, very small, and a long red streak from his beak, over his head, and down his back.

I took the shots quickly, and I know they suck, but I was afeared he'd get away.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Brown-headed nuthatch > (Sitta pusilla)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Alby!

I looked at that in my Peterson's, but thought it was wrong.

ETA: P.S. He's new to my list. That makes me happy.


Posted by: clamboy on May 12 2009,00:38

Last weekend: muskrats; ravens; pigeons; deer mice; pocket mice; barn swallows; violet green swallows; some other species of swallow; red-winged blackbirds; a kingbird; a phoebe; canada geese; a gopher snake; a house finch; yellow headed blackbirds; cormorants; tree frogs; (probably) spotted bats; big sage brush; stiff sage brush; cheet grass (an invasive species); (heard) ring-necked pheasants; (heard) coyotes; a song sparrow; osprey; wild onion; etc.
Posted by: dhogaza on May 12 2009,11:28



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
cheet grass (an invasive species)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Cheat grass - so named because bad guys would sneak the seeds in with whatever seedy/grainy thingy they were selling therefore cheating the purchaser.  Apparently that's how it got there.

Very bad stuff, BTW.  Has totally changed the fire ecology in western rangelands.  It grows quickly and browns early, leading to earlier and hotter fires in areas where it grows thickly (which is almost everywhere it shows up).
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 12 2009,15:42

We have oodles of turkey vultures around. This one was kind enough to fly over the house a little bit ago:


Posted by: khan on May 12 2009,15:47

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 12 2009,16:42)
We have oodles of turkey vultures around. This one was kind enough to fly over the house a little bit ago:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I see them now and then.
Posted by: Richard Simons on May 12 2009,21:09

Spring is slowly coming to the north end of Lake Winnipeg. In the past week I've seen various ducks - shoveller, pintail, green-winged teal, mallard, canvasback, redhead, lesser scaup, bufflehead - as well as red-necked and horned grebes and a loon. There are still snow-buntings passing through but the sandhill cranes and great blue herons are back. The birds of prey include bald eagles, merlins and one turkey vulture (well beyond its 'official' range but, as a colleague says, no doubt it knows a good garbage dump when it smells it). Today I saw the first robins, a palm warbler and a chipping sparrow.

The pussy willows are just past their best, the buds on the tamarack (larch) and poplars are starting to swell and if you look carefully at the school playing field the first shoots of grass are visible. Summer is on its way!

On a different topic, a few weeks ago I had a holiday in the Dominican Republic (Aah, sun!  Warmth!). The hotel had a series of ornamental ponds with many fish and frequented by great egrets and green herons. The egrets were mainly after the fish but also ate some of the bread that guests threw in for the fish. The green herons, though, would take a piece of bread, mash it up a bit and carefully put it in the water just within reach. If it did not attract any fish, they would move it to another spot and try again. Has anyone else seen birds using bait to attract prey like that?
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 13 2009,08:12

richard believe it or not i saw something like that on one of this shitty TV shows like Americas Funniest Home Videos or something similar

would be really innerstin' to know if there are examples like this from nature or is this a learned behavior that has arisen since people started throwing bread to green herons on boat docks etc

(see that would be intelligent agents introducing information into the environment...  ok i'll quit lol)
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,10:18

A sparrow of some sort?






Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,11:12

Anyone have an idea as to the identity of the bluebird's friend? I'm coming up goose eggs. (heh)

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2009,22:47)
Somebody looks unhappy at having his photo taken:



and here's a better look at the bluebird's friend.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: khan on May 13 2009,11:37

A young one?
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,16:23

I dunno.

But I think I'm getting the hang of this pichertakin stuff.



ETA: Damnit. twitpic.


Posted by: Richard Simons on May 13 2009,20:24

Quote (Richard Simons @ May 12 2009,21:09)
Spring is slowly coming to the north end of Lake Winnipeg. [snip] Summer is on its way!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I wrote too soon. This morning the ground was grey with ice and there was freezing drizzle. Since then it's got worse, with freezing rain, ice pellets and snow all day, driven by a strong wind. At lunch time I had difficulty crossing the road because the wind was strong enough to slide me back across the ice. However, today I had my first visitor to my bird feeder since I put it up 6 months ago - a grackle has been coming every few minutes.

I forgot to mention in my list of birds - I saw a glaucous gull hanging out with the others. They are quite unusual in this area. I've also seen a couple of thin bears around.

BTW: I agree with Khan that the bluebird's friend is likely to be a youngster. Many young birds (especially the thrushes and their kin) are speckled and you can see the blue starting to come through (but I'm not particularly familiar with bluebirds). The other bird? Yes, it certainly looks like a sparrow ;-)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 13 2009,21:18

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 13 2009,11:12)
Anyone have an idea as to the identity of the bluebird's friend? I'm coming up goose eggs. (heh)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, that's a juvenile eastern bluebird.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 13 2009,21:19

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 13 2009,10:18)
A sparrow of some sort?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


As near as I can tell, that's a female House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,22:05

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 13 2009,22:18)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 13 2009,11:12)
Anyone have an idea as to the identity of the bluebird's friend? I'm coming up goose eggs. (heh)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, that's a juvenile eastern bluebird.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks again, Alby. I hope I'm not wearing you out.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,22:08

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 13 2009,22:19)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 13 2009,10:18)
A sparrow of some sort?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


As near as I can tell, that's a female House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then I seem to have located a matching set:


Posted by: Lou FCD on May 13 2009,22:13

Quote (Richard Simons @ May 13 2009,21:24)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 12 2009,21:09)
Spring is slowly coming to the north end of Lake Winnipeg. [snip] Summer is on its way!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I wrote too soon. This morning the ground was grey with ice and there was freezing drizzle. Since then it's got worse, with freezing rain, ice pellets and snow all day, driven by a strong wind. At lunch time I had difficulty crossing the road because the wind was strong enough to slide me back across the ice. However, today I had my first visitor to my bird feeder since I put it up 6 months ago - a grackle has been coming every few minutes.

I forgot to mention in my list of birds - I saw a glaucous gull hanging out with the others. They are quite unusual in this area. I've also seen a couple of thin bears around.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Damn, that sounds uncomfortably cold.

 
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 13 2009,21:24)
 BTW: I agree with Khan that the bluebird's friend is likely to be a youngster. Many young birds (especially the thrushes and their kin) are speckled and you can see the blue starting to come through (but I'm not particularly familiar with bluebirds). The other bird? Yes, it certainly looks like a sparrow ;-)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Thanks for the assist, Richard.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 13 2009,22:21

i saw a dog yesterday.  in my yard.  theres a leash law.  i knocked the fuck out of it with a chunk of stove wood.  he was sniffing around my baby chickens.  sombitches down the street let their younguns AND their animals run around with no supervision.  

sis says "ain't the dogs fault, its the shitty owners, so don't take it out on the dog".

i said well so far the owners haven't been sniffing around my chicken coop.  when they do then i'll view them as a problem too.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 14 2009,15:42

Shot from the driver's seat, out the passenger's side window, hand held and fully zoomed in.

The color pattern sort of looks like a killdeer, but I'm not sure.





And my best guess on these guys which have been hanging around the docks for at least a couple of years, is Muscovy Ducks, though that would put them a long way from home.

Escapius domesticus duckii?




Posted by: Richard Simons on May 14 2009,19:50

Lou: yes and yes. Killdeers are easy to identify because of their size, their continual shrieking at any intruder and the bright chestnut on the tail and rump.
Muscovy ducks are often domesticated. The dark ones on your last photo are closest to the wild type, which I've looked for in the wild but never seen.

BTW: We are back to sun again, but I think people living here should really have a masochistic streak.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 14 2009,19:58

Thanks, Richard. What was throwing me on the killdeers was the brown between the black stripes on the belly. All the photos and drawings I was finding had them white through there.

Glad you're getting some sun, finally.
Posted by: Richard Simons on May 14 2009,20:27

Sibley shows a juvenile with brown between the black stripes. I don't know if that means it is a juvenile trait or just individual variation. I tend to just dismiss them - 'Another noisy killdeer' but perhaps I should study them more carefully.

"Glad you're getting some sun, finally." On the whole, we have relatively clear skies but in the winter the days are too short and in the summer the sun is not high enough. The locals like the winter because that's when they can do the ice fishing, curling, hockey, sled dog racing, hunting and trapping but it's not for me.
Posted by: dvunkannon on May 21 2009,07:39

Not In My Back Yard!


I saw these guys when I was walking on the grounds of Bertramka, last Saturday. Bertramka is in the Smichov suburb of Prague, just across the Vltava River. Bertramka is famous for Mozart having stayed there during his visits to Prague. He finished Don Giovanni there.

In any case, these reminded me more of African masks than Mozart. Anyone know what they are?
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 21 2009,07:48

hemiptera nymphs, maybe lygaeids

nice pattern never seen that'un

monday I got a life list odonate Lanthus parvulus.  rare critter down here, range just barely extends into the south appalachians where it prefers bogs and seeps and springs.  

also two other very very rare caddisflies, one of which has only been collected 5 times (4 and 5 were Monday!!!!).  Other rarities abound, including at least 2 undescribed species (well, one is described and all but published which is why we were there.  now we'll be back again!)  


the other sites yielded cool bugs also. stoneflies Viehoperla prob ada and Beloneuria sp. nymphs.  i didn't even collect the mayflies but there were lots of things out and about.


May is a fantastic time of the year to stand in the spray zone of a wet rock face.
Posted by: clamboy on May 21 2009,12:07

The past few weeks: quaking aspen; noble fir; grand fir; douglas fir (not a true fir! pretender!); ponderosa pine; lodgepole pine;

the larch;

white bark pine; sub-alpine pine; vine maple; some other kind of maple; oregon grape; trillium; vanilla; western hemlock.

Western tanagers; evening grosbeaks; purple finches; mountain chickadees; black-capped chickadees; stellar's jay; mule deer; a cougar print; tree frogs; ants in stumps; elk poop; deer poop; osprey flying over Mariners stadium (eta: excuse me, Safeco Field) with Mike Lowell up to bat; ravens; hairy woodpecker.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 21 2009,14:33

Saw a redwinged blackbird today, something else with a very red and black body that I didn't get a good ID on, cedar waxwing, and got pictures of some barn swallows, purple martins, a yellow shafted northern flicker, some kind of orange-billed goose thing (that's the scientific name for that bird I haven't IDd yet), a big ass turtle (like a foot from side to side), some unidentified lizard, and a bunch of crappy long shots of an osprey in its nest. I maxed out the long lens, but couldn't get any closer (the tree it was in was on an island in the river), and it was backlit badly.

OK boys and girls, it's time to play, Name that Critter:







And here's the flicker:



and the osprey:


Posted by: GCUGreyArea on May 21 2009,14:45

that first one is definitely the Loch Ness Monster.
Posted by: ppb on May 21 2009,14:45

I'm going to guess the top one is a Double-crested Cormorant.

Edit: Probably a juvenile.  < From Wikipedia: > "The plumage of juvenile Double-crested Cormorants is more dark grey or brownish. The underparts of a juvenile are lighter than the back with a pale throat and breast that darkens towards the belly. As a bird ages, it's plumage will grow darker. The bill of a juvenile will be mostly orange or yellowish."
Posted by: rhmc on May 21 2009,16:56

not wildlife seen but wildlife anticipated to be seen,
the wife is spending a week with the Caretta Research project:

Since 1973, the Caretta Research Project has been a hands-on research and conservation program dedicated to protecting the Loggerhead Seat Turtle, Caretta caretta.

The three goals of the project are:

To learn more about the population levels and trends / nesting habits of loggerhead turtles
To enhance survival of eggs and hatchlings on a nesting beach, and
To involve people in turtle preservation.
Each year, for 16 weeks during the summer, groups of volunteers travel to the beaches of Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge near Savannah, Georgia, USA. The volunteers monitor egg-laying activity / hatching rates and collect data on the loggerhead turtles...

< http://www.carettaresearchproject.org/ >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 21 2009,17:11

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 21 2009,14:33)
OK boys and girls, it's time to play, Name that Critter:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Beats me - looks like some kind of fence lizard

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Some kind of rock that may have a Grey Catbird or an Indigo Bunting in the shadow in front of it.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 21 2009,18:39

Thanks for the assist on the Cormorant, fellas.

The lizard was a fast little sucker, and the turtle went crashing through the undergrowth like nobody's business - That's what attracted my attention in the first place. I heard all the racket next to the boardwalk as I passed by, and went back to get a look.
Posted by: dvunkannon on May 21 2009,23:57

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,May 21 2009,08:48)
hemiptera nymphs, maybe lygaeids

nice pattern never seen that'un

monday I got a life list odonate Lanthus parvulus.  rare critter down here, range just barely extends into the south appalachians where it prefers bogs and seeps and springs.  

also two other very very rare caddisflies, one of which has only been collected 5 times (4 and 5 were Monday!!!!).  Other rarities abound, including at least 2 undescribed species (well, one is described and all but published which is why we were there.  now we'll be back again!)  


the other sites yielded cool bugs also. stoneflies Viehoperla prob ada and Beloneuria sp. nymphs.  i didn't even collect the mayflies but there were lots of things out and about.


May is a fantastic time of the year to stand in the spray zone of a wet rock face.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, i found this


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Pyrrhocoris apterus
Firebug
Family: Pyrrhocoridae
Again, not shield bugs but having the red markings that may be confused with other families. Pyrrhocoris species are common round the Mediterranean but only recent established in northern Europe.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



With picture at < this shieldbug website >.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 24 2009,11:09

House Finch?





Presumably a mate?



Best shot I could get, Hairy Woodpecker (possibly a Downey, but some of the shots seem to suggest the longer thin beak). Long lens fully extended and hand-held. Sorry. Sunuvabitch wouldn't hold still and kept climbing behind the branches. How rude.



Brown Thrasher:



I went back to get some more shots of the Osprey in better light, but it was very windy, which caused a lot of shake and the shots came out worse, not better. The above crop is still the best one of the bunch.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 24 2009,11:15

Quote (dvunkannon @ May 21 2009,08:39)
Not In My Back Yard!


I saw these guys when I was walking on the grounds of Bertramka, last Saturday. Bertramka is in the Smichov suburb of Prague, just across the Vltava River. Bertramka is famous for Mozart having stayed there during his visits to Prague. He finished Don Giovanni there.

In any case, these reminded me more of African masks than Mozart. Anyone know what they are?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Whoa, neat bugs.
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on May 24 2009,11:36

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 21 2009,13:33)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't know much taxonomy, but this looks exactly like the "chameleons" we used to catch in the gravel pits as kids in Colorado.
Posted by: rhmc on May 24 2009,12:00

anole
Posted by: JLT on May 24 2009,12:03

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 24 2009,17:15)
Quote (dvunkannon @ May 21 2009,08:39)
Not In My Back Yard!


I saw these guys when I was walking on the grounds of Bertramka, last Saturday. Bertramka is in the Smichov suburb of Prague, just across the Vltava River. Bertramka is famous for Mozart having stayed there during his visits to Prague. He finished Don Giovanni there.

In any case, these reminded me more of African masks than Mozart. Anyone know what they are?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Whoa, neat bugs.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


< Firebugs! >

Gosh, sometimes I surprise myself ;)
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 24 2009,21:35

Quote (rhmc @ May 24 2009,13:00)
anole
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


See, I dismissed anoles as a possibility because of the color and I didn't see the flashy red thingy.

Five minutes worth of paying attention would have fixed that.

(Where's the 'i iz a idoit' smiley?)
Posted by: ppb on May 26 2009,10:01

Went to Plum Island, north of Boston, over the holiday weekend.  There were large areas of the beach roped off to protect nesting Piping Plovers and Least Terns.  I got a few nice pictures.


A pair of Piping Plovers



An adult and baby Piping Plover



A very fast Least Tern



Also spotted were Snowy Egrets, Song Sparrows, Semipalmated Plovers, Dunlins, assorted gulls and miscellaneous other little shore birds that I always have trouble identifying.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 26 2009,13:58

Quote (ppb @ May 26 2009,10:01)

An adult and baby Piping Plover

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice! If there is anything cuter than a baby shorebird, I've yet to meet up with it...
Posted by: fusilier on May 26 2009,14:17

If I knew how to post images, I'd show a honeybee swarm setting up shop in one of our compost barrels.

This is a Good Thing.  When we first moved here, in 1986, there were honeybees all over the place.  You could enjoy a low hum as the ladies went about their business - 25 years of "development" ran them out.

The unfortunate thing is that we'll have to call a beekeeper to remove the hive.  There are too many small children nearby.


No, they aren't Africanized, I got within about 10-15 feet of the swarm.
Posted by: ppb on May 26 2009,14:33

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 26 2009,14:58)
Quote (ppb @ May 26 2009,10:01)

An adult and baby Piping Plover

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice! If there is anything cuter than a baby shorebird, I've yet to meet up with it...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks.  This was taken with my 28-135mm Canon zoom.  That's the longest lens I have since I switched to a digital SLR.  The chicks were numerous, and very cute, but I couldn't get a very large image of one.  They were all so tiny.

I'm saving my pennies for something a bit longer, in the 300-400mm range.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 26 2009,15:51

Quote (fusilier @ May 26 2009,14:17)
The unfortunate thing is that we'll have to call a beekeeper to remove the hive.  There are too many small children nearby.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A beekeeper will gladly remove it for you. The going rate for a bee colony in these parts (if you wanted to buy one) is $80-100. So you are giving him a nice present!
Posted by: khan on May 26 2009,15:57

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 26 2009,16:51)
Quote (fusilier @ May 26 2009,14:17)
The unfortunate thing is that we'll have to call a beekeeper to remove the hive.  There are too many small children nearby.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A beekeeper will gladly remove it for you. The going rate for a bee colony in these parts (if you wanted to buy one) is $80-100. So you are giving him a nice present!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


OT:
I have an early memory (4 or 5) when parents called a beekeeper for a hive on the side of the house & he (Wolfgang Bauer) gave me a piece of comb to bite.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on May 26 2009,23:12

my uncle will come get it if you are within an hours drive of montreat NC
Posted by: Henry J on May 27 2009,00:05

Middle of Indiana looks to be about 400 miles from eastern NC. I doubt that's under an hour's drive.
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 27 2009,17:53

Quote (Henry J @ May 27 2009,01:05)
Middle of Indiana looks to be about 400 miles from eastern NC. I doubt that's under an hour's drive.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


'pends on who's drivin'.
Posted by: Henry J on May 27 2009,23:36

I wondered if somebody might say that...

Henry
Posted by: dhogaza on May 28 2009,14:28



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I'm saving my pennies for something a bit longer, in the 300-400mm range.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The image stabilized 300/4 is a good choice.  I dumped my (non-IS) 300/2.8 and will buy the lighter IS f4 job.  It becomes an excellent 420/5.6 with a 1.4x extender.  Since modern digital bodies are so good at reasonable speeds like ISO 200, 250, even 400 - far better than say Sensia pushed a stop, much less two - and since image stabilization gets you a couple more working stops, I don't mind dropping from f2.8 to f4 (not to mention losing about 4 lbs in lens weight).

Canon's 400/5.6 isn't image stabilized so I think the 300/4 IS is a better choice.  Especially with an APS sensor camera, where the image circle is cropped to the smaller format, you'd be unlikely to see a difference with Canon's 1.4x extender vs. the 400/5.6.  Tamron's 1.4x isn't bad, either (I own both, Canon's has a "snout" that sticks up the rear of a telephoto and won't work with lenses with a flush rear element like my old 80-200/2.8).

OK, wildlife ...

Here's a photo I took last weekend of the 3rd glossy ibis ever recorded in Oregon (behind it is a white-faced ibis, common here).  The bird nerds are all atwitter over it:


Posted by: ppb on May 28 2009,14:58

Quote (dhogaza @ May 28 2009,15:28)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Very nice photo!  

Thanks for the suggestions.  I have a Rebel XT with the APS sensor, so 300mm should be plenty long.  Now I just have to squeeze it into the budget.  :(
Posted by: Lou FCD on May 28 2009,15:32

Quote (dhogaza @ May 28 2009,15:28)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sweet.
Posted by: qetzal on June 01 2009,16:24

Was hiking this weekend at Huntsville State Park (north of Houston) & saw two otters in the lake. They were going down beneath the water lilies and coming back up with crayfish in their mouths. They'd hold their heads up above the water while they crunched on a crayfish, then head back down for another.

Sadly, my wife had taken the camera out of town with her. I didn't even realize otters lived around here!
Posted by: subkumquat on June 02 2009,06:00

Quote (qetzal @ June 01 2009,16:24)
Was hiking this weekend at Huntsville State Park (north of Houston) & saw two otters in the lake. They were going down beneath the water lilies and coming back up with crayfish in their mouths. They'd hold their heads up above the water while they crunched on a crayfish, then head back down for another.

Sadly, my wife had taken the camera out of town with her. I didn't even realize otters lived around here!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Interesting. I live a bit south of there, in Montgomery, and haven't heard of otters there. I might have to venture farther north to check it out this weekend when I go to the Stubblefield Lake area to look for/photograph endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Where in the lake did you see them?
Posted by: George on June 02 2009,08:06

A couple of photos from last week of Neottia nidus-avis, bird's-nest orchid near St. John's Wood on the shores of Lough Ree (Ireland).  Bird's-nest orchid is a chlorophyll-less, saprophytic plant characteristic of old woodlands on base-rich soils.





Not bad for a mobile phone camera I reckon.
Posted by: qetzal on June 02 2009,09:22

subkumquat,

I saw them from the boardwalk marked "1" at the top of
< this map > (warning: pdf). It's basically the northernmost part of Lake Raven, about where Alligator Branch enters.

The lake is shallow there and fairly thick with water plants. I had stopped to watch a great blue heron that was standing motionless among the lilies. I had it in view in my binoculars when I saw some movement among the lilies nearby. At first I thought it was just a smaller water bird, but then saw an otter poke its head up, and then saw a second next to it.

I was pretty surprised to see otters, as I hadn't heard they lived here. But the only other aquatic mammal even close would have been nutria, and these weren't nutria.

Afterwards, one of the park rangers confirmed that they do get a few otters in the lake, but she said they were "few & far between."
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on June 02 2009,09:42

my buddies saw a female with two pups in the Smokies a few weeks ago.  They were near the Sawdust Pile campsite on Hazel Creek (NC side) far from what I would have thought would be good otter habitat.  I wouldn't be that surprised to see them at ABrams or in Cades Cove.  annyhoo they said they heard the awfullest racket all night and never knew what it was, next day they heard the beasts and actually got to see them or would have never figured it out.
Posted by: Aardvark on June 13 2009,00:30

ATBC exclusive:









Who can haz identification?
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 13 2009,09:16

Peahens?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 13 2009,11:27

Aardvark

Where do you live, or, more pertinently, where were these photos shot?

In the meantime, I'd venture an ID of Guinea Fowl

which could be found anywhere, as they are common domesticated fowl, found in zoos, wildlife parks, and even private farmyards.
Posted by: Aardvark on June 13 2009,12:58

Albatrossity2,

I live in Durbanville, Cape Town & these are wild birds living in the Willowbridge area.

They are indeed Guineafowl, but the reason I posted these pictures was because of the unusually pale colouring of the one specimen.  

I've done a little reading but still can't decide if the paleness is due to < leucism > or < albinism >.  I'm tending towards albinism right now; mainly because the bird still has some colour around its head at least, unlike this bloke:


Posted by: Paul Flocken on June 13 2009,14:57

I wish i had some pics but all I had was my cell phone cam which is worthless beyond 10 meters.  Yesterday evening I happened by a flock(1-2 dz) of < White Ibis > foraging in the drainage ditch that follows the old trolley line behind my house.  There are a lot of owls around but have only seen them at night and on a rapid wing, so no way to catch identifying marks.  The only other really cool critters I have are the < Golden Silk Orb Weavers >; < Nephila Clavipes > aka Banana Spiders who build their webs under my back stairs.  To encourage them to stick around I throw light bulb stricken moths into the web whenever I can.  It is amazing how much effort a previously moribund and dying moth can produce when it is suddenly stuck in a  spider's web.<evil grin>  I have no pics right now but will post them as soon as I can.
Posted by: khan on June 13 2009,16:00

What is this:

< flickr >

For some reason I can't figure out how to display pictures.

ETA: that works, thanks
Posted by: J-Dog on June 13 2009,16:13

Quote (khan @ June 13 2009,16:00)
What is this:

< flickr >

For some reason I can't figure out how to display pictures.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


khan - I use Image Shack to post pictures.< Image Shack >
Posted by: deadman_932 on June 13 2009,16:16

Khan's picture of some manner of mushrooms:


I clicked on her link and then on the photo properties, then removed the bit following ".jpg" so Ikonboard accepts it.
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 13 2009,21:08

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 13 2009,09:27)
Aardvark

Where do you live, or, more pertinently, where were these photos shot?

In the meantime, I'd venture an ID of Guinea Fowl
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Are they good to eat?
Posted by: Aardvark on June 14 2009,04:59

Quote (Dr.GH @ June 13 2009,21:08)
Are they good to eat?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



According to < Wikipedia >:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The cooked flesh of guineafowl resembles chicken in texture, with a flavour somewhere between chicken and turkey.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 14 2009,07:50

Quote (Dr.GH @ June 13 2009,21:08)
Are they good to eat?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, apparently they are, according to some friends who have a small flock. But mostly they are not kept for purposes of making a pot pie. They are noisy and curious, so a flock of them will make a racket if something unusual happens in the farmyard (itinerant preacher visits, coyotes, etc.) You don't need a watchdog if you have a bunch of these guys, and they have the added bonus of eating vexing insects, ticks, and other things that might pester you or your garden plants.

Re the paler specimen in the pictures, there is an interesting < discussion > of albinism/leucism on one of the bird forums. Albino birds can be quite striking; there is a small museum in one of the smaller colleges here in KS that has a collection of such things, including an albino crow!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 18 2009,11:19

I watched a lovely burying beetle (Nicrophorus marginatus) on my walk in to work today. It was thoroughly investigating a stained spot on the street; probably a place where some critter got flattened recently. It gave up and flew off after figuring out that it wasn't a useful activity; I continued on to work, to engage in other less-than-useful activities...

This is the < most common of the large Nicrophorine species in this part of the world >; these critters are over an inch long and quite impressively marked, as you can see from the image below. They also have a truly wretched odor if you get close enough; I stayed back from this guy and just watched him decide that this smelly spot on the asphalt was not going to be a useful resource for raising the next generation of beetles!



In other news, my department head has accepted a position as the interim dean of our college (Arts and Sciences) for the upcoming year, and I have accepted the position as his replacement here in the Division of Biology at KSU. So for the next year I will be the interim Director of the Division of Biology, and that may cut down on my time available to browse, chuckle, and comment here. But I will be back!
Posted by: carlsonjok on June 18 2009,11:31

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 18 2009,11:19)
In other news, my department head has accepted a position as the interim dean of our college (Arts and Sciences) for the upcoming year, and I have accepted the position as his replacement here in the Division of Biology at KSU. So for the next year I will be the interim Director of the Division of Biology, and that may cut down on my time available to browse, chuckle, and comment here. But I will be back!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


HA HA THIS IS YOU



And, to keep this marginally on topic, I was out at the tow lot retrieving my personal belongings from my truck (darn teenage drivers *shakes fist*) and there was a killdeer nest right next to where it was parked.  I was rather fascinated with their behavior.  The male would run away from the nest and pretend to be injured to try and draw me away from the nest.  I realize that is no big deal to you bird types, but it was the first time I ever saw it.  

<Gil> I don't see how such behavior could have evolved, therefore Darwin was wrong </Gil>
Posted by: bfish on June 18 2009,12:22

< >

This picture is from last year, but it IS in my backyard. We had a mama and three babies wandering around for a couple of days. I was afraid my cat would go at them, but, though he watched with curiosity, he stayed well away.

I show the picture now, because of something that happened two nights ago. I was walking home from work at about 10:00 pm, listening to "Selected Shorts" on my iPod. I was coming up fast on a slower-moving pedestrian, and, not wanting to pass on the narrow sidewalk, I decided that if he went straight at the the end of the block, I would turn right, but if he turned right, I would go straight. He went straight. I turned right, around a tall fence, and was instantly in the midst of a group of small animals. Were they dogs? I peered at them in the darkness, and realized they were skunks. I had jumped into a crescendo of skunks (or whatever it is you call a group of skunks). They were all around me, and very close. I counted six. My appearance among them was rather sudden (imagine walking to the end of a block and suddenly someone whips around the corner), so I was most grateful and impressed that they were not trigger-happy. They let me pass through them without incident, and then went about their business.

ETA: a group of skunks is actually called "a surfeit of skunks." Ah, Google.
Posted by: Henry J on June 18 2009,13:17

Pepe Le Pew!
Posted by: dhogaza on June 18 2009,14:12

OK, skunk story, you've asked for it ...

So for many years I used to spend a month or two or more trapping and banding hawks, and doing migration counts, at sites in Utah and Nevada.  Mostly at 9,000 feet on a beautiful mountain in Nevada, backpacking situation, though with beginning-of-the-year helicopter logistical support (water, food, etc).

I'd always bring an old rocking chair to provide a more comfortable alternative to the plain wooden benches in our communal mess/office/equipment repair/hangout tent.  An old army surplus command post tent.

Anyway ... one year, we had a skunk hanging out most nights, enjoying the companionship, warmth from the pot-bellied stove (9,000 feet in the Great Basin in September/October often means temps cold enough to freeze your water bottle by morning), and I suppose in hopes of crumbs of food on the dirt floor.

One evening, our cook, exhausted from a day that had started at 6:00 AM cooking breakfast, was relaxing by the pot-bellied stove gently rocking in my rocking chair, half-asleep, as the rest of us talked etc.

The skunk came up ... began rubbing her leg, like a cat ... the rest of us  watched intently ... the cook, eyes closed, began petting the skunk, rocking gently ... petting ... skunk rubbing her leg with its body ... petting ... then ... suddenly.

SHRIEK!!!!!!!!

She realized what she was petting.

She leapt out of the chair to the far side of the tent ... the skunk scurried from the tent full-speed ... the rest of us laughed our ass off.
Posted by: k.e.. on June 18 2009,14:14

Quote (Henry J @ June 18 2009,21:17)
Pepe Le Pew!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oui, Mon Chéri
Posted by: dhogaza on June 18 2009,14:15



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I was afraid my cat would go at them, but, though he watched with curiosity, he stayed well away.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



BTW, don't try this with a dog.  Dogs are dumb, and skunks are freaked out by them.  If you ignore this advice, lay in a nice supply of tomato juice, you'll need it :)
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 18 2009,17:03

The non-tomato de-skunking recipe:

16 oz Hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup Baking soda
Tablespoon Dish detergent or shampoo

Wet down the the dog. Mix the ingredients above and immediately apply, scrubbing the dog. Rinse. Repeat as needed.
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 18 2009,22:56

Quote (dhogaza @ June 18 2009,12:15)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I was afraid my cat would go at them, but, though he watched with curiosity, he stayed well away.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



BTW, don't try this with a dog.  Dogs are dumb, and skunks are freaked out by them.  If you ignore this advice, lay in a nice supply of tomato juice, you'll need it :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


My last two dogs have delighted in killing skunks. One would even roll in the spray with apparent pleasure. I printed out Wesley's recipe; thanks.
Posted by: rhmc on June 27 2009,08:55

we saw a roseate spoonbill in the central part of the georgia coast (macintosh county).  they aren't supposed to be this far north...
Posted by: Bob O'H on June 27 2009,09:14

Damn those illegal immigrants!  Send 'em back where they came from!

As it's half-time in the rugby, I can ask for an identification of a bird.  I saw it last weekend in northern Helsinki.

It's pretty much in the middle of both shots:
< >

<
>
There are a couple more photos if you click through and look at the photostream, but they're not terribly good either.

Any ideas?  I know it's not a magpie.
Posted by: ppb on June 27 2009,10:46

Quote (Bob O'H @ June 27 2009,10:14)
Damn those illegal immigrants!  Send 'em back where they came from!

As it's half-time in the rugby, I can ask for an identification of a bird.  I saw it last weekend in northern Helsinki.

It's pretty much in the middle of both shots:
< >

<
>
There are a couple more photos if you click through and look at the photostream, but they're not terribly good either.

Any ideas?  I know it's not a magpie.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I broke out my German bird book.  It's hard to tell from the photos, but maybe a Great Grey Shrike.  Lanius excubitor.  German name is Raubwuerger.
Posted by: carlsonjok on June 28 2009,16:41

Found in our flowerbed/rock garden. Not particularly wild, but gave my wife, who was weeding, a start when it broke cover.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 28 2009,17:58

Quote (Bob O'H @ June 27 2009,09:14)
Any ideas?  I know it's not a magpie.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), based on plumage and bill structure (which is too delicate to be that of a shrike).

Lovely birds. I saw them in Scotland last year. They can be vagrants; there is actually one record for the state of Kansas from a few years back.

Here's a shot from google image search


Posted by: Bob O'H on June 29 2009,00:51

Thanks!  I'm surprised I've never seen it before.  Perhaps I've just not noticed.

I'm sat having breakfast to the sound of the swifts shrilling around outside chasing insects coming off the trees.  There are some benefits to living on the 8th floor.
Posted by: ppb on June 30 2009,21:56

Went to Cape Cod over the weekend.  When we came back from the beach we discovered a mom and her kids cavorting in our rental back yard.





I got to see lots of Ospreys too.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 04 2009,14:26

It is a cloudy Fourth of July here, but I managed to get some decent shots of a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, which is the state bird in Carlson's habitat. I can't believe that Oklahoma has a better state bird than Kansas, but it appears to be the case...




Posted by: ppb on July 06 2009,13:10

It is a beautiful day here, so I went to a local wildlife refuge for some lunch-time birding.  I saw my first < Black-billed Cuckoo >.  Now, I know with all the Creationists you guys deal with all the time that you've seen a lot of Cuckoos, but it was a first time for me.  

Very nice looking bird with red around the eyes.  Very secretive.  I almost missed him.
Posted by: Lou FCD on July 27 2009,11:02

I see a bunch of these around here. We just called them "grass spiders" growing up, but the body shape (what can be seen not covered with babies, anyway) doesn't look right to me and the closest thing the Audubon guide has a photo of is Lycosa rabida.









Bigger versions < at my Flickr page > by clicking "all sizes" just above each pic.
Posted by: rhmc on July 27 2009,20:09

Lycosidae of some flavor.  way cool with the babies.

we seem to get H. carolinensis inside sometimes.
had one live in the hall closet for weeks.
would only see it at night when it was roaming the hallway.
dunno what it lived on.
'twas big enough to tackle one of the cats...
Posted by: Lou FCD on July 27 2009,20:29

Yeah, she was a pretty good size.

Cruising around looking at photos, her coloring is kind of close to H. frondicola. You'd think those big light colored stripes along the cephalothorax would be a dead give away to her exact species, but that damned God Intelligent Designer is always trying to trick us...

ETA < some photos > of the aforementioned Rabid Wolf Spider (with updated taxonomy... Rabidosa rabida) at Bugguide.net.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 30 2009,17:29

Just back from a trip to Bellingham WA and Orcas Island, in the San Juan Archipelago. Found an interesting "starfish sandwich" at low tide on Orcas Island one day; two orange starfish on either side of a purple one.


Posted by: ppb on July 31 2009,19:26

I seem to be stuck on a wild turkey theme in this thread.

Came home from work and found this on the swing set:



After hanging out there for a bit he decided to head for a nearby tree:



He stayed there for another 10 or 15 minutes before making a break for it.

We'll sometimes get a dozen or more in our yard.  They have been making < a comeback > here in Eastern Massachusetts.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on July 31 2009,22:19

might be able to pick one of those dudes off with a wrist rocket.
Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 01 2009,09:57

I found the two feathers below in my backyard this morning. They're pretty big for most of the birds I see, with the exception of a Cooper's hawk that's attracted by the multitudinous finches that visit the feeders.

Any ideas what might have shed them?


Posted by: Dr.GH on Aug. 01 2009,11:15

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Aug. 01 2009,07:57)
I found the two feathers below in my backyard this morning. They're pretty big for most of the birds I see, with the exception of a Cooper's hawk that's attracted by the multitudinous finches that visit the feeders.

Any ideas what might have shed them?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hawk for sure.

How many of the posts here will be entered in the PT photo contest? There are some real contenders.


Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 01 2009,12:24

Quote (Dr.GH @ Aug. 01 2009,11:15)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Aug. 01 2009,07:57)
I found the two feathers below in my backyard this morning. They're pretty big for most of the birds I see, with the exception of a Cooper's hawk that's attracted by the multitudinous finches that visit the feeders.

Any ideas what might have shed them?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hawk for sure.

How many of the posts here will be entered in the PT photo contest? There are some real contenders.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, it's my friend the "Coop." I should've done teh googlez before asking here:


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 01 2009,12:45

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Aug. 01 2009,09:57)
I found the two feathers below in my backyard this morning. They're pretty big for most of the birds I see, with the exception of a Cooper's hawk that's attracted by the multitudinous finches that visit the feeders.

Any ideas what might have shed them?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Another excellent resource is the < Flight Feathers of N. American Birds > website.

Looks like a Coop to me too.
Posted by: subkumquat on Aug. 03 2009,00:13

Few from a recent outing a couple of miles from home.

Saw this guy in a tree while looking for egrets. First one I've seen in a while.


Decided to go in for a closer look, which meant walking through all sorts of nasty stuff.

Saw dragons along the way.


If you've ever "stalked" an osprey or other bird of prey, then you've probably gotten "The Look" at least once. It's a powerful stare...one that tells you that 8/10ths of the bird's vocabulary consists of synonyms for eviscerate and that he's always looking to add new ones. I received "The Look" quite often as I made my way down the edge of the bank towards the osprey.



While I was fixated on the osprey, another party came into play out of nowhere. From my left, almost sprinting through the water, was this tricolored heron.





I waited for 30+ minutes for the osprey to go fishing. He never did. At least the heron went for something to eat, even if the stupid osprey wouldn't.







It was tough to frame shots of him given my location and his. I had one foot stuck ankle-deep in black mud and he was often behind reeds.

I swear he sneezed. I probably have the heron flu now.



What would chairs look like if our knees were like this?



Stupid osprey is probably still in that damned tree.


Posted by: Jim_Wynne on Aug. 03 2009,10:17

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 01 2009,12:45)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Aug. 01 2009,09:57)
I found the two feathers below in my backyard this morning. They're pretty big for most of the birds I see, with the exception of a Cooper's hawk that's attracted by the multitudinous finches that visit the feeders.

Any ideas what might have shed them?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Another excellent resource is the < Flight Feathers of N. American Birds > website.

Looks like a Coop to me too.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks for that link.  Not only does it confirm the type, but based on some of the info there it looks like the feathers might have come from a young'un.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 03 2009,17:17



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
What would chairs look like if our knees were like this?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Are those its knees or its ankles?
Posted by: carlsonjok on Aug. 21 2009,19:23

New pictures taken from my property.

A flock of young wild turkeys I saw wandering off of my north pasture onto my neighbors property.



This fellow I named Jabba the Toad.



I mistook this guy for a leaf at first.  The picture lacks some detail since I resized it down from the 6Meg, 3130 x 2075 original.  it was about 4 inches across from wingtip to wingtip. Any idea what it is?


Posted by: rhmc on Aug. 21 2009,19:43

luna moth
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 21 2009,19:48

Quote (carlsonjok @ Aug. 21 2009,20:23)
I mistook this guy for a leaf at first.  The picture lacks some detail since I resized it down from the 6Meg, 3130 x 2075 original.  it was about 4 inches across from wingtip to wingtip. Any idea what it is?


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's a Luna moth, < Actias luna >, as you would know if you'd looked back < through this very thread >.


Posted by: Timothy McDougald on Aug. 21 2009,19:59

I saw a hawk in the parking lot at my wife's work a couple of days ago. It had caught a smaller bird and was trying to eat it. Our, unfortunate, arrival distracted the hawk and the smaller bird got away. The hawk seemed to be a bit vexed with us after that. eventually flew off. Unfortunately, I didn't have my cell phone so no pictures. Later in the day I received some payback as I was sitting at a picnic table and a rather largish spider fell, or jumped since it was spinning a thread of web as it landed on my arm. I shook it off and it proceeded to act feisty and intimidating till I moved to a different bench. It then jumped onto the bench I had vacated - a distance of about a foot. Second time this year I have had a spider land on me from the trees near that picnic table. Doesn't seem to happen to my coworkers so I am developing a complex.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 21 2009,19:59



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I mistook this guy for a leaf at first.  The picture lacks some detail since I resized it down from the 6Meg, 3130 x 2075 original.  it was about 4 inches across from wingtip to wingtip. Any idea what it is?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


An insect? :p
Posted by: carlsonjok on Aug. 21 2009,19:59

Moo-Joes grassy-ass.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 21 2009,20:30

Day knotta, for my part.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 21 2009,21:14



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Second time this year I have had a spider land on me from the trees near that picnic table. Doesn't seem to happen to my coworkers so I am developing a complex.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Is that complex specified or unspecified? :p

Henry
Posted by: Arden Chatfield on Aug. 21 2009,23:22

This morning I saw a Nuttall's Woodpecker going up and down a telephone pole very industriously. It must have been a very frustrating experience for the little guy.   ???
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on Aug. 22 2009,09:57

Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 21 2009,21:14)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Second time this year I have had a spider land on me from the trees near that picnic table. Doesn't seem to happen to my coworkers so I am developing a complex.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Is that complex specified or unspecified? :p

Henry
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Specified - although I haven't determined if it is functionally specified   ;)
Posted by: Alan Fox on Aug. 24 2009,12:36



Evidence of intelligent design?

Spotted on a walk near my home this weekend.
Posted by: RDK on Aug. 24 2009,17:20

Apply the Explanatory Filter!
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 24 2009,19:46



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Evidence of intelligent design?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What, exactly, is supposed to be intelligent about that, er, formation? :p
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Aug. 24 2009,19:51

i really like this blog

< http://rockpiles.blogspot.com/ >
Posted by: Alan Fox on Aug. 25 2009,05:55

Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 24 2009,14:46)
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Evidence of intelligent design?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What, exactly, is supposed to be intelligent about that, er, formation? :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



What are you insinuating?

Another view for clarification.


Posted by: deadman_932 on Aug. 30 2009,00:49


Here's what's been in my backyard-ish area lately. No worries, it's far away, but I liked this shot.
Posted by: bfish on Aug. 30 2009,01:42

I've been trying to follow this fire via the web, as it is in my old haunts. I guess I could not ride my bike up Angeles Crest Highway right now, eh?
The online maps kind of look like it is encroaching on JPL. Is that true? is it moving towards Pasadena?
Posted by: deadman_932 on Aug. 30 2009,14:36

The USDF closed some roads, as did Caltrans -- or limited access. It's pretty smoky in the area, so I dunno if *I'd* be biking up there anyway.

< http://portal.lacounty.gov/wps....09_0930 >



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Road Closures:

Soledad Cyn. Road between about soledad Cyn road (santa clarita side) to Bootlegger Road in Acton, agua dulce cyn Road and a section of the 14 fwy.

ANGELES CREST HWY @ VISTA DEL VALLE

ANGELES CREST HWY @ STARLIGHT CREST

ANGELES CREST HWY BETWEEN LA CANADA AND BIG PINES HWY

STARLIGHT CREST @ GREENRIDGE

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST CLOSED

SOLEDAD CANYON AT 14 / AGUA DULCE AT 14 / ESCONDIDO AT 14 / RED ROVER AT 14 SOLEDAD CYN AT SIERRA


---------------------QUOTE-------------------



JPL should be fine, I can't imagine the kind of firestorm that would have to hit to put that site in real danger.

What with the very slight wind conditions, the fires have been kinda crawling around over the terrain, mostly moving north-westish, taking out some stuff that hasn't been burned in 20 years, minimum. I hate to be overly-optimistic, but it really doesn't look too bad in terms of human losses (3 structures).
Posted by: bfish on Aug. 31 2009,14:19

Quote (deadman_932 @ Aug. 30 2009,12:36)
JPL should be fine, I can't imagine the kind of firestorm that would have to hit to put that site in real danger.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


From < JPL website: >


JPL Update
August 30, 2009 5 p.m.

Fire conditions around JPL have continued to improve throughout the day, and the Lab is no longer threatened by the Station Fire.  However, there has been heavy smoke in the area.  To ensure acceptable air quality for employee safety, JPL will be closed Monday except for mission-critical personnel.


Also, it looks like the fire is creeping east above Sierra Madre, by favorite little burgh.
Posted by: dogdidit on Aug. 31 2009,16:44

Quote (Alan Fox @ Aug. 24 2009,12:36)


Evidence of intelligent design?

Spotted on a walk near my home this weekend.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's an < inukshuk >, an Inuit land marker. Evidence of davetard.
Posted by: bfish on Sep. 02 2009,14:47

Quote (bfish @ Aug. 31 2009,12:19)
Also, it looks like the fire is creeping east above Sierra Madre, by favorite little burgh.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yikes!

The lead headline at the moment in today's < LATimes.com: >

Station wildfire marches east toward Sierra Madre

Sounds like it is well into the mountains there rather than threatening neighborhoods, but yikes! It's burning places I have hiked through. I might have to visit later this month, when the fire is hopefully long gone, and see what things look like.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 05 2009,10:21

Went down to North Topsail Beach last night to sit a nest of (probably) Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta, for a few hours. Alas, the turtles chose not to hatch last night, so no pictures of them.

I did however catch a few shots of shore birds (not great shots), the sunset (pretty pinks and oranges), the moon (one shot caught a plane crossing the face), and Jupiter with Callisto and Ganymede.

< The set is here >, on Flickr.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 06 2009,19:05

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 05 2009,10:21)
Went down to North Topsail Beach last night to sit a nest of (probably) Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta, for a few hours. Alas, the turtles chose not to hatch last night, so no pictures of them.

I did however catch a few shots of shore birds (not great shots), the sunset (pretty pinks and oranges), the moon (one shot caught a plane crossing the face), and Jupiter with Callisto and Ganymede.

< The set is here >, on Flickr.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice pics!

Isn't Topsail where Jesse Helms had a beach house?

Can't blame them turtles; I wouldn't want to be born near there either  ???
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 07 2009,00:27

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Sep. 06 2009,20:05)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 05 2009,10:21)
Went down to North Topsail Beach last night to sit a nest of (probably) Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta, for a few hours. Alas, the turtles chose not to hatch last night, so no pictures of them.

I did however catch a few shots of shore birds (not great shots), the sunset (pretty pinks and oranges), the moon (one shot caught a plane crossing the face), and Jupiter with Callisto and Ganymede.

< The set is here >, on Flickr.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice pics!

Isn't Topsail where Jesse Helms had a beach house?

Can't blame them turtles; I wouldn't want to be born near there either  ???
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks Alby. I don't know about Jesse owning a house there, though it wouldn't surprise me. I would, if I could afford it.

Night three of sitting the nest, and still no turtles. Two other nests laid the same day hatched last week a few miles up the beach. One hatched this evening about a mile up from where we are, but I didn't get to see it.

There seems to be a depression in the nest area, but that's just as likely to be wishful thinking as it is hatching turtles. The night wasn't as good for photos as the last two nights, but I haven't downloaded the shots to the laptop yet. I'll do that tomorrow and add any decent ones to the set.
Posted by: Zarquon on Sep. 07 2009,03:30



Ringneck parrot in my front yard.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 07 2009,07:57

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 07 2009,00:27)
Thanks Alby. I don't know about Jesse owning a house there, though it wouldn't surprise me. I would, if I could afford it.

Night three of sitting the nest, and still no turtles. Two other nests laid the same day hatched last week a few miles up the beach. One hatched this evening about a mile up from where we are, but I didn't get to see it.

There seems to be a depression in the nest area, but that's just as likely to be wishful thinking as it is hatching turtles. The night wasn't as good for photos as the last two nights, but I haven't downloaded the shots to the laptop yet. I'll do that tomorrow and add any decent ones to the set.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm not sure I want a beach house there, given the transient nature of barrier islands, but I'd definitely like to have the money needed to even enter into that discussion! We've spent many weeks on Carolina beaches near Wilmington, and it is a lovely part of the world. Here's a story that will definitely date me!

The very first year that we spent a week on Ocean Isle with my brother, sister-in-law and their sons, we were out on the beach after dark and discovered a line of baby turtles wandering vaguely oceanward. This was before the days of the Turtle Patrol and the crime-scene tape and the nest monitoring and all of the other trappings that make a turtle nest hatching seem like a tightly-controlled event. We found the nest by following the line of turtles toward the high-tide line, it was, as with most nests in those days, completely unmarked by tape and stay-off warnings.

Some of the baby turtles were heading toward the lights of the houses, others were being attacked by large fiddler crabs, and a few were being threatened by kids with fireworks. So we shooed off the kids and the fiddler crabs, and dug a shallow trench from the nest toward the water. We probably didn't follow all the protocols that the Turtle Patrol folks would dictate; we even picked up a couple of those headed in the wrong direction and sent them toward the ocean, and I'm pretty sure that actual turtle contact is verboten these days! I took pictures with a flash on the camera, and I know that is verboten too. But we did our best, and probably saved a few turtles from an early death on the beach. We stayed until the turtles stopped coming out of the ground, and that was far past my regular bedtime!

That was the only time I've seen baby turtles. On subsequent trips we've sat with the Turtle Patrol folks, like you, and waited for nests to hatch, but no luck. One year I found the tracks where a female had lumbered up onto the beach to lay her eggs, but by the time I got back to the house to tell the others the Patrol had already cordoned off the area and were busy shooing folks away. The Ocean Isle Turtle Patrol can be a tad officious... I don't really blame them for their concern, but some of them could use a bit of help with their "people skills".

Enjoy your watching, and take lots of pics (without flash, of course). And you might enjoy some < pictures > that my friend Judd Patterson (a world-class photographer!) took of a Green sea turtle laying her eggs on a Florida beach recently.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 07 2009,09:56

Thanks for sharing, those are great shots.

No turtles last night, but I added a few more pics to the set.

You're right about the flash, but the Sea Turtle Hospital folks will pick up a turtle and get him pointed in the right direction if he's headed the wrong way. A ghost crab popped up in the sand in the nest area last night, and Sandy didn't think twice about shooing him away.

Our Turtle Patrol folks have been awesome, welcoming and educating, answering the same ten questions from the public over and over as new people come by to take a gander.

I seem to have annoyed this Great Black-Backed Gull (Larus marinus) enough that he let me know about it.



Dude, I just wanted a picture!

This little sandpiper dude looks like a Sanderling to me (Calidris alba?), but I don't know.



Sandpipers are hard for me to sort. There's like two basic kinds in my head. The little guys like that one, and then the tall lanky sort like this one:



The pelicans are tough because they're always flying parallel to the shore and a bit out, and it's hard to get a non-blurry shot of them.



And during a all-too-brief break in the very heavy cloud cover last night, I managed to catch Jupiter with all four Galileans showing for the astronomy buffs:



Left to right, they are Callisto, Io, Ganymede, Jupiter, and Europa.
Posted by: ppb on Sep. 07 2009,15:12

Lou,
Very nice pics.  As an astronomy buff, I particularly like the Jupiter shots.  How did you get them?

I was out on Cape Cod this past week and saw lots of seals.  They are very popular with the sharks however, and they closed the beach at Chatham due to some great white sightings.  We also saw a lot of whale spouts from the cliffs in Truro, and even saw a whale doing some pretty aggressive tail slapping.

I didn't get many wildlife pictures, but did get this picture of < the moon rising over Nauset Beach >.

The turtle watching sounds really interesting.  Keep up the reports.
Posted by: khan on Sep. 07 2009,18:53

I went on a 10 day leatherback turtle expedition with Earthwatch back in '93 (earthwatch.org) in St Croix USVI.

We intercepted & relocated eggs (beach erosion) retrieved hatchlings headed the wrong way, dug out nests (& the PhDs recorded hatched & unhatched & took latter for genetic tests), they took blood samples from turtle moms.

We located one w/ a radio harness: ancient large creature with antenna (cool & weird).

Standing on the point in the moonless night, in the trade winds, & the rolling surf: I guess as close to a spiritual experience as I will have.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 07 2009,19:39

just fly rodded a shit ton of smallmouth, longears, bluegill and a lone rock bass.  floated the most magnificent upper Clinch River on the VA/TN border.  If you don't like that sort of thing then you don't like nothing!

saw two deer, a million green herons, about 5 big blue herons, millions of plover(?), kingfishers, an osprey and what looked to be some sort of Falco sp that I don't know jack squat about.  Also saw a few gar, couple dozen giant Carpus delecti and a ton of stonerollers.  mussel shells pave the bottom and snails cover them in the shoals.  this is above all the dams which have ruined a beautiful river and treasure chest of freshwater biological diversity.

FUCK YOU TVA
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 07 2009,19:50

Quote (ppb @ Sep. 07 2009,16:12)
Lou,
Very nice pics.  As an astronomy buff, I particularly like the Jupiter shots.  How did you get them?

I was out on Cape Cod this past week and saw lots of seals.  They are very popular with the sharks however, and they closed the beach at Chatham due to some great white sightings.  We also saw a lot of whale spouts from the cliffs in Truro, and even saw a whale doing some pretty aggressive tail slapping.

I didn't get many wildlife pictures, but did get this picture of < the moon rising over Nauset Beach >.

The turtle watching sounds really interesting.  Keep up the reports.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks.

I used a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS with a 300mm lens and a tripod. < Here's the meta-data for that shot >.

Mostly, I use the LouFCD Photography Method: Take lots of pictures while fooling with the buttons, and hope some of them come out good.

That's a pretty good moon shot of your own there. I like it. I'd love to do a whale cruise once. That'd be pretty frickin' awesome. We see some dolphins from shore here pretty regularly, but I think being out on the water while checking out the marine mammals would be the end all and be all of my week, at least. :)

I have a head cold and a ton of homework, and it's pouring out and I have an 8AM class, so no nest-sitting for me tonight. Of course that means the little bastards will hatch tonight.

The nest assessment will be done on Wednesday night for the nest that hatched up the beach from us last night. I'm going to try to make that, for sure.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 08 2009,19:37

Out back of the Natural Science building, we have a Science Garden. It attracts butterflies.

Today I caught a few with the camera:

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio palamedes) in the Science Garden today.



And we know that for certain as we can see the stripe on the underside of the wing, so we know it's not a Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).



I also caught this Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), a little later.



He was joined briefly by a friend.



One of them bailed, and this Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) took his place.



And then the other Silver Spotted flew the coop, leaving only the Fiery.



At some point, I also caught this as-yet-unidentified butterfly.



So far, I've narrowed it down taxonomically to "Yellow Butterfly".
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 08 2009,21:33

So, whose tail does the swallowtail swallow? :)
Posted by: sledgehammer on Sep. 09 2009,00:51

Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 08 2009,19:33)
So, whose tail does the swallowtail swallow? :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


All the tales that a swallowtail would swallow if a swallowtail could swallow tales?
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 09 2009,10:45

lou it's probably a Pierid if that helps.

i think i spelled that right.

that narrows it down to about 10 billion
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 09 2009,10:59

On the wildlife theme, but also in the spirit of pure stupid, here's a < link > to a church (and fossil courtyard) featuring the "World's Largest Horseshoe Crab".



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The horseshoe crab splinters the evolutionary theory as it has not changed( as the fossil record shows) since it's creation on Day 5
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



This place has to be on the must-see list for at least one Topekan.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 09 2009,14:21

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Sep. 09 2009,11:45)
lou it's probably a Pierid if that helps.

i think i spelled that right.

that narrows it down to about 10 billion
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Actually, that helped a lot, 'Ras, as there are only 1100 species in the Pieridae family according to Wikipedia. In any event, that narrowed it down greatly, and I think I've got it down to two.

It looks to me like an < Orange Sulphur > (Colias eurytheme) or a < Clouded Sulphur > (C. philodice), or something closely related. There seems to be great skepticism of the Cloudeds being extant on the coast, so it's probably an Orange if it's either of those. It looks more like the Clouded to me, but I'm not a lepidopterist, so...

I sent an email off to my state butterfly guy from < butterfliesandmoths.org >, asking if he might take a look. I'll let you know if/when I hear something back.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 09 2009,18:02

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Sep. 09 2009,11:45)
lou it's probably a Pierid if that helps.

i think i spelled that right.

that narrows it down to about 10 billion
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae).

Very kindly identified for me by Harry LeGrand of the NC Natural Heritage Program.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 09 2009,21:19

wow that is a big gun.  sorta like pulling out a nuke to shoot a skunk.  how'd you pull that off?

ETA  never mind.  Harry LeGrand does spot email butterfly ID's?  what a guy.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 09 2009,23:27

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Sep. 09 2009,22:19)
wow that is a big gun.  sorta like pulling out a nuke to shoot a skunk.  how'd you pull that off?

ETA  never mind.  Harry LeGrand does spot email butterfly ID's?  what a guy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I sent him an email and asked.

Simple as that.

:)
Posted by: rhmc on Sep. 10 2009,11:43

did the turkles hatch yet?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 10 2009,12:34

Quote (rhmc @ Sep. 10 2009,12:43)
did the turkles hatch yet?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't know about my nest. I haven't been back or heard anything since Sunday night. According to the Sea Turtle Hospital website though, it has not. I don't know how often they update, though.

I didn't make the nest analyses last night for the two nests that hatched Sunday. I've been battling some jungle lung disease, and just couldn't make it.

ETA: I see that the Sea Turtle Hospital folks updated as recently as yesterday, with a nest hatching the night before last. Mine had not yet hatched to that point.


Posted by: carlsonjok on Sep. 10 2009,12:56

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 10 2009,12:34)
Quote (rhmc @ Sep. 10 2009,12:43)
did the turkles hatch yet?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't know about my nest. I haven't been back or heard anything since Sunday night. According to the Sea Turtle Hospital website though, it has not. I don't know how often they update, though.

I didn't make the nest analyses last night for the two nests that hatched Sunday. I've been battling some jungle lung disease, and just couldn't make it.

ETA: I see that the Sea Turtle Hospital folks updated as recently as yesterday, with a nest hatching the night before last. Mine had not yet hatched to that point.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Here is a turkle picture to hold you all over.


Posted by: deadman_932 on Sep. 10 2009,14:11

Re carlson's post above: Awww. That was a good guy.

I bet HE wouldn't let a minor thing like possible pulmonary edema stop him in his quest for understanding the mighty sea turtle.

Why, I bet he'd cough up a lung just to use it as a floatation device as he snorkled the seas in search of baby turtles. The utes of today are but a pale shadow of such giants, I tells ya.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 13 2009,14:01



Spiny Backed Orb Weaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis or Gasteracantha elipsoides depending on who you ask, apparently). Also sometimes called a Jewel Box Spider.

I walked outside today to find five individuals and their webs.

I had to chase this little guy all over the garden to get a decent picture of him:



I haven't had time to look him up yet, though.
Posted by: fusilier on Sep. 14 2009,13:58

I know...I know, without a picture it really didn't happen.

We have a red-tail hawk in our Indianapolis neighborhood, sat in a tree next door for a good ten minutes while we (My Beloved and Darling Wife and I) glassed it.

Lovely bird.
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 14 2009,20:35



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I know, without a picture it really didn't happen.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Does that mean I didn't really see that lizard scamper across the sidewalk the other day? :p

Henry
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on Sep. 15 2009,17:42

Tourista snaps from Jellystone Park:






The Zombiecoons next door (2 different nights):




Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 16 2009,05:43

Barn Spider (Neoscona crucifera), near as I can tell.


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 17 2009,04:25

OK, I got the following pics in email and a request for identification. Any international herpetologists in the house? These were taken in Lagos, Nigeria.





And here is the text of the email:

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Please find attached 2 photos of an animal (probably a reptile/amphibian)
i saw lying on the fence of my house. Could you help identify what
particular animal it is? The picture resolution might not be so great
because i took the photo with my mobile phone standing in my room
upstairs. I believe it came from the bush behind the wall. Also note that
the bush is in a marshy land - its a bit water logged.

I came across your website on the internet when i googled for online
zoologist.

Regards,

Gbenga Fasusi.
+2348056702776
(from Lagos, Nigeria)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: jswilkins on Sep. 17 2009,05:31

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 17 2009,19:25)
OK, I got the following pics in email and a request for identification. Any international herpetologists in the house? These were taken in Lagos, Nigeria.





---------------------QUOTE-------------------

[/quote]
I think it's a Varanus niloticus or Varanus exanthematicus; a monitor lizard. Probably the latter:

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savannah_monitor >
Posted by: bfish on Sep. 17 2009,12:03

Quote (jswilkins @ Sep. 17 2009,03:31)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 17 2009,19:25)
OK, I got the following pics in email and a request for identification. Any international herpetologists in the house? These were taken in Lagos, Nigeria.





---------------------QUOTE-------------------


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it's a Varanus niloticus or Varanus exanthematicus; a monitor lizard. Probably the latter:

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savannah_monitor >[/quote]


Definitely a monitor species.

I'm no expert, but Wilkins seems to have nailed it with his first try, Varanus niloticus.

The google images for that species look awfully like that feller, and the
< wiki page > on it says the Nile Monitor is happy in the water. Gets to be awfully big, as well.

ETA: In thinking Nile Monitor, I'm looking at the stripes made up of little ovals. Seems like they might be diagnostic.

ETA II: not sure why I'm having such formatting issues lately when quoting.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 17 2009,13:55

I found a pretty little Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) in my bush this morning:



...and got a neat shot of one of my new pet Spiny-backed Orbweavers (Gasteracantha cancriformis or Gasteracantha elipsoides - What's up with the naming thing, btw? Pick one, please!) finishing up some lunch:


Posted by: Bob O'H on Sep. 17 2009,15:53



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Gasteracantha cancriformis or Gasteracantha elipsoides - What's up with the naming thing, btw? Pick one, please!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I know.  I had great fun a few years ago with the < scarlet tiger moth >.  It started out as Panaxia dominula, and ended up as Callimorpha dominula.  Along the way it got called Callimorpha (Panaxia) dominula.  I was using material from all 3 time periods, so the bloody thing kept on changing.

Mind you, this is even worse for mycologists.  They give different names to the sexual and asexual phases.  Which was a relief when the discovered that Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides is really two Tapesia species.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 17 2009,19:16

Back when I lived in San Diego, I was renting a house on Point Loma, about 200' away from the intersection of Nimitz Boulevard and Rosecrans. Even in that developed area, we got visitations from possums and raccons, unwelcome because we kept the hawks and pigeons in our back yard. One night, we got turned out and found there were at least five raccoons in the yard. At first I thought I was pretty vicious in the way I chased them out, but afterwards we discovered that while they had not gone after the hawks, they had eaten one of our pigeons by ripping it apart and pulling pieces out of the cage. At that point, I felt I had not been vicious enough.
Posted by: Louis on Sep. 17 2009,19:24

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 17 2009,19:55)
I found a pretty little Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) in my bush this morning:

[SNIP]
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


{Sounds of extreme straining}

Nnnnnnnnooooo. Mustn't do it. Nnnnnnnnoonononononono. Hold on tight. No. No. No.

{Sound of willpower snapping like 6 inch thick steel rope on a breakaway oil tanker}


Painful. I have a cream for that if you'd like.

Damn. Back to therapy.

Louis
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 17 2009,20:01

Quote (Louis @ Sep. 17 2009,20:24)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 17 2009,19:55)
I found a pretty little Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) in my bush this morning:

[SNIP]
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


{Sounds of extreme straining}

Nnnnnnnnooooo. Mustn't do it. Nnnnnnnnoonononononono. Hold on tight. No. No. No.

{Sound of willpower snapping like 6 inch thick steel rope on a breakaway oil tanker}


Painful. I have a cream for that if you'd like.

Damn. Back to therapy.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You are getting very slow in your decrepitude. I thought you'd have been all over that within minutes.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 17 2009,20:02

Quote (Bob O'H @ Sep. 17 2009,16:53)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Gasteracantha cancriformis or Gasteracantha elipsoides - What's up with the naming thing, btw? Pick one, please!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I know.  I had great fun a few years ago with the < scarlet tiger moth >.  It started out as Panaxia dominula, and ended up as Callimorpha dominula.  Along the way it got called Callimorpha (Panaxia) dominula.  I was using material from all 3 time periods, so the bloody thing kept on changing.

Mind you, this is even worse for mycologists.  They give different names to the sexual and asexual phases.  Which was a relief when the discovered that Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides is really two Tapesia species.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's all very annoying.

*shakes fist at all you damned Biologists*







oh wait...
Posted by: Louis on Sep. 17 2009,20:06

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 18 2009,02:01)
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 17 2009,20:24)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 17 2009,19:55)
I found a pretty little Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) in my bush this morning:

[SNIP]
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


{Sounds of extreme straining}

Nnnnnnnnooooo. Mustn't do it. Nnnnnnnnoonononononono. Hold on tight. No. No. No.

{Sound of willpower snapping like 6 inch thick steel rope on a breakaway oil tanker}


Painful. I have a cream for that if you'd like.

Damn. Back to therapy.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You are getting very slow in your decrepitude. I thought you'd have been all over that within minutes.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had duct taped myself to a distant chair to prevent that comment. Luckily I escaped by chewing my own limbs off and typed that message with my nose.

I give myself a C-, could try harder.

Louis
Posted by: Richardthughes on Sep. 17 2009,20:25

Good pics, Lou. You has teh_gift!!!1111
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 17 2009,20:34

Thanks Rich, I'm working on mah skilz.

You might find < some of these > to your liking, too.

;)
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 18 2009,11:13

Nice thread. Pity I'm late to this party.

I got into birding a few years ago and I have worked on creating a set of wildlife habitat zones in my backyard. Sadly I have rural 300 acre aspiration on a suburban 1/3 acre lot here in Northern Virginia, but hey...I can dream.

I have managed to get some unusual (for my local) migrants to stop by, in particular a few Rose-breasted grosbeaks, both Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a pair of nesting Mallards (there's no water within a few miles of my house folks, nevermind no real cover - move along), and a flock (not in the hundreds, but more than I could count) Cedar Waxwings (them's Red Mulberries are apparently good eatin'). The most spectacular was an enormous female Red-tailed who thought the yard (and neighborhood as a whole) was just peachy, though it did make me wonder what food-source critters were around in enough abundance that kept her around for 6 months or so. We do regularly get Cooper's, but a Red-tail (as I understand it) doesn't general eat feeder birds, so that perplexed me. Currently I'm trying to make a good snag for a pair of Northern Flickers who have taken a liking to my yard. We'll see how that goes since several Red-bellied, Harrys and Downys are also vying for lodging space.

As far as unual encounters goes though, nothing (yet) beats the Rough-legged hawk I saw at a nearby pond two weeks ago. Seems very out-of-character given the information I've read, but I'd be interested in any information from the resident ornithologists here on that one. Beautiful bird and not nearly as skittish as most of the other resident hawks around these parts.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 18 2009,13:12

Better late than never, Robin.

Today I found a very calm lizard who let me get very up close and personal,



and a very angry spider.



(In all fairness to the spider, I'd be kinda cranky too, were I missing a few appendages.)
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 18 2009,14:23

[quote=Lou FCD,Sep. 18 2009,13:12][/quote]
Better late than never, Robin.

Today I found a very calm lizard...



and a very angry spider.



(In all fairness to the spider, I'd be kinda cranky too, were I missing a few appendages.)


Hmmm...Mr. Cranky Spider looks suspiciously like a Brown Recluse. They can be VERY cranky indeed! I'm surprised he didn't try to take your camera away!


< http://images.search.yahoo.com/images....vadfvcn >


< http://www.brownreclusespider.com/info.htm >
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 18 2009,16:15

Quote (Robin @ Sep. 18 2009,15:23)
Hmmm...Mr. Cranky Spider looks suspiciously like a Brown Recluse. They can be VERY cranky indeed! I'm surprised he didn't try to take your camera away!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's where I keep ending up too, though Mr. Cranky doesn't have the signature violin on the back, the front end coloration is kinda off, and though it's hard to say for sure, I think Mr. Cranky has eight eyes in three rows (2-4-2, it looks to me like) where Loxosceles reclusa has only six, arranged in one row of three pairs.

< Here's the big size >.
Posted by: Richardthughes on Sep. 18 2009,16:27

You're getting far too good at this biology thing, Lou. Back to lolcats and crossdressing, puh-lease.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 18 2009,18:10

Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 18 2009,17:27)
You're getting far too good at this biology thing, Lou. Back to lolcats and crossdressing, puh-lease.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


:) I'll get out the little red dress this weekend, just for you. I hope it still fits!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 19 2009,16:38

We started the process of moving the Science Garden at school this morning to make way for some construction. While in the midst of that, I took a few shots.

Anybody got an idea as to what sort of caterpillar this is?

Here's the head:



and the tail:



we found this really honkin' big Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia). She was close in to the wall, and it was difficult to get anything of her dorsal side.



She had a pretty shadow, too:



Who says Biologists are serious all the time?



That's a live Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging from his ear. That's why Coastal pays him the big bucks. To entertain us. (Also maybe because he's almost a Dr.)

We keep these Pitcher Plants in both purple and yellow (Sarracenia flava)varieties:



and of course our indigenous Flytraps, the ever popular and also carnivorous Dionaea muscipula:



and I got a really nice shot of this Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)



It was a good day.
Posted by: rhmc on Sep. 19 2009,19:14

the 'pillar would appear to be one of the Hyles gallii flavors....

ETA:  http://usmo4.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Caterpillars
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 19 2009,19:49

Quote (rhmc @ Sep. 19 2009,20:14)
the 'pillar would appear to be one of the Hyles gallii flavors....

ETA:  http://usmo4.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Caterpillars
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's the one, thanks! I was having a time trying to find it.
Posted by: George on Sep. 21 2009,07:47

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
We keep these Pitcher Plants in both purple and yellow (Sarracenia flava)varieties:

(snip image)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You might be interested to hear that North American pitcher plants (S. purpurea) have been introduced to Irish bogs, where they are highly invasive.  One ecosystem's pretty plant is another's plague!

 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
Who says Biologists are serious all the time?

(snip image)

That's a live Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging from his ear. That's why Coastal pays him the big bucks. To entertain us. (Also maybe because he's almost a Dr.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When I was on staff at Boy Scout camp I'd hang live skinks from my ear to amaze the kids for peanuts.  Had no idea there was a big market for it.
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 21 2009,10:07

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 18 2009,16:15)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Quote (Robin @ Sep. 18 2009,15:23)
Hmmm...Mr. Cranky Spider looks suspiciously like a Brown Recluse. They can be VERY cranky indeed! I'm surprised he didn't try to take your camera away!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's where I keep ending up too, though Mr. Cranky doesn't have the signature violin on the back, the front end coloration is kinda off, and though it's hard to say for sure, I think Mr. Cranky has eight eyes in three rows (2-4-2, it looks to me like) where Loxosceles reclusa has only six, arranged in one row of three pairs.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Hmmm...you got me thinking and doing some research. Came up with either a male Southern House Spider (Kukulcania (Filistata) hibernalis):
< http://images.search.yahoo.com/images....04ljfsq >

See also:

< http://www.spiderzrule.com/housespider.htm >

Or maybe a male Brown House Spider (Steatoda grossa):

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_house_spider >

Not much else fits the description.

I found a really beautiful female Flat-faced Spider crawling around on my screen door on Saturday.

And that is a great photo of an Agiope, Lou! Nice stuff!
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 21 2009,10:11

Ooops...Broad-faced Sac Spider:

< http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/broad-faced-sac-spider >
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,18:45

Quote (George @ Sep. 21 2009,08:47)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
We keep these Pitcher Plants in both purple and yellow (Sarracenia flava)varieties:

(snip image)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You might be interested to hear that North American pitcher plants (S. purpurea) have been introduced to Irish bogs, where they are highly invasive.  One ecosystem's pretty plant is another's plague!

 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
Who says Biologists are serious all the time?

(snip image)

That's a live Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging from his ear. That's why Coastal pays him the big bucks. To entertain us. (Also maybe because he's almost a Dr.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


When I was on staff at Boy Scout camp I'd hang live skinks from my ear to amaze the kids for peanuts.  Had no idea there was a big market for it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


First breathtakingly inane creationism, then invasive pitcher plants! We're like the STI that keeps on giving.

My subsequent understanding is that this lizard-earring-for-entertainment trick has been done to death. I enjoyed it anyway, and will perform this trick at parties nonetheless.

Mostly because it entertains me, I don't even give a damn about the audience... :)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,18:46

Robin, that certainly is closer than anything else I've found so far. I'll have to look into that. Thanks for the lead, and for the compliments on the photos.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,19:17

Yesterday around dawn, Doc and I took a trip to a not-so-far-away undisclosed location in a pine savanna. We got positively eaten alive by mosquitoes, just to bring you all some lovely photos.

I took about 300 pictures, around 25-30% of which might be worth looking at. That's way too many to post here, so here are some highlights:

Some pretty purple flowers that came out nice



Mr. Bee, early in the morning



A pretty little orb weaver that I haven't gotten a positive ID on yet, but might be closely related to the marbled (Araneus marmoreus)



A long way off, my 300mm long lens all the way out in very early morning light and lots of shadows, but this is probably my best shot of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) we saw playing with a couple of Downies



Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus)



I managed to get a dorsal view of a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) to go with the ventral shots of the one I took at school on Saturday



A really pretty red dragonfly. I haven't even thought about tracking IDs down for the different colored dragonflies I shot



I think this is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), we saw both a male and female (this is the female)



Some Yellow Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia flava). (We saw about every damned type of carnivorous plant indigenous to the area out there!)



Note the folded-over hood that distinguishes the Yellow from the Purple (pictured in my previous post).

A Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) that I think came out rather nicely



I even got a shot just for 'Ras, though I haven't even begun to try to figure out what it is



But the highlight of the day was when Doc stopped and pointed to a little butterfly that was acting very very strangely. For all the world, it looked like this guy was walking backwards up the stem of a flower



When the wind blew a little bit, we got an explanation for the butterfly's strange behavior



And then a much better view of this little predator, a crab spider I haven't identified yet



Doc smiled, and said to me

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
That's Nature, red in tooth and claw.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Sweet.

The entire set of half-way decent photos can be found in this set called < Daybreak in the Pine Savanna > on my Flickr page for anyone who cares to peruse.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 21 2009,20:10

amanita something or the other.  probly, it's hard to tell. without a picture of the volva
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,20:58

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Sep. 21 2009,21:10)
amanita something or the other.  probly, it's hard to tell. without a picture of the volva
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I tried that tactic with my fairer classmates. It got me slapped.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 21 2009,21:12

it's a pretty fragile structure, Lou.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,21:14

I just checked my recycled shots, to see if maybe I accidentally got a shot of the volva, but I didn't.

I'm obviously not a mycologist, but next time I'll know.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 21 2009,21:47

Diane has been checking out houses for sale here in Pinellas County. A house on the market happened to be near a park, so she looked at it and went over to the park. Well, now she's in the hospital for antibiotics and observation overnight because an alligator bit her.

She was walking by the lake and saw the water churn, and headed away. She had to go uphill to get away, but slipped and fell down. The alligator came up and bit her on the back of the calf. She ended up convincing it to let go, and got herself to an emergency room. Her parents and I came and got to see them dressing the wounds and hooking her up to IV antibiotics. Because the danger of infection is so high, they decided to admit her for 24 hours observation.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 21 2009,21:51

holy moly!

ummm are you gonna buy the house?  or is it too soon to ask?

ETA  only you guys are tough enough to get attacked by alligators while house shopping!
Posted by: jswilkins on Sep. 21 2009,22:07

My god, Wesley! You folk do lead interesting lives. Give her my best.
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 21 2009,22:32

Crickey!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 21 2009,23:41

Eh, if she were really tough, she'd have taken pictures before making it let go.

:D

Wishing her well, tell her so.
Posted by: Bob O'H on Sep. 22 2009,02:02

Ouch, Wes.  I hope Diane's OK - give her my (well, our I guess) best wishes.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 22 2009,04:02

As easy as Diane made it seem, I have the suspicion that things are serious yet. The emergency room led with intravenous Vancomycin, which is pretty much the antibiotic of last resort for all sorts of nasty resistant strains. She had tooth punctures on the left calf and left thumb, I'd estimate about sixteen of them on the calf. I haven't slept well, and it will probably be mid-morning before we get further word on how she's doing. Last night, we had a four-handed game of Rummi-Kub at her bedside as the IV antibiotic went in. I'm hoping things continue to proceed in that light vein.
Posted by: jswilkins on Sep. 22 2009,04:11

Well I'm thinking of her in the Antipodes. I thought such attacks were our sole domain. You guys aren't supposed to have dangerous wildlife; just us Aussies.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 22 2009,04:32

I found a < paper online surveying alligator attacks in the USA >, which found 376 cases from 1948 to 2004. Part of the discussion of 15 known fatalities is a bit grisly:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

The length of the alligators associated with fatalities ranged from 5 feet 7 inches to 12 feet 5 inches, and most were over 8 feet long. In 4 cases no information on the alligator was known. In 1 of the cases, up to 6 alligators may have been involved in the attack, but the majority of the victim’s body parts was found in only 1 of the animals.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



And the part of particular interest at the moment:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

If a person survives the traumatic injury, his or her wounds may be infected by various microbial organisms, especially gram-negative bacteria. Numerous aerobic, anaerobic, and fungal species have been cultured from the mouths of alligators and crocodiles. Pseudomonas, Enterococcus, Aeromonas, and Clostridium species were isolated from crocodile-attack wounds in Australia.13 Aeromonas hydrophila, Enterobacter agglomerans, and Citrobacter diversus were isolated from an alligator bite in Louisiana.8 A hydrophila, Serratia spp, and Pseudomonas spp have been isolated in other alligator-bite injuries in Florida.4 –6. Crocodile attacks in other countries have been infected with Burkolderia pseudomallei and Bacteriodes species.13

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The time of day of the attack falls into the group with the most numbers noted in the paper.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 22 2009,04:53

Lightning strikes are more common, but then again lightning can happen just about anywhere. I suspect that if corrected for geographical extent, lightning strike and alligator attack are probably in the same probability ballpark. If the distribution were uniform (which it isn't, according to the paper), there were about 7 attacks on average per year for the 1948-2004 period. The skew in attacks is toward increasing numbers in more recent years, a finding in line with increasing populations of alligators while habitat loss continues. This puts more alligators and people in proximity.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 22 2009,05:38

I'm sure there's some great "Hang On!" lolcaption appropriate for this that you could give to Diane:


Posted by: ppb on Sep. 22 2009,08:23

Yikes!!!  I remember seeing a few alligators when I lived in Florida, but I never got that close!  Give my best wishes to Diane.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 23 2009,16:15

My Zo class went tromping through some different woods yesterday, along a nature trail the college owns.

Some highlights from my most recent mosquito feeding excursion:

The coloration of this guy was pretty neat.



Our designated tadpole netter did a respectable job, pulling up a few specimens to catch, ogle, and release.



Though it's a Zoology class, we didn't ignore Kingdom Plantae:



Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Or Kingdom Fungi







I don't recall what kind of beetle Dr. Grant said this was, but he was cool.



or what kind of frog



Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)



One of the few spider photos I took that came out worth a damn



Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)


Posted by: bfish on Sep. 24 2009,01:38

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 21 2009,19:47)
Diane was walking by the lake and saw the water churn, and headed away. She had to go uphill to get away, but slipped and fell down. The alligator came up and bit her on the back of the calf. She ended up convincing it to let go, and got herself to an emergency room.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Jesus Christ!! That's very scary. Hope she is healing nicely.

I spent a couple of days in Kakadu National Park during the wet season, and the idea of crocodiles never left the front of my mind if I was within twenty feet of water. When we entered the Park (this less than a month after a German tourist was killed in a billabong), the ranger told me, "Around here, you don't dangle it over the water to take a pee, mate."

This is my favorite crocodile picture. It's a little 'un - less than three meters.


Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 24 2009,09:08

lou that's a bess beetle, Passalidae.  i don't recall the genus epithet.  bug guide it.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 24 2009,13:07

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Sep. 24 2009,10:08)
lou that's a bess beetle, Passalidae.  i don't recall the genus epithet.  bug guide it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks babe, you're a peach.

In other sort-of related news, one of my Chem Labmates came in today with pictures of a baby alligator she found dead in her driveway this morning.

Weird.

ETA, upon seeing it @ Wikipedia, I remember what he called it - A Patent Leather Beetle.

That's Odontotaenius disjunctus.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 24 2009,13:09

Oh and P.S., I hunted down the froggie on teh interwebs.

Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris).
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 24 2009,15:59

Praying Peek-A-Boo.



Picking His Teeth (which he doesn't have)



I haven't even begun to look into identifying which species on this one, and it's too pretty a day. Maybe tonight.
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 24 2009,22:12



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Picking His Teeth (which he doesn't have)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Probably just preparing for when he evolves some... :p

Henry
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 25 2009,16:56

The media noticed...

< http://www.baynews9.com/content/36/2009/9/25/525431.html >

Those folks link to a video of their broadcast clip. If anybody has a recipe for saving the video file, PM me.

< http://www.theledger.com/article....ligator >

< http://www.tampabay.com/news....1039205 >
Posted by: rhmc on Sep. 25 2009,18:55

me no like water lizards...but gators are much better than them aussie crocs...more survivors of attacks in this hemisphere...
Posted by: Timothy McDougald on Sep. 25 2009,19:08

I hope things are still going well with Diane and that her recovery continues with no complications.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Sep. 25 2009,19:15

So far, so good.

Off-topic for this thread, corporate predators did a number on my parents on Thursday, but recession disasters don't rate media attention.
Posted by: J-Dog on Sep. 25 2009,19:48

Wow... I just cought up on this - I hope Diane and you are ok!

I thought this might help...
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Sep. 25 2009,20:30

damn she went for the eyeball gouge!  thats lumberjack foightin'!!!

we know who keeps who in line at your house Wes!  

glad that she is doing OK.
Posted by: khan on Sep. 26 2009,10:31

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Erasmus is right: don't get on her bad side.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2009,11:48

Found this guy on the temporary walk next to some construction at school last week:

< >

< >

< >

< >

Bipalium kewense, I think, a free-living predatory flatworm. My Zo Prof was pretty interested to see him, as he hadn't seen one in this area for two decades.

I collected him and his earthworm breakfast into a ziplock with a wet paper towel and we passed him around the class before I let him go in the bed of the Science Garden.

He excreted his breakfast in the bag while we had him. (Is that the right term for it in an animal with a sac-like digestive system? Can you excrete when your anus is your mouth? Or is that vomiting? Should we ask the IDC folks? They seem to have some experience in that area...)


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 27 2009,12:03

That's a nifty critter, Lou! I've no idea if they live around here, but I've sure never seen one.

I spent the morning at a local butterfly garden, which is maintained by our Audubon chapter. Lots of critters, including a visiting hummingbird (Ruby-throated) and a partially albino crow (tail and lower back were white!). I didn't get a pic of the crow since I was set up for macro flash photography, alas. But I did spy this vicious predator, stalking the wild butterfly. No luck with that stalk, but right after that he eyed my camera as if he was thinking about jumping me...




Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2009,12:41

Two really sweet shots, Alby! Sounds like you had a great morning!
Posted by: Henry J on Sep. 27 2009,16:05



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
but right after that he eyed my camera as if he was thinking about jumping me...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Well, it seems well equipped for the "eyeing" part! :D
Posted by: bfish on Sep. 27 2009,19:33

Diane is now officially famous.
< CNN!! >
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2009,21:19

Quote (Diane @ CNN)
I guess he didn't like that.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



lol, you go, Diane.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 30 2009,18:54

A few spiders I've seen around lately:

Neoscona crucifera on the back of my house.



Bowl and Doily Spider (Frontinella communis) in the tree out back. She was a real bitch to get a half-way decent photo of because she's so small and the breeze kept bouncing her around.



My new neighbor called me over to take a look at a "huge" spider on the side of her house, which actually turned out to be pretty small for what I've seen of the species (Argiope aurantia).



American House Spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum), also on the back of my house:



< All my spider pics on Flickr >.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 03 2009,10:24

Currently in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I've posted some pics (wildlife and scenery) on my Facebook page. Here's a prairie dog from the Devil's Tower National Monument.

Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 03 2009,10:43

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 03 2009,10:24)
Currently in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I've posted some pics (wildlife and scenery) on my Facebook page. Here's a prairie dog from the Devil's Tower National Monument.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Albo - Cute!  Your pic is so good, it might be enougth to get Deadman off his squirrel kick...:)
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 03 2009,10:45

Crikey Wes! Captain "quick on the uptake" here has just noticed your posts. I hope Diane is on the mend and all is good.

Vancomycin? Holy Moley! That is a serious choice of antibiotic. The alligator is safer! (Only kidding)

Louis
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Oct. 03 2009,11:50

Quote (Louis @ Oct. 03 2009,10:45)
Crikey Wes! Captain "quick on the uptake" here has just noticed your posts. I hope Diane is on the mend and all is good.

Vancomycin? Holy Moley! That is a serious choice of antibiotic. The alligator is safer! (Only kidding)

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Diane is still on the mend, and is still taking oral antibiotics. She'll have some follow-up medical visits this next week, but we haven't seen any sign of an infection yet.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 04 2009,20:17

Took a break from Chem homework and went for a walk today. I moseyed by an empty lot up the street that's all grown over.

Anybody know what this is? Closest thing I could find is an Elongate Aphid Fly, but they're in like England or something.



Here's another look:



This might be a Sleepy Orange Sulphur (Abaeis <Eurema> nicippe), but I'm really a little lost on the sulphurs. A lot of times, the one looks the same as the next to me, if there isn't a big ol' eyespot or two.



This little Skipper I haven't nailed down yet, either:



Lots of bees and wasps buzzing around, including this guy, which I think is a Blue Winged Wasp (Zethus spinipes variegatus)



and a Regular Old Wasp (Regularis ouchius stingymyassius) (ETA: Best I can figure, this is a Polistes metricus. The yellow face is typical of the males in the Polistes genus.)



and the transparency of the wings on this bumble was something I'd never noticed before



Amazing what you notice when you open your eyes and look.

For instance, this guy here reminded me of Louis, the way he was flashing me:



See what I mean?


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 04 2009,20:47

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), with aspens reflected in the water - Spearfish Creek, Black Hills National Forest

Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 05 2009,21:45

Alby, I love the way the Aspen reflections set off the blue tones in the wood and the Dipper.
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 06 2009,02:43

Gents I have to say I really admire what you are doing. I haven't been out on a proper zoological nature walk since I was in prep school and being taught biology by a very inspirational biology teacher. It's something I want to start again, especially for the benefit of the young un when he's a bit older.

Have you guys got any tips for starting up photography of specimens/sightings? Are there online resources for identifying these things or will i have to pester the crap out of you guys when I get this going?

Louis
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 06 2009,05:43

I love this stuff. As much fun as it is to sometimes look through a microscope and see weird stuff oozing and swimming and tumbling around, I'm finding my real passion is walking out in the bush and taking photos.

< Bugguide > is an example of one site I use a lot for bugs, but it has two limitations:

One, it's Americentric, so it won't be a lot of good to you except to get you in the general ballpark.

Two, it's useless if you don't have at pretty good idea of what you're looking at to begin with. Since it's arranged taxonomically, and some families and even genera have thousands of species... well, it's kind of awkward.

I usually start with my Audubon field guides (I have the ones for birds, trees, reptiles and amphibians, and insects and spiders). They'll get me pointed in the right direction, even if they only show the most common critters.

Then I do the google thing, and search for a species name of whatever I found in the guide that sort of looks like what I have in the photo.

Then I can go to Bugguide or to Cornell's Ornithology site or whatever, depending on the critter, and usually I can get pretty close.

Then I post the shots here. If I note that I haven't nailed a critter down, usually Alby or someone will come along and lend a hand.

Also, my profs are always quick to drop whatever they're doing and chase down an identification of things they've not seen before. They sort of have that "oooo shiny!" look in their eye... I love that.

I've also been known to inappropriately but precociously email photos to Important People with Important Jobs™ and ask for a little help. (see a page or three back in this thread regarding a sulphur butterfly)

ETA: Advice from a n00b:

First and foremost, use a good camera. I can't even express to you the joy of getting home and uploading the pictures I've taken to discover I've got a shot that to me is just a gorgeous photo in addition to being useful for identification of a species.

It's nearly as good as sex with Arden's mom.


Posted by: Louis on Oct. 06 2009,10:22

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 06 2009,11:43)
[SNIP GOOD ADVICE]

It's nearly as good as sex with Arden's mom.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That bad huh?

But seriously....

Thanks for the advice, I'll get saving for a good camera and some lenses etc. Any recommendations from the assembled camera experts? For example, is there a good quality set of lenses I could buy that are likely to last longer than the life of a camera? What I mean is, if I buy a digital camera with (pulls number out of thin air) 10 megapixel resolution and next year out comes a 20 megapixel camera are there "universal" lenses which are likely to fit both cameras? I guess this would be limited by manufacturer etc (Canon lenses might not fit Nikon cameras for example), but as I understand it, the lenses are the expensive bit, cameras are relatively cheap. Maybe I'm wrong, which is of course why I am asking you shower! ;-)

Louis
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 06 2009,11:03

Louis,
I would recommend a good digital SLR.  My first digital camera was a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix.  It can take some very nice pictures, but the delay time between pushing the button and the actual picture taking makes it very frustrating to use.  The good digital SLR's have no such delay, due to having more buffering capability.  Some can let you do rapid fire shooting by holding down the shutter release.

I have a Canon Rebel XT (I think called EOS 350D in Europe), which I am very pleased with.  Nikon and Canon both are good brands with a wide range of lenses available for both amateur and professional level photographers.  Good quality lenses are important, and where you can spend lots of money.   :)

One thing to consider besides pixel count is the size of the sensor.  Some sensors are equivalent to 35mm film in size, while some are smaller.  My Canon has a sensor that is smaller than 35mm.  Lenses that are made for 35mm size images can be used with the smaller sensors, although you will only be getting the center of the image.   This is not necessarily a problem, but it does affect how the lenses operate.  A 50mm lens is considered a normal lens on a 35mm camera, but is a short telephoto lens with one of these smaller sensors.  Wide angles are not so wide, and telephotos function a bit longer with the smaller sensor.  You can read about it more here:  < http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutoria....ize.htm >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 06 2009,11:38

ppb is correct, a digital SLR would be the best way to go. However, I am always leery of advising people to spend lots of money on hobbies/activities that may, or may not, be something that they do for the long term. Digital SLRs and lenses (particularly long lenses for wildlife photography) are seriously expensive, and, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Pay more, get more.

If you don't want to spring to that level just yet, things to look for in a point/shoot digital camera are:

1) lag time between pushing the button and taking the picture. Any lag time is frustrating, but it should be much less than 0.5 seconds if you want to get the picture you thought you were getting.

2) optical viewfinder - don't buy a camera with only the digital screen viewfinder. You can't see those screens in bright light, and they suck power from the battery at a prodigious rate. A camera where you can see what you are composing is critical, and if you can turn off that screen (to save your batteries), it's even better.

Try to evaluate any potential camera in person, hands-on, at a camera store. Besides allowing you to assess the above parameters, there are other good reasons to do that. How the device fits your hands, where the buttons hit your fingers, how many extraneous buttons that might get pushed when the camera is in the case or in your pocket, etc.

If you find that you enjoy taking larger wildlife pics, or flower pics, or insects, or landscapes, etc. that can guide you in future purchase of the more expensive dSLR and lens choice.
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 06 2009,12:44

Thanks PPB and Albatrossity,

I shall take all that into consideration when I try to instigate a divorce by informing my wife I need a REEEEEALLLY posh camera to take the young un on nature walks. ;-)

Louis
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 06 2009,13:00

Quote (Louis @ Oct. 06 2009,13:44)
Thanks PPB and Albatrossity,

I shall take all that into consideration when I try to instigate a divorce by informing my wife I need a REEEEEALLLY posh camera to take the young un on nature walks. ;-)

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Remind her that it can take really nice pictures of the young one as well.

ETA: Talking my wife into purchasing the Canon was not a problem.  Convincing her that I need the $1000+ lens to take those really nice bird pictures is a little more problematic.  :)
Posted by: Reed on Oct. 06 2009,16:30

Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,09:03)
Louis,
I would recommend a good digital SLR.  My first digital camera was a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix.  It can take some very nice pictures, but the delay time between pushing the button and the actual picture taking makes it very frustrating to use.  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In my experience, recent (in the last few years) point and shoots don't suffer from nearly as much as the older ones did.

A DSLR definitely has the potential to take much better pictures. Aside from the nut behind the viewfinder, sensor and lens quality are the ultimate limiting factors, and DSLRs win this hands down. But that said, a P&S can still take quite nice photographs, especially if you aren't planning to make large prints.

Another thing to consider is portability. If the camera is a hassle to carry around, you won't have it with you nearly as often as one that fits in your pocket. You may also be more likely to take it interesting places if you are risking a few hundred dollars investment rather than a few thousand. There's a lot to be a said for a camera you can have with you all the time. This leads to the ultimate conclusion that you need several expensive toys instead of one :p

< http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ > is a good source of in depth camera reviews.

I am personally fond of Canon P&S cameras because of the extra flexibility available with < CHDK >, but that's probably only applicable to geeks.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 06 2009,16:35

Also be aware of this little quirk, re: Nikon v. Canon

There is a war of sorts, not unlike the Ford v. Chevy wars here in the deep south of Jesusland. I don't really know enough about it to offer an intelligent opinion, but as it happens I bought a Canon Rebel XS (the entry level model).

I love it, but what I've recently found out is that Canon changes its lens fitting style with new models. Apparently (though I can't personally vouch for this), Nikon doesn't, or doesn't as frequently, or something. The long and the short of it is that if you upgrade Nikon cameras in the future, you have a better shot of still being able to use your old lenses.

Another tip:

Get a big fat memory card for it, and take a billion shots of everything you shoot. That way, at least a few of them are bound to turn out decently. Remember, you don't have to pay for film with a DSLR.

Also, learn to shoot in RAW mode, as opposed to JPG mode. The software that comes with your camera will be able to fix a lot more of your mistakes much more easily if you shoot in RAW mode, as well as make it pretty simple to tweak the exposure, white balance, contrast, and saturation. Those little things can turn a simple snapshot into something purty.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Oct. 06 2009,16:40

Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,13:00)
ETA: Talking my wife into purchasing the Canon was not a problem.  Convincing her that I need the $1000+ lens to take those really nice bird pictures is a little more problematic.  :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


This is as good a jumping off point as any. I am considering upgrading to a digital SLR. I currently have a film (what can I say, my old man worked for the red and yellow box) Canon EOS Rebel and was going to get the digital equivalent so I can use my existing lenses (35-80mm and 70-300mm) and was wondering what those really expensive lenses come with to justify the significantly higher cost?

Added in Edit:  Uh-oh. Don't like what Lou said about Canon changing lens fittings.

Also added in edit: Ford.
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 06 2009,16:55

Thanks guys. I shall point out to my wife that I now need several pieces of expensive kit ranging from something that can be snuck into the spare change of one pay check to something that costs more than a BMW.

Sounds like I'm a corpse! Let's hope I get reincarnated as something good. Although, given my behaviour between the years 1987 to 2001 I'll settle for coming back as a vertebrate.

Louis
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 06 2009,17:13

Alby said :

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
2) optical viewfinder - don't buy a camera with only the digital screen viewfinder. You can't see those screens in bright light, and they suck power from the battery at a prodigious rate. A camera where you can see what you are composing is critical, and if you can turn off that screen (to save your batteries), it's even better.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I heartily agree, having got suckered into NOT getting an optical viewfinder at our last upgrade.  We have since missed too many shots!

And a fast shutter speed is going to be essential as Little Louis advances to All-World Rugby back status, and Mum and Dad want to send pics of his try(s) against the Argies for granny to coo over.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 06 2009,18:14

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 06 2009,16:35)
I love it, but what I've recently found out is that Canon changes its lens fitting style with new models. Apparently (though I can't personally vouch for this), Nikon doesn't, or doesn't as frequently, or something. The long and the short of it is that if you upgrade Nikon cameras in the future, you have a better shot of still being able to use your old lenses.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, that's not quite fair. The standard Canon mount used prior to the digital revolution was introduced in 1971. That's a long time ago, for high-tech equipment. The EF (Electro-focus) series was introduced in 1987, again that is quite a long lifetime, and the technical/optical improvements that were introduced with that mount were enough to justify it. In 2003 they introduced the EF-S mount for digital camera bodies; EF lenses can still be used on those bodies, but due to the difference in sensor size vis-a-vis film, they will give you only the center of the image, as ppb pointed out earlier.

So if you buy a new digital camera, you can use both old and new lenses from Canon. In addition, the lenses from Canon have other capabilities (like image stabilization) that most folks think are enough to put them above the Nikon line at present. Nikon is catching up. One guide that might be helpful is to look at the photographers at a major sporting event. In my experience, most of the pros are using Canon equipment. A < friend of mine who is a world-class photographer > used Nikon equipment during his film era, but switched to Canon (at great expense) for digital shooting. (Don't click on that website link above unless you want to be seriously depressed about the quality of your own photographic efforts...)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 06 2009,19:38

Thanks for the clarification on the lens mount issue, Alby. My Pop has an old Canon (I don't know exactly how old, but I'm thinking it was late 80s) that I'm now going to pester him about. The body's screwed apparently, and it's been sitting in a closet for years. He's got several lenses though, and I'll see if they just might be of some use. (He had offered them at one point, but it was just after my introduction and misunderstanding of this issue.)

My standard lens (the 18 - 55 that came with the camera) is image stabilized, but the long lens (75 -300 that I bought after) is not. The long lens is all but useless for me without a tripod at any extension, though if I brace well on a table or against a wall or something, I can do a little with the lens all the way in.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 06 2009,19:43

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 06 2009,19:38)
The long lens is all but useless for me without a tripod at any extension, though if I brace well on a table or against a wall or something, I can do a little with the lens all the way in.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


one word - < monopod >.
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 06 2009,20:22

I went from Minolta film equipment (SRT-101, X700) to Canon, so I bit the bullet on old lenses.  As Alby pointed out, lots of pros use Canon, so that was a factor for me.  They sell a wide range of hardware from entry level to professional grade, so there is lots of room to grow.

Louis,
Given Deadman's proclivities you should take care what vertebrate you come back as.

PS: I love image stabilization.  Another excuse to spend more money!
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 06 2009,20:43

Quote (carlsonjok @ Oct. 06 2009,17:40)
I am considering upgrading to a digital SLR. I currently have a film (what can I say, my old man worked for the red and yellow box) Canon EOS Rebel and was going to get the digital equivalent so I can use my existing lenses (35-80mm and 70-300mm) and was wondering what those really expensive lenses come with to justify the significantly higher cost?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Canon has two main tiers of lenses.  The regular lenses and their L-series lenses.  The L-series lenses are the professional lenses.  They are the ones with the mostly white bodies.  They are built very rugged for the heavy use that professionals put them through.  That is one factor in the price.

Other factors are features like auto-focus and image stabilization, which are getting ubiquitous.

Lens design, like many things, is a series of compromises.  The more you are willing to pay, the fewer compromises you have to make.  More expensive lenses can have better, lighter components, larger apertures, better image quality across the entire image.

As always, it pays to do some research.  With the internet, it is easy to find reviews and tests of lenses on-line.  Sometimes you can get good performance from a less expensive lens, but you have to do the research.


ETA:  One other thing.  Big, long lenses to get up close and personal with nature get pretty pricey due to lots of glass.  That is my biggest frustration at the moment, since I switched from Minolta to Canon.  It will take me a while to get all the lenses I would like to have.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Oct. 06 2009,22:55

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 06 2009,16:35)
Also be aware of this little quirk, re: Nikon v. Canon

There is a war of sorts, not unlike the Ford v. Chevy wars here in the deep south of Jesusland. I don't really know enough about it to offer an intelligent opinion, but as it happens I bought a Canon Rebel XS (the entry level model).

I love it, but what I've recently found out is that Canon changes its lens fitting style with new models. Apparently (though I can't personally vouch for this), Nikon doesn't, or doesn't as frequently, or something. The long and the short of it is that if you upgrade Nikon cameras in the future, you have a better shot of still being able to use your old lenses.

Another tip:

Get a big fat memory card for it, and take a billion shots of everything you shoot. That way, at least a few of them are bound to turn out decently. Remember, you don't have to pay for film with a DSLR.

Also, learn to shoot in RAW mode, as opposed to JPG mode. The software that comes with your camera will be able to fix a lot more of your mistakes much more easily if you shoot in RAW mode, as well as make it pretty simple to tweak the exposure, white balance, contrast, and saturation. Those little things can turn a simple snapshot into something purty.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I can use my manual-focus Nikkor lenses that I bought in the late 1970s on my Nikon D2Xs. I think the line is drawn at the non-AI mount lenses from pre-1972 or thereabouts, though you can generally have someone do an AI conversion on the older lenses, or if you are adventurous, grind down the projecting rim yourself, opening up a wide range of lenses dating back to the introduction of the Nikon F mount in 1959. (With the N-F adapter, one can use Nikkor lenses pre-dating that.) The only ones that are really verboten are things like the 7.5mm f/5.6 fisheye that requires mirror lockup and the 21mm f/4 whose rear elements poke back too far into the newer camera bodies. I'd love to run across a 55mm f/4 UV-Nikkor lens, something I've only seen a picture of in my 1964-vintage Nikon catalog. It's basically a Micro-Nikkor, but with quartz lens elements that transmit UV light.

I think Canon does currently have an edge in sensor technology, as they develop that themselves, whereas Nikon buys theirs from folks like Sony. (Wish they'd go back to buying Fuji sensors...) Though the Sony sensors in the D3, D700, and D3x are pretty darn impressive. Nikon and Canon both make excellent lenses. Nikon's user interface is one I prefer to what I've experienced on the Canon cameras. But the main reason I have Nikon now is because I had Nikon then.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 07 2009,05:36

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 06 2009,23:55)
Nikon's user interface is one I prefer to what I've experienced on the Canon cameras. But the main reason I have Nikon now is because I had Nikon then.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Let me say this about that. I bought mine, and was just fine with the user interface. A few weeks ago at one of my son's football games, the yearbook instructor was there with some of her students trying to get shots for the yearbook. They were having a very frustrating night, and since I've been acquainted with her for a few years she asked if I could help. They have the same camera I do, but an older revision/model of it.

It's no wonder they were having trouble, the interface was ungainly, buttons all over the place and some stuff had to be adjusted using this little green LCD screen on top of the camera, you had to take your hands off the camera to do just about anything. It took me a good five minutes to find the aperture and ISO settings.

I've not used a Nikon DSLR so I can't really compare the two, but the whole experience really left me loving the improvements Canon has made on the new digital Rebels v. the older digital Rebels. It's my understanding that these changes are relatively recent, within the last year or two.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 07 2009,06:14

A little fellow I found sadly lifeless after a rainstorm where temperatures went down in a nick:




< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladder_Snake >

Possibly a young adult, judging by the brown coloration and the still very marked parallel lines on its back. It was a bit over a meter long...
Posted by: csadams on Oct. 07 2009,06:46

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 06 2009,19:43)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 06 2009,19:38)
The long lens is all but useless for me without a tripod at any extension, though if I brace well on a table or against a wall or something, I can do a little with the lens all the way in.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


one word - < monopod >.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


A few more words: < hiking stick with camera mount. >
Posted by: deadman_932 on Oct. 07 2009,13:45

Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,20:22)
Louis,
Given Deadman's proclivities you should take care what vertebrate you come back as.

PS: I love image stabilization.  Another excuse to spend more money!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Deer Mr. Sciemtist: I founded this aminal outside today & I wondred what spesces kind it is. Thankyuvery Much, Ur friend, deadman.

 
Posted by: Richardthughes on Oct. 07 2009,14:18

Quote (deadman_932 @ Oct. 07 2009,13:45)
Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,20:22)
Louis,
Given Deadman's proclivities you should take care what vertebrate you come back as.

PS: I love image stabilization.  Another excuse to spend more money!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Deer Mr. Sciemtist: I founded this aminal outside today & I wondred what spesces kind it is. Thankyuvery Much, Ur friend, deadman.

 
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Everything Louis looks for in a mate:


Posted by: Louis on Oct. 07 2009,14:21

Quote (deadman_932 @ Oct. 07 2009,19:45)
Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,20:22)
Louis,
Given Deadman's proclivities you should take care what vertebrate you come back as.

PS: I love image stabilization.  Another excuse to spend more money!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Deer Mr. Sciemtist: I founded this aminal outside today & I wondred what spesces kind it is. Thankyuvery Much, Ur friend, deadman.

 
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I are a Scientismatician and can has an answer for youse.

That am a hamspydur. It is part of Teh Nasty Bug Evolution is a Lie kind, like Teh Crocoduck.

Thank you.

Louis
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 07 2009,14:32

OMG!!! those pink things under the cute bug! What are they? WHAt ARE THEY???






Granted, lack of sleep is not as fun as it seems. Sorry...
Posted by: sledgehammer on Oct. 07 2009,14:44

Quote (deadman_932 @ Oct. 07 2009,11:45)
 
Quote (ppb @ Oct. 06 2009,20:22)
Louis,
Given Deadman's proclivities you should take care what vertebrate you come back as.

PS: I love image stabilization.  Another excuse to spend more money!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Deer Mr. Sciemtist: I founded this aminal outside today & I wondred what spesces kind it is. Thankyuvery Much, Ur friend, deadman.

 
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Looks like you've captured the rare tarantumunk.
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 07 2009,21:56

That or a chipmunk that got bit by a radioactive spider...

Henry
Posted by: ppb on Oct. 08 2009,08:14

Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 07 2009,22:56)
That or a chipmunk that got bit by a radioactive spider...

Henry
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It's Spidermunk!
Posted by: Louis on Oct. 08 2009,09:00

Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 07 2009,20:18)
Everything Louis looks for in a mate:


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


M...m...m...Mummy?

Louis
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 08 2009,21:14



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
M...m...m...Mummy?

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Only if you're Lord Greystoke. ;)

Henry
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 10 2009,07:42

Whilst in Philly for family weekend at my daughter's uni.



I think it's a Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), though it could be a Downey. I'm a little unclear on the differences in field marks.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 10 2009,08:53

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 10 2009,07:42)

I think it's a Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), though it could be a Downey. I'm a little unclear on the differences in field marks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think it is a Hairy Woodpecker as well, Lou. The key character is the length of the bill relative to the head; a Downy Woodpecker has a relatively tiny bill and the Hairy has a big honking bill. See < here > for a picture with that comparison.

My daughter is spending the semester abroad in Guangzhou (formerly Canton) China, putting her six semesters of Chinese to the test. She and a German foreign exchange student just took a trip to Kunming, and she sent me some pictures from their outings there, including this stunning orb weaver spider.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 10 2009,09:25

Thanks, Alby. That video and the captured frame are perfect for illustrating the differences. I really appreciate that link.

As for your daughter's orb weaver, wow. That is one beautiful spider.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Oct. 15 2009,19:32



This was on the wall of the garage of the place we are trying to buy.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Oct. 15 2009,19:38

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 16 2009,02:32)


This was on the wall of the garage of the place we are trying to buy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Stop posting stick-insect porn!  :p
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 15 2009,19:59

Just make sure that if it sticks around it pays rent. :p
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 15 2009,21:29

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Oct. 15 2009,20:38)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 16 2009,02:32)


This was on the wall of the garage of the place we are trying to buy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Stop posting stick-insect porn!  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, at least make sure you get the 2257 forms signed.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 18 2009,01:42

Setting up the Halloween trail this afternoon, I took a few shots.

This guy showed up late in the afternoon, and the bright sky backlit him pretty badly, but I think it's a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius):



More common, but a better photo of this Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos):



And a couple shots of this gorgeous Red-spotted Purple butterfly (Limenitis arthemis astyanax):

Dorsals, with the beautiful iridescent blues



and the ventrals are nothing to sneeze at with their pretty oranges



and a shot with a little of both


Posted by: khan on Oct. 18 2009,20:36

Roses, first frost:


Posted by: OgreMkV on Oct. 18 2009,20:55

I didn't get pictures, but we found a bunny (Eastern Cottontail) nest in our backyard yesterday.  I almost found it by hitting three baby bunnies with a lawnmower, but I noticed them moving and my lawnmower has a kill/instant brake switch.

I was glad to see them, all of our new neighbors have dogs (large ones) and I was afraid that the population was in danger.

For now, the backyard has become a no mow zone and to hell with the HOA.
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 18 2009,22:16

Wascally wabbits!

Henry
Posted by: OgreMkV on Oct. 18 2009,22:38

Let's see if this works.  hmmm... not very well.  I don't have flicker and google docs doesn't put the file access in a form that this forum likes.  Here's a link.

I believe this is the mama rabbit checking out my boy's slide.

< bunny picture >
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 19 2009,05:35

Quote (OgreMkV @ Oct. 18 2009,23:38)
Let's see if this works.  hmmm... not very well.  I don't have flicker and google docs doesn't put the file access in a form that this forum likes.  Here's a link.

I believe this is the mama rabbit checking out my boy's slide.

< bunny picture >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I have no idea why, but he put me in the mind of a soldier in one of those old cowboy movies, looking out across the plains from a wooden fort and saying something like, "Dude. That's a lot o' injuns."

I should probably get some coffee.


Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 19 2009,15:06

Or a lot of Elmer Fudd's? :p
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 24 2009,19:24

I was on North Topsail Beach this morning and popped off a few shots of some shore birds:















But that was after I'd gotten what I was actually there for:


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 24 2009,20:12

Nice shots, Lou.

Those Carolina beaches may not have a lot of wildlife diversity, but they are definitely photogenic!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 24 2009,20:50

Thanks Alby.

I needed a blood-red sunset on the ocean for a photo essay I'm working on for my World Lit class. When I saw the weather report yesterday saying that we had a front moving through, I knew I was in like Flynn. We always get the most beautiful sunrises when a front comes through like that. With a bit of tweaking to the tones on a different shot, I have a "sunset" that looks like the sky is bleeding. It's perfect.

Our real sunsets aren't so bad, either, though they're not on the water. I took this one over Labor Day weekend, while I was turtle nest sitting:



We had a front stalled right overhead that weekend, and I love that shot.

This fisherman stopped dead in his tracks and set his pole down this morning, and stood there about 30 yards from me, just staring.



We nodded our greetings as I left the beach and he resumed his fishing. There wasn't really anything to say that the sunrise hadn't already said much more eloquently.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 24 2009,20:57

Not fiery, but here's a sunrise shot from Ocean Isle a few years back.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 24 2009,21:11

Really really sweet blues, though, and the reflections in the wet sand are awesome. I always love that in photos.
Posted by: bfish on Oct. 26 2009,23:38

Heard of these photos via Andrew Sullivan.

< They are really, really good. >

I didn't know spiders don't have compound eyes.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 02 2009,15:23

I think this is a pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata), sometimes called Myrtle Warblers, in winter plumage.



The yellow rump is clearly visible on the bird on the lower left, and the streaking with yellowish throat and yellow patches to either side of the breast is visible on the bird on the upper right.

< Larger view here >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 02 2009,16:21

Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 02 2009,15:23)
I think this is a pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata), sometimes called Myrtle Warblers, in winter plumage.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep.

But real birders call 'em "butter-butts".

Don't tell RTH....
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 02 2009,16:36

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Nov. 02 2009,17:21)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 02 2009,15:23)
I think this is a pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata), sometimes called Myrtle Warblers, in winter plumage.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep.

But real birders call 'em "butter-butts".

Don't tell RTH....
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ha, thanks!

Two laughs for the price of one.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Nov. 03 2009,01:21

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 24 2009,21:12)
Nice shots, Lou.

Those Carolina beaches may not have a lot of wildlife diversity, but they are definitely photogenic!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


drag a hand trawl in one of those back water tidal mud flats or creeks.  freak show!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 03 2009,05:59

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Nov. 03 2009,01:21)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 24 2009,21:12)
Nice shots, Lou.

Those Carolina beaches may not have a lot of wildlife diversity, but they are definitely photogenic!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


drag a hand trawl in one of those back water tidal mud flats or creeks.  freak show!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, the back side of those islands is where I spend most of my time when I'm out there. The beach side is pretty slow, except for one year when there was a shift in the currents and lots of Sargassum was racked up on the beaches. That stuff is loaded with critters, we found nudibranchs, puffer fish, lots of interesting crabs and tiny shrimp, etc. The locals hated it, and stayed away from the "dirty" beaches that year; there was even talk of bringing crews of prisoners from the state penitentiaries to "clean up" the beaches for the tourists.

I guess we're not typical tourists; we had a great time!
Posted by: rhmc on Nov. 03 2009,16:48

after a week or so of strong easterly winds, we get those clumps of sargassum weed, too.
take a five gallon bucket and scoop up a clump of weed out of the water and then look at all the stuff that falls out. into the water in the bucket.
quite interesting. weird little beasties.  shake the weed and more falls out, pick it apart and even more shows up.

we also spend a fair amount of time throwing cast nets in shallow waters and that'll drag up stuff you've only seen in pictures, too.
a seine on the beaches will drag up bigger stuff that's pretty cool too.

i love this area.  :)

we send the unusual specimens to a UM ichthyologist down in key west.  he only wants two of each, gets harder every year to fill up a gallon jar of stuff to send....
Posted by: J-Dog on Nov. 14 2009,09:39

Looking out from my back deck:

HELP!

I am getting infested with these O'Leary Geese!



Alby - How can I get rid of these monsters?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 14 2009,12:17

Quote (J-Dog @ Nov. 14 2009,09:39)
Alby - How can I get rid of these monsters?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hey, quit insulting those birds by identifying them with Densey. I'm sure every one of them could write a better sentence than she can, even if they don't have a book to sell.

Looks like your yard is contiguous with a large grassy space (athletic field, golf course?). These geese like large grassy spaces; they are basically grazers. I don't think that there is any (legal) way to dislodge them as long as the habitat is so attractive. If it is a golf course, the management will probably try to do something with noisemakers, or even shotguns if they are allowed to. But all of these will just move the geese to another spot, where they will be a problem for other folks. And most of that problem is just the poop. You live in Chicago; you should be used to excrement!

Noisemakers will work for a while, but some of your neighbors might not be amused. Shotguns will definitely work, but the local gendarmes will not be amused. You can fence in your yard and get a dog, or borrow one for a while, I suppose. Other than that I've got no good suggestions.
Posted by: khan on Nov. 14 2009,12:59

Some parks, golf courses et al 'rent' dogs to keep harassing them.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Nov. 14 2009,15:39

Christmas dinner: Stuff them.
Big money: Sell them.
Kill them at night, nobody is watching and the geese are asleep.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Nov. 14 2009,15:55

tame ones ain't worth eating
Posted by: khan on Nov. 14 2009,16:00

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Nov. 14 2009,16:55)
tame ones ain't worth eating
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Why not?
I once suggested to the local grocery store (with a retention pond full of said geese) that they should set up a rodeo. People could pay a small fee for the privilege of wrangling geese, and vendors could set up booths to kill/pluck/clean/even cook. Leftovers could be composted.
Posted by: Erasmus, FCD on Nov. 14 2009,16:15

the FWS wouldn't like that very much.  and the bread diet makes em taste crappy.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Nov. 14 2009,17:16

J-Dog, have you considered TNT? It works with the panda invasion in my backyard...

What? Did I say that out loud?
Posted by: carlsonjok on Nov. 14 2009,17:28

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Nov. 14 2009,17:16)
J-Dog, have you considered TNT? It works with the panda invasion in my backyard...

What? Did I say that out loud?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Since Pandas are found in China and you live in France, I'd like to advance the alternate explanation that the black and white creatures infesting your lawn were actually mimes.



Lucky for you it is mime season.  No size or catch limits either.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Nov. 14 2009,17:48

Quote (carlsonjok @ Nov. 14 2009,23:28)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Nov. 14 2009,17:16)
J-Dog, have you considered TNT? It works with the panda invasion in my backyard...

What? Did I say that out loud?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Since Pandas are found in China and you live in France, I'd like to advance the alternate explanation that the black and white creatures infesting your lawn were actually mimes.



Lucky for you it is mime season.  No size or catch limits either.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ok, stands to reason. Mime extermination is a matter of general interest. I feel a lot better now.

I hate mimes...
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 14 2009,18:52

Mime season!

*gesticulation*

Mime season!

*gesticulation*

Wabbit season!

*gesticulation*

Boom.
Posted by: J-Dog on Nov. 14 2009,19:14

So, training the geese to hunt the mimes will take care of two problems.  Kill two birds with one stone, more or less.

A beautiful yet elegant solution.  

At UD they'd still be arguing about whether there were any black geese, and GEM of STUPID would be thinking about coming out of retirement and dropping a short 7,500, biblical referenced paragraph on it.  

Thanks, merci boucoup, and danke shoen.
CHRISTMAS GOOSE ON ME THIS YEAR!
Posted by: jswilkins on Nov. 14 2009,19:30

"It was said he [Vetinari] would tolerate absolutely anything apart from anything that threatened the city[1]...

1. And mime artists. It was a strange aversion, but there you are. Anyone in baggy trousers and a white face who tried to ply their art anywhere within Ankh's crumbling walls would very quickly find themselves in a scorpion pit, on one wall of which was painted the words: Learn The Words."

Terry Pratchett, Guards, Guards, p78
Posted by: ppb on Nov. 14 2009,20:41

Quote (J-Dog @ Nov. 14 2009,10:39)
Alby - How can I get rid of these monsters?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Since they are Canada Geese you could have them deported.

ETA: You can notify Homeland Security, since they have been known to bring down airliners.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Nov. 15 2009,01:13

Quote (jswilkins @ Nov. 15 2009,01:30)
"It was said he [Vetinari] would tolerate absolutely anything apart from anything that threatened the city[1]...

1. And mime artists. It was a strange aversion, but there you are. Anyone in baggy trousers and a white face who tried to ply their art anywhere within Ankh's crumbling walls would very quickly find themselves in a scorpion pit, on one wall of which was painted the words: Learn The Words."

Terry Pratchett, Guards, Guards, p78
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, one of the many reasons why Lord Vetinari is so amesome!

Try Unseen Academicals for a rare bout of drunk Vetinari
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 16 2009,16:13

A couple nice bird shots on the beach last night. Clickable.


< >


< >
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Nov. 16 2009,16:37

First: looks really cold!

Second: can you give us details? As a european, I'm not so familiar with "foreign" species :)

Third: Gorgeous pics! The light is magnificent!

Thanks for sharing, Lou!



ETA: birds bore me as a whole (sorry Dave). Brainless dinos that never took a hint about staying raptors!

ETAA: Ok, I'm definitely done for! Thought the foam was ice. Still, could look cold with a spectrometer...
Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 16 2009,16:49

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Nov. 16 2009,17:37)
First: looks really cold!

Second: can you give us details? As a european, I'm not so familiar with "foreign" species :)

Third: Gorgeous pics! The light is magnificent!

Thanks for sharing, Lou!



ETA: birds bore me as a whole (sorry Dave). Brainless dinos that never took a hint about staying raptors!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


First: Not at all. It was short sleeve weather until the sun went down (shortly after those shots). Then my wife put on a sweater, and she was fine.

Second: I haven't had a chance to look that one up yet, and I don't know off the top of my head.

Third: Thanks! and yeah, I'm learning to love the reds from sunsets and sunrises.

:)

You're welcome.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 16 2009,16:56

Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 16 2009,16:13)
A couple nice bird shots on the beach last night.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Eastern Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), non-breeding plumage.

Here's one in breeding plumage.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 16 2009,17:26

Thank you, sir.
Posted by: dhogaza on Nov. 17 2009,11:27

Willets are more interesting in flight, and for those not in the know, it says its name (which is really "Will Willet!")



Here's a self-portrait of me in Costa Rica last week ... or at least I usually feel like a "lazy bear" (perezoso)



Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 21 2009,04:58

Hey, nice shots!

I take it you were just hanging out in Costa Rica?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 22 2009,12:44

Went hunting for sparrows this morning, and found quite a few. Best image was this Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana); these guys are notorious skulkers, but one was up long enough for a few shots.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Nov. 22 2009,13:23

Nice, love the colors.
Posted by: dhogaza on Nov. 22 2009,13:27



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I take it you were just hanging out in Costa Rica?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Naw, that's a sloth just hanging out :)

I was visiting the technical institute of costa rica, in cartago (east of san jose) for a couple of days, and afterwards some colleagues and I headed off to the pacific coast and hung out and relaxed.

The colleagues are non-birders, so more swimming and hiking than birding or nature photography was on the agenda, but I didn't mind, particularly.  Bath-warm salt water in November feels pretty good to an Oregon boy like me ...

Costa Rica's nice, I've spent time in Guatemala, Mexico and Ecuador and while culturally Costa Rica's far less interesting (i.e. not much indigenous influence), I have to admit I enjoyed being in a latin american country where there's far less unescapable abject poverty than the other countries I've visited.  Very low violent crime rate, 98% literacy rate, no army, universal health care of reasonable quality, strong (though imperfect) efforts to conserve biological diversity, and the San Juan city police actually spent 15-20 minutes driving around the city trying to find a restaurant for us (which, as it turned out, didn't exist) because, as one told us, "I've been taught that the job of a policeman is to serve the people".

(OK, cops on the coast are known to shake down speeding tourists, pickpockets and other petty thieves rival Amsterdam for skill, there's too much timber and other poaching in the park system, the current government seems to favor development over protection of breeding marine turtle habitat, etc etc - it ain't nirvana)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 26 2009,11:28

In my old back yard, where my daughter lives now, she took this picture of a beetle.



According to < someone who should know > (John Pinto, an expert on the genus), this is the oil/blister beetle Meloe campanicollis, and is the first record of the species in the state of Kansas.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 01 2009,18:16

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Nov. 26 2009,12:28)
According to < someone who should know > (John Pinto, an expert on the genus), this is the oil/blister beetle Meloe campanicollis, and is the first record of the species in the state of Kansas.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Now that's just cool.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 10 2009,18:03

So.

I happened upon a flock of very unafraid Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) today,

< >

mostly juveniles it looks like, with everyone in winter plumage,

< >

and a few Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla)

< >

hiding in amongst them.

< >

I pulled into the parking lot,

< >

and they let me get rather up close

< >

and personal

< >

for some shots.

< >

...when suddenly, it all went bad...

< >

...Almost.

< >
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Dec. 10 2009,18:56

That last picture is awesome!!!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 10 2009,19:14

Thanks. That was all with my short lens, from like right up close. When they all took off and headed right for me, I knew it was about to get ugly.

Fortunately, none of them took any chunks out of me, but I thought I was going to be spitting feathers there for a second. Some of them got close enough to muss my hair (which was, fortunately, already a muss), and one of them just barely grazed the back of my head right as I took that last shot.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 10 2009,19:35

Kind of cheating, but the Science Club went down to Wilmington on Saturday, to visit the Cape Fear Serpentarium.

The whole set < is here >, but here are a few of my prettier shots.

< Western Green Mamba > (Dendroaspis viridis):



< Albino Burmese Python > (Python molurus bivittatus):



< Neotropical Rattlesnake > (Crotalus durissus):



< Blackthroat Monitor Lizard > (Varanus albigularis):



< ...and his tongue >:



< Emerald Tree Boa > (Corallus caninus):



< and here's me with a Ball Python >:



But my favorite shot has to be this one, of < The Eye of The Dragon >, a Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus):


Posted by: J-Dog on Dec. 10 2009,20:44

My friend Tiger says that's not cheating...

Those are some totally awesome pics dude! And the Croc shot has got to rank in the top ten most awesomest.

Really!
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Dec. 11 2009,03:39

o_O

<3
Posted by: jeffox on Dec. 11 2009,07:21

Ya ya, Lou!  I'd walk a mile with a smile to see a Nile crocodile!!

As long as it's not hungry. . . .   :)
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 11 2009,08:21


I liked it too much not to tamper with it ...
Posted by: khan on Dec. 11 2009,08:52

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Dec. 11 2009,09:21)

I liked it too much not to tamper with it ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I was hoping someone would.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 11 2009,09:11

There was still room for improvement:


Hey Lou, if you need photos to be 'shopped ...
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 11 2009,10:45

Thanks, Kattarina! I can usually do alright with them, it's just the fluorescent lighting that kills me. I can never get the tones quite right and there's never good shadowing. (And honestly I don't bother too much with photos of me most of the time. Seems kind of .... unseemly, and I find myself a rather boring subject for photography. :) )
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 11 2009,11:49

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 11 2009,10:45)
Thanks, Kattarina! I can usually do alright with them, it's just the fluorescent lighting that kills me. I can never get the tones quite right and there's never good shadowing. (And honestly I don't bother too much with photos of me most of the time. Seems kind of .... unseemly, and I find myself a rather boring subject for photography. :) )
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Tones: I moved the colour balance from blue towards yellow - just a bit.
Shadows: First I gave a little more light to the medium range, then I added a spot to your and the snake's head, leaving the background pritty much intact.
Subject: Think of the sweet memories years from now ...
Posted by: ppb on Dec. 11 2009,11:51

Lou, don't be so modest.  You've got a freekin' python around your neck.  How cool is that!  :)
Posted by: Richardthughes on Dec. 11 2009,12:19

IS KNOW-WON GOING TWO DO A SNAKE / PEEPEE JOKE?
Posted by: khan on Dec. 11 2009,12:25

Quote (ppb @ Dec. 11 2009,12:51)
Lou, don't be so modest.  You've got a freekin' python around your neck.  How cool is that!  :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


They make a cute couple.
Posted by: ppb on Dec. 11 2009,12:43

Quote (Richardthughes @ Dec. 11 2009,13:19)
IS KNOW-WON GOING TWO DO A SNAKE / PEEPEE JOKE?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Where's Arden when you need him?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 11 2009,18:30

Thanks again, Kattarina.

Quote (ppb @ Dec. 11 2009,12:51)
Lou, don't be so modest.  You've got a freekin' python around your neck.  How cool is that!  :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well yeah, I guess when you put it that way, it *was* pretty cool.
Posted by: qetzal on Dec. 12 2009,01:22

For my 50th birthday a few weeks ago, my wife took me to Costa Rica. We stayed at a rental villa owned by some friends. (Very close to where < dhogaza > was, between Cartago & Paraiso.)

Here are some wildlife pics. Please excuse the extreme and obvious amateurism of the photographer!


I caught his little guy (gal?) running across the volcanic sand at Volcan Irazu. Don't know what kind of lizard this is.


White nosed coati (Nasua narica) that was cruising the parking lot at Volcan Irazu, hoping to beg and/or steal something to eat.


Brilliant blue bug seen at Braulio Carillo National Park.


Another lizard, this one from Braulio Carillo. Again, don't know what kind.


Collared aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus, Braulio Carillo).


Terciopelo, aka fer de lance (Bothrops asper), also from Braulio Carillo. It was coiled right on the edge of the trail, but I didn't even see it. I literally stepped right over it. My wife saw it as she stopped to look at something else. And that was after I'd been assuring her we were extremely unlikely to see any snakes! < Good thing I didn't step on it! >. They're supposed to be pretty aggressive, but this one was very docile. Even when prodded with a (long) stick, it merely slithered into the bushes.


Green vine snake (Oxybelis fulgidus; rear-fanged, mildly venomous). This guy was crossing the trail further along at Braulio Carillo. He kept his body very straight and elongated as he crossed, with very little serpentine motion. Also, his tongue was stuck out straight like that the whole time we watched him.

There are a few others I’ll try to post soon.

ETA: Alas, no. No quetzals. Sigh.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 12 2009,06:33

These pics are great! I looked for the Green Vine Snake at Wikipedia, fascinating behaviour.
Now just let it coil round your neck and take another photo. ;-)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 12 2009,07:37

They're awesome shots, qetzal! I think I'd have wet my boxers, having realized I'd just stepped over a Fer-de-Lance. I prefer mine behind a bit of glass:

< >

The one at the serpentarium was B. atrox, from a little souther than where you were.

       
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Dec. 12 2009,07:33)
Now just let it coil round your neck and take another photo. ;-)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



lol


Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 12 2009,08:16

Now I read up about Bothrops asper:

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bothrops_asper >
   

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Even when prodded with a (long) stick ...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You did what????
Posted by: qetzal on Dec. 13 2009,13:53

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 12 2009,07:37)
They're awesome shots, qetzal! I think I'd have wet my boxers, having realized I'd just stepped over a Fer-de-Lance.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I didn't realize that’s what it was until later that evening, when I had a chance to look it up. Even then, it was pretty sobering to think about!

According to < Wikipedia >, Bothrops asper is one of four different species that are sometimes called “fer-de-lance.”

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Dec. 12 2009,08:16)
You did what????
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Well, in my defense: 1) I didn’t know it was a fer-de-lance at the time. 2) I wanted to get a shot of its belly, since that sometimes helps with identification:




And 3) I was in complete control at all times. If he had made the slightest move toward me, I was quite prepared to sprint screaming in the opposite direction. And from the way he slunk off, I think he knew it:



The ranger station at Braulio Carillo had a huge colony of golden orb weaver spiders (Nephila clavipes). I don’t know how well you can see in this shot, but there were dozens of big females and who knows how many small males inhabiting an enormous complex of interconnected webs. The whole thing was probably 10ft wide by 8ft high by 6ft deep!



Here’s a close up of one of the larger females:



A few days later, we drove south to the Boruca Indian reservation. On the way, we saw this sign:



I was hoping to see some wild monkeys, but if that’s the kind of freaky, Island-of-Dr.-Moreau-looking monos they’ve got, I’m glad there weren’t any cruzan la via near me!

On the dirt road to the Boruca, we saw this laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) sitting on top of a dead palm:



And this scorpion (maybe Centruroides margaritatus?):



The last morning, as we were headed to the airport, we managed to get a shot of a blue-crowned motmot (Momotus momota). (It was back-lit, and I haven’t learned how to compensate for that, so I had to increase the brightness a lot to make it visible in the image; that’s why the pic looks so washed out.)


Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 13 2009,15:25

I finally got a digital camera as an early Christmas gift and I took some pictures at a eventing clinic my wife participated in. Most of the pictures were only fair to middling, and no small number sucked.  But, I did rather like this one of my wife going over the duck jump. I scaled the picture down from the original 5 Meg, so it has lost quite a bit of detail.  (Any hints how to reduce the size without losing alot of resolution? I am using Compupic at the moment.) Also, a note to anyone who is familiar with horses, this gelding is a Clydesdale/Paint cross. He isn't fat, he is just big boned. Literally.



Granted, it isn't technically wildlife, but I will be a few weeks before I get a chance to go out and try and take pictures in the real wild.
Posted by: Cubist on Dec. 14 2009,04:29

Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 13 2009,15:25)
Any hints how to reduce the size without losing alot of resolution? I am using Compupic at the moment.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I am unfamiliar with Compupic, but as an old Photoshop hand who has devoted a goodly amount of effort to reducing the filesize of graphic images, I have some comments that you may perhaps find useful...
Speaking in general terms, the way to reduce the filesize of an image is to throw away some of the bits. Ideally, you want to throw away only bits which do not affect the visual quality of the image; the more bits you throw away, the more likely it is that some of the bits you tossed out do affect the image quality.
Reducing the resolution (shrinking an X * Y image down to, say, an X/2 * Y/2 image) is a fairly obvious way to reduce the filesize. Each pixel of an image represents a certain number of bits of color information; a smaller number of pixels means a smaller total number of bits of color information. Yes, reducing the resolution means you're in danger of losing fine details in your image -- but depending on what you want to do with the image, loss of fine details may be unavoidable, in which case you may as well reduce the resolution and be done with it.
Reducing the bit depth is another obvious way to reduce the filesize, where "bit depth" is graphics geek slang for "number of bits used to describe 1 (one) pixel in an image". If your image is pure black-and-white, no grays need apply, each pixel in that image can be described with 1 bit, 0 (meaning "black") or 1 (meaning "white"), which is why pure B/W images are said to have a bit depth of 1. If every pixel in an image contains one color out fo a list of exactly 16 colors, each pixel can be described with 4 (four) bits, so a 16-color image has a bit depth of 4. Super-realistic images are likely to have bit depths of 24 or greater, which allows them to display very subtle gradations of color; at the same time, high bit depths do boost the filesize. Lower bit depths, contrariwise, reduce the filesize while, at the same time, also reducing the range of colors which can be displayed in the image (again, a bit depth of 1 means B/W, right?).  If Compupic allows you to play around with bit depth, try applying different bit depths to your image, and see what happens to the image's visual quality in each case. I can't make any promises, but it's possible that bit-depth manipulation by itself, may suffice to reduce the image's filesize down to a reasonable level *without*mucking up the image quality to a noticeable degree. If you want to play with bit depth, you'll want to save the image as either PNG or GIF -- JPEG is right out.
The reason I say "JPEG is right out" in the context of bit depth, is that JPEG format is a very different beast than either PNG format or GIF format. The JPEG format divvies an image up into 8*8 chunks, and then does the visual equivalent of a Fourier transform on each of those chunks, breaking said chunk down into the sum of various 2D "waveforms". If you ignore the least-significant of the relevant 2D "waveforms", you can save a few bits of filesize... but only at the cost of losing some of the image quality. Photoshop allows the user to pick a quality level (and associated filesize) when saving a file as JPEG; if Compupic also does that, try saving your file as JPEG several times, using a different quality level each time. You will definitely preserve the image's resolution, but the visual quality is likely to vary widely, so compare and contrast...
Hope this helps!
Posted by: midwifetoad on Dec. 14 2009,07:48

Jpegs are already compressed, so there is no way to reduce the filesize without losing detail.

PhotoShop is probably the best. It has an option to save for the web, which allows you to experiment with various quality levels while keeping the pixel/inch optimized for computer displays.

Gimp is a free program that does most of what PhotoShop does.

If you have MS Office, you have or can get Microsoft Office Picture Manager,  a remarkably competent editor that does a lot of things most people want. It has a great cropping feature, for example, that easily produces images scaled to print paper dimensionns.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Dec. 14 2009,09:59

Hey quetzal,
the birds are cute.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
increase the brightness
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If you'D like me to give it a try, pm me the original jpg.
Posted by: dhogaza on Dec. 14 2009,18:20

Qetzal ...



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
White nosed coati (Nasua narica) that was cruising the parking lot at Volcan Irazu, hoping to beg and/or steal something to eat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Wow, that was probably one of the coatis we saw at Volcan Irazu.  When we were there, one of the little bastards darted into the little cafe/store there, jumped up and started eating someone's food (the someone went screaming in the opposite direction, it was really quite hilarious).

We were there November 3rd ... you weren't the clueless tourist feeding them, were you? (just kidding)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 14 2009,18:58

Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 13 2009,16:25)
I finally got a digital camera as an early Christmas gift and I took some pictures at a eventing clinic my wife participated in. Most of the pictures were only fair to middling, and no small number sucked.  But, I did rather like this one of my wife going over the duck jump.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Not bad, Carlson. It's a neat shot and I like it, too. You'll be an addict by the end of the week!

What did you end up getting?
Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 14 2009,19:24

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 14 2009,18:58)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 13 2009,16:25)
I finally got a digital camera as an early Christmas gift and I took some pictures at a eventing clinic my wife participated in. Most of the pictures were only fair to middling, and no small number sucked.  But, I did rather like this one of my wife going over the duck jump.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Not bad, Carlson. It's a neat shot and I like it, too. You'll be an addict by the end of the week!

What did you end up getting?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Canon EOS Rebel XS (10 Megapixel), which came with a 18-55mm image stabilizing lens. I already had a 70-300mm lens, so I didn't bother with the package deal that Best Buy was offering.  I am hooked already.  It is nice not to have to plan your shots in increments of 24, if you know what I mean.

I took the full resolution version of that shot, uploaded it to Kodak Gallery, had it sent to the CVS pharmacy a few miles away, and within 20 minutes I had 2 8x10s waiting for me. How freaking cool is that?

I have a long way to go to improve my technique,  but at least with a digital camera I can take buttloads of shots and be assured at least one or two come out.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Dec. 14 2009,19:44

To get the most apparent sharpness after downsizing, apply a touch of "unsharp mask" at the new smaller size. I look for the amount that does the most sharpening while adding just a smidge of edge contrast. If you do too much you will see artifacts where objects will have obvious changes in color/brightness in the adjacent background. It usually takes a bit of experimentation to find the right parameters. GIMP does a perfectly good job on this. Choose the "Sinc (Lanczos)" filter option when rescaling, then you can tap the "Preview" checkbox on and off in the "Unsharp Mask" filter to see what the current parameters do for you.

For serious upscaling, I use a Windows application called QImage from DDISoftware. It has a number of advanced filtering algorithms to handle upsizing a photo to avoid the jaggies and make it as natural-looking as possible.

To get the most out of JPEG for the web, get "jpegoptim". This will allow you to strip out the EXIF data and set a JPEG quality factor.

I do a lot with scripts at the command line. Currently I have two scripts in Perl, one to resize photos so I have thumbnails, a 560-pixel wide/tall version, and a 1024-pixel wide/tall version. Perl calls "jhead" to automatically rotate the images taken with my Nikon DSLR, then ImageMagick routines to handle the rescaling, normalization, and unsharp mask operations, and "jpegoptim" to strip EXIF from the new sizes. The other script creates HTML galleries so that I can upload entire directories of images to my server. I am looking to redo the scripts in Python as I get a chance, but that may be a while down the road.
Posted by: qetzal on Dec. 14 2009,20:42

Quote (dhogaza @ Dec. 14 2009,18:20)
Qetzal ...

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
White nosed coati (Nasua narica) that was cruising the parking lot at Volcan Irazu, hoping to beg and/or steal something to eat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Wow, that was probably one of the coatis we saw at Volcan Irazu.  When we were there, one of the little bastards darted into the little cafe/store there, jumped up and started eating someone's food (the someone went screaming in the opposite direction, it was really quite hilarious).

We were there November 3rd ... you weren't the clueless tourist feeding them, were you? (just kidding)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, he (?) definitely looked like a regular. In fact, we had bought a couple of T-shirts in the gift shop, and when we set them down on the picnic bench, he suddenly rushed up and started ripping into the bag! He was clearly hoping there was food inside.

But no, that wasn't us on the 3rd. We were there in mid Oct.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 15 2009,05:19

Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 14 2009,20:24)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 14 2009,18:58)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 13 2009,16:25)
I finally got a digital camera as an early Christmas gift and I took some pictures at a eventing clinic my wife participated in. Most of the pictures were only fair to middling, and no small number sucked.  But, I did rather like this one of my wife going over the duck jump.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Not bad, Carlson. It's a neat shot and I like it, too. You'll be an addict by the end of the week!

What did you end up getting?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Canon EOS Rebel XS (10 Megapixel), which came with a 18-55mm image stabilizing lens. I already had a 70-300mm lens, so I didn't bother with the package deal that Best Buy was offering.  I am hooked already.  It is nice not to have to plan your shots in increments of 24, if you know what I mean.

I took the full resolution version of that shot, uploaded it to Kodak Gallery, had it sent to the CVS pharmacy a few miles away, and within 20 minutes I had 2 8x10s waiting for me. How freaking cool is that?

I have a long way to go to improve my technique,  but at least with a digital camera I can take buttloads of shots and be assured at least one or two come out.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's the camera I'm using, and < this project I did for my World Lit II class > (probably NSFW ETA: boobies!) is hanging on my instructor's office wall as we speak, and another copy of one of them is on display in the school library.

It's a pretty sweet camera for a n00b like me, and my oft-mentioned Theory of Photography is right up your alley. Stick an 8 gig memory card in the thing and take a crapload of shots. Some of them will turn out good.

If you get used to shooting in RAW mode (.CR2), the software that comes with the camera (Digital Photo Pro) can handle those inevitable "Damnit, I left the white-balance on fluorescent!" moments with one click. It's fairly simple to fix the saturation and brightness and whatnot, too. It takes time to then convert them to .jpg, but it's worth the hassle.

After that, you'd probably best take the advice of those more knowledgeable about compression. All I have is a pre-Correl version of Paint Shop Pro that dates from sometime around the K/T Extinction Event. I don't know what the hell's going on under the hood, but just re-saving the image in Paint Shop reduces the filesize from about 5 megs to around 100k. (I have a script set up to do that, and I just run a whole folder before I do anything else to the photos, like soften the focus or re-size). I've zoomed all the way in, looking for the difference in the pixels at a given spot between the pre and post-save versions of images, and I'll be damned if I can see it.

Of course, all the textbook reading I do may have caused blindness and/or loss of sanity...


Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 15 2009,05:34

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 15 2009,05:19)
If you get used to shooting in RAW mode (.CR2), the software that comes with the camera (Digital Photo Pro) can handle those inevitable "Damnit, I left the white-balance on fluorescent!" moments with one click. It's fairly simple to fix the saturation and brightness and whatnot, too. It takes time to then convert them to .jpg, but it's worth the hassle.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Funny you should mention that because the Air Force Museum recommends adjusting the white balance for flourescent lighting, but the users manual doesn't offer any tips on how to do that.  I looked around and it seemed like the camera auto-adjusts the white balance.  Am I mistaken?
Posted by: midwifetoad on Dec. 15 2009,08:46

< http://www.ehow.com/how_2258690_set-custom-white-balance-canon.html >

On my (older) Rebel, I take a picture of a white object, a piece of paper is good, in the lighting I want to balance.

Then I press menu, scroll over and down to custom white balance. I select the picture I just took. This stores the settings for that condition.

I exit the menu, press the WB button, scroll over to custom white balance, and select that.

This seems like a lot of work, and it is, but the neat thing is you can store WB images for lots of different conditions on a memory card and select the appropriate one fairly quickly, without having to carry a white card around with you. The white card, by the way, doesn't have to be anything perfect or magical.

I seldom use custom WB, but my living room is painted green, and without the custom WB, images are impossible to correct.

Artistic shots of sunsets are not good candidates. You probably don't want realism. On the other hand, shots of natural objects taken as documents, should probably always be done with WB customized. You want to know what the object really looks like, without interpretation.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 15 2009,15:59

Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 15 2009,06:34)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 15 2009,05:19)
If you get used to shooting in RAW mode (.CR2), the software that comes with the camera (Digital Photo Pro) can handle those inevitable "Damnit, I left the white-balance on fluorescent!" moments with one click. It's fairly simple to fix the saturation and brightness and whatnot, too. It takes time to then convert them to .jpg, but it's worth the hassle.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Funny you should mention that because the Air Force Museum recommends adjusting the white balance for flourescent lighting, but the users manual doesn't offer any tips on how to do that.  I looked around and it seemed like the camera auto-adjusts the white balance.  Am I mistaken?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, yes and/or no. On the back of the camera, there are two buttons just to the right of the screen and above the four buttons that ring the "Set" button. One of those is marked "AV" and adjusts your aperture. The other is marked "WB" and is your white balance button.

Push it. Your menu screen will now have 8 options, each with an icon.

AWB, a little sun, a house with a shadow, a cloud, a lightbulb, a rectangle with rays shooting out of it, a lightning bolt, and a ball hovering above two triangle things.

The rectangle with the rays shooting out of it is for fluorescent lighting. (I think that's supposed to be a fluorescent light.)

The others are (from left to right):

Auto White Balance (I don't think it does a great job, but YMMV)
Bright Sunlight
Shade
Cloudy
Incandescent Light
the fluorescent light thingy
Flash
Custom <-- I haven't messed with this, but see midwifetoad's answer above. He sounds like he knows what he's talking about. :)

Again, if you shoot in RAW mode and forget to set it, it's a one-click fix in the software that came with the camera, so don't stress over it too much if you realize you've shot some good pics with the wrong setting.

If you shoot in JPG mode, it's tough to fix it well, and I've not yet gotten the hang of that.


Posted by: dhogaza on Dec. 15 2009,16:43

I've sold a fair amount of photography in the book and magazine market, so hopefully know a bit about it so ...

Fixing white-balance after shooting is just fine.  It's what I do.  You can do it with JPEGs as well in programs like Photoshop Elements, The GIMP, etc.

The only problem is that JPEGs store 8 bits per channel (RGW), so if your color is far off, shifting to white can chop off the color space to an annoying extent.  Same with compensating for contrast, etc.

If you shoot RAW you can ignore manual white balance (and color saturation, sharpening and similar) controls because, well, they're ignored by the camera anyway.  RAW is what it says - the real bits from the sensor, untouched by in-camera software.

The idea behind these controls is to give you control over the image when it's converted in-camera to JPEG, in other words.  Your goal shooting JPEGs should be to make the final product be the one generated in-camera.

Now, if you're shooting RAW, with this particular camera you get 12 bits per channel rather than the 8 bits in JPEGs to play with, so you can do a lot of compensating for color, contrast, etc on your computer and still be left with a full 8 bits per channel to get shoved into JPEG output, or your monitor, or printer, etc.  And the dynamic range is great - the level of contrast you can capture then squish into the several stops that a printer can resolve is very high.  And if you totally blow an exposure (hard to do if you use autoexposure) your chances of extracting a usable image is very high.  I haven't tested the dynamic range of my 50D but I could pull out on the order of a dozen stops with my old 20D (contrast that with the 5 or so stops resolvable by Fuji Velvia slide film, or the 7 or so stops resolvable by traditional BW paper).  So if I underexpose by 7 stops, I can still extract 5 stops of information, leaving me with an image with about as much dynamic range as contrasty old Velvia (not that I'd ever forget to take the camera off manual or change exposure after shooting outdoors and stepping into a dark room to shoot something, naw, I'd never do that :)

The downside of RAW is that the image files are larger, and post-processing for printing etc is generally necessary as at minimum you'll want to mess with color saturation and add some sharpening (on the other hand I apply different degrees of sharpening - unsharp mask - for different images/print sizes, but then I'm probably a more critical printer than casual shooters are).
Posted by: midwifetoad on Dec. 15 2009,16:56



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
If you shoot RAW you can ignore manual white balance
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Only if you are a masochist. I have PhotoShop CS3 at work and it has a wonderful set of controls for setting color temperature, and such.

The problem is that bad color situations can't always be fixed by fiddling with color temperature. You have to go into Levels and adjust the color levels individually.

Firs of all, that's painful unless you are after an artistic effect. Second, it may give you something that looks nice but isn't accurate.

I'm sure there are times when nature photographers would value accuracy above art. Using a white card and manual white balance will give you accuracy in tough conditions.
Posted by: dhogaza on Dec. 15 2009,18:32



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Only if you are a masochist.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Oops, white color balance is applied to RAW images by Canon bodies.  But serious photographers I know clean up their images during post processing.  When shooting RAW, post processing is a given anyway.

The only time you can't correct properly is when there's a mix of light sources of different color temperature.  But that's true whether you're adjusting in-camera or during post-processing.  Remember that color balance correction doesn't affect the sensor - it's software correction applied to the bits generated by the sensor.  Doesn't matter if the software's running in the camera or on your computer.

Setting white balance with a white card is fine, of course, assuming that the light falling on the card is the same color temperature as the light falling on the subject.  That's often not the case when shooting wildlife.
Posted by: midwifetoad on Dec. 15 2009,19:01



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Doesn't matter if the software's running in the camera or on your computer
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



True in theory, but a lot easier to do by measuring the quality of the light when you are taking the picture. Otherwise, you are just making a pretty picture, as opposed to an accurate one.

It's also true that you can't always measure the light that's falling on your subject, particularly if you are using a long lens. That's related to my problem in my green painted room. The subject is lighted by light reflected off a colored object -- leaves, for example.

That presents a problem more complex than color temperature. Another common problem is that there are a dozen or more different fluorescent bulbs, with different mixtures of phosphor. I have a little Nikon camera that offers three settings for fluorescent lights.

The fact is that auto WB does an acceptable job most of the time. My point is that, having dropped a couple grand on camera and lenses, you should know how it works. My first digital camera was a Nikon point and shoot. I was still finding new menu options a year after I got it.
Posted by: ppb on Dec. 15 2009,21:05

My Canon Rebel XT lets me save images as both raw and jpeg simultaneously.  You can have a raw image to play with if you need it, but also have a jpeg ready to use right away.  Make sure you have a large enough memory card though as this will use up the space more quickly.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 15 2009,22:04

Quote (ppb @ Dec. 15 2009,22:05)
My Canon Rebel XT lets me save images as both raw and jpeg simultaneously.  You can have a raw image to play with if you need it, but also have a jpeg ready to use right away.  Make sure you have a large enough memory card though as this will use up the space more quickly.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The XS has that capability too, but I don't bother. I know I'm going to post-process, and RAW is way easier for me in the environment available to me.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Dec. 15 2009,22:41

For the Canon Rebel XS, you can set a custom white balance in the "Record" menu:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Custom WB - Set the custom white balance value using a stored image

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I carry a white piece of plastic in my kit that also serves as a flash bounce card, but it is also my custom white balance target. On one side, it has a bit of scribbling in blue marker. Taking a custom white balance on that makes the resulting exposures ever so slightly warmer, which makes a subtle but welcome change in skin tones.

There are so many different sorts of fluorescent lights that I wouldn't trust a "fluorescent" white balance setting. IT also doesn't work well to used a fixed white balance when there is mixed lighting. Custom white balance is really the way to go.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Dec. 15 2009,22:47



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

My first digital camera was a Nikon point and shoot. I was still finding new menu options a year after I got it.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I had just gotten my Nikon D2Xs DSLR on a Thursday, and was traveling that Saturday to go to the first Dover reunion. I had reading material for the flight -- the multi-hundred page manual for the camera and the just slightly shorter manual for the SB-800 flash units. But what helped a lot was Moose Peterson's listing of his recommended menu settings for the D2Xs, which I applied right off the bat. I've had little cause to move many of those. There's loads of capabilities I haven't touched yet.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 16 2009,05:44

Damn you all! I have the last of my five finals today, and until that's done I just don't have room in my brain for any new information.

Until noon today, your fancy schmancy custom white balance stuff just gets filed under "Magic".
Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 27 2009,14:33

On Christmas Day, we went out on our neighbors walking paths and enjoyed the sun.  We didn't see any true wildlife, although these three are fairly ill-behaved.

I call this one Why You Always Want to be Lead Dog.


EDIT:  Thanks, Bob.
Posted by: Bob O'H on Dec. 27 2009,14:37

Oops, wrong link apparently.  Can you haz eddit button?
Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 27 2009,14:43

Quote (Bob O'H @ Dec. 27 2009,14:37)
Oops, wrong link apparently.  Can you haz eddit button?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, fixed now.
Posted by: The Wayward Hammer on Jan. 01 2010,16:06

Some shots near my house.  Flamingos - I thought they only came in the plastic variety.  Also, a spoonbill.

On flickr:< My Webpage >
Posted by: rhmc on Jan. 01 2010,22:25

Quote (The Wayward Hammer @ Jan. 01 2010,17:06)
Some shots near my house.  Flamingos - I thought they only came in the plastic variety.  Also, a spoonbill.

On flickr:< My Webpage >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


so how far south are ewe?

ibis seen a few spoonbills around

got a couple of broken ceramic flamingos in the shrubs

rails and storks abound


eta: eye kant spill
Posted by: The Wayward Hammer on Jan. 02 2010,12:03

We live in Houston, so quite far south.  I moved here from the Midwest about 4 years ago.  We have funny water birds here but are severely lacking in the songbird department.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Jan. 02 2010,12:29

Quote (The Wayward Hammer @ Jan. 01 2010,16:06)
Some shots near my house.  Flamingos - I thought they only came in the plastic variety.  Also, a spoonbill.

On flickr:< My Webpage >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think that the "flamingos" in < this image > are also Roseate Spoonbills. Flamingos are quite rare in the US, and most of them are escapees from zoos. The most famous of these is "Pink Floyd", the feral Chilean Flamingo who winters on the south side of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. See < here > for more details about Floyd.
Posted by: The Wayward Hammer on Jan. 02 2010,14:41

Good point: looking at the photos out the interwebs, it appears that I captured a nice flock of spoonbills.  I did not realize that flamingos were so rare in the US.  Thanks!
Posted by: Robin on Feb. 03 2010,12:12

Must be close to bird mating and nesting time here on the east coast of the US. Had the most spectacular display from a female Cooper's Hawk two days ago - at our sliding glass window! The bird puffed up and starting screaming - I thought at us because my wife and I were just getting up from breakfast and the door is right next to our kitchen table - but after watching for a bit it became evident she couldn't see us - or at least not well - because of the sun's angle on the window. All I can think is that she saw her reflection and was doing a territorial display, but I'm not positive. I'll have to look it up. At any rate, it was the most amazing sight I've seen in quite awhile. I've never been that close - maybe 3 feet - from a wild Cooper's. My wife was so stunned, she completely forgot she had her iPhone in her hand and could have taken a pic. (sigh)
Posted by: J-Dog on Feb. 03 2010,17:06

Robin - Don't forget that we are also always intested in getting pictures of the mating habits of Homo sapiens.  Especially if your wife is stunning.


ps:  Oh.  You said stunned!  That's different.
Posted by: khan on Feb. 06 2010,14:44

I know it's not very good, but he would fly away if I opened the door.  I think it's a Northern Harrier.

Startled me when he swooped past the window.





Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Feb. 06 2010,16:02

I've never seen a Northern Harrier sitting in a deciduous tree in a wooded area. Now, that's not to say that this isn't a Harrier, but I'm betting it's a large (female) Cooper's Hawk instead, just based on the habitat.

On the subject of hawks, I am currently in Kansas City, staying in a hotel near the Plaza. I happened to look out the window to see a Red-tailed Hawk, which by itself would be an unusual sighting in this urban area, flapping strenuously away from the hotel while being chased by a large falcon. The falcon took a couple of dives at the Red-tail, and then swooped back toward the hotel and flew right past my window. Peregrine Falcon! I'm not aware of any nesting Peregrines in this city, but that bird was acting in a pretty territorial manner...
Posted by: khan on Feb. 06 2010,16:06



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I've never seen a Northern Harrier sitting in a deciduous tree in a wooded area. Now, that's not to say that this isn't a Harrier, but I'm betting it's a large (female) Cooper's Hawk instead, just based on the habitat.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Could be. Both species have taken kills in the front yard.
Posted by: khan on Mar. 05 2010,19:14

Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.






Posted by: J-Dog on Mar. 05 2010,19:54

ROCKY RACOON
Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able
Posted by: fnxtr on Mar. 05 2010,20:21

Quote (khan @ Mar. 05 2010,17:14)
Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Notice any cats missing?
Posted by: khan on Mar. 05 2010,20:31

Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 05 2010,21:21)
Quote (khan @ Mar. 05 2010,17:14)
Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Notice any cats missing?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


One cat and he's mostly indoor (and still here).
Posted by: carlsonjok on Mar. 14 2010,09:38

I went out to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge yesterday and took a lot of pictures.  Much to my surprise, a few actually turned out.  Although, I still don't like the overall image quality I get with my bottom-of-the-line telephoto lens.

Blacktail Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)



Bison (Bison bison)





Texas Longhorn (Bos taurus)





I also saw 3 American Elk (Cervus elaphus), but they were too far away, and tucked back in some timber, so I didn't get a very good picture.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Mar. 14 2010,15:09

Thanks Carlsonjok, these are gorgeous (I really like the prairie dog).

BTW, I've started reading "I Am America (and so can you)" an hour ago. Love it so far!
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 14 2010,17:00

But is a prairie dog a member of the dog kind? :p
Posted by: Louis on Mar. 14 2010,17:20

Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 14 2010,22:00)
But is a prairie dog a member of the dog kind? :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


No it's a member of the prarie kind, and therefore a grass.

Louis
Posted by: Doc Bill on Mar. 14 2010,17:40



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No it's a member of the prarie kind, and therefore a grass.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The short haired Tattle Tail comes to mind.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Mar. 14 2010,19:29

My wife and I are planning on visiting Florida in the second week of April but don't want to spend vast sums. We are interested in wildlife, especially birds, but not in city nightlife. We are currently looking at flying to Tampa then renting a car and driving to Fort Charlotte. Of course, we would like to get into the mangroves, but dashing across the swamps in a propellor-driven boat does not particularly appeal - we would like to be able to go more slowly and to hear things.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where we should go and what we should do? Flying in to Orlando or Miami are other possibilities but getting to Miami is more expensive from here.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Mar. 15 2010,02:23

Quote (Richard Simons @ Mar. 15 2010,01:29)
My wife and I are planning on visiting Florida in the second week of April but don't want to spend vast sums. We are interested in wildlife, especially birds, but not in city nightlife. We are currently looking at flying to Tampa then renting a car and driving to Fort Charlotte. Of course, we would like to get into the mangroves, but dashing across the swamps in a propellor-driven boat does not particularly appeal - we would like to be able to go more slowly and to hear things.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where we should go and what we should do? Flying in to Orlando or Miami are other possibilities but getting to Miami is more expensive from here.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The tampa area is quite the spot if you want wildlife. I've spent 5 summers there (in St Petersburg), and any average bayou will allow you to see alligators, cranes, turtles...

And from tampa, you're not very far from Tarpon Spings, and most of all Clearwater Springs, which is an excellent place for scuba diving.

And for a nice camp-out, Fort deSoto is really cool (try throwing some rocks in the water at night, it will glow like fireworks!).

Hope this helps...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 15 2010,06:35

Quote (Richard Simons @ Mar. 14 2010,19:29)
My wife and I are planning on visiting Florida in the second week of April but don't want to spend vast sums. We are interested in wildlife, especially birds, but not in city nightlife. We are currently looking at flying to Tampa then renting a car and driving to Fort Charlotte. Of course, we would like to get into the mangroves, but dashing across the swamps in a propellor-driven boat does not particularly appeal - we would like to be able to go more slowly and to hear things.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where we should go and what we should do? Flying in to Orlando or Miami are other possibilities but getting to Miami is more expensive from here.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sanibel Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, just west of Ft. Myers. One of the best birding places on the planet. Don't miss it.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Mar. 15 2010,06:42

Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 14 2010,10:38)
I went out to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge yesterday and took a lot of pictures.  Much to my surprise, a few actually turned out.  Although, I still don't like the overall image quality I get with my bottom-of-the-line telephoto lens.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shots, though, Carlson. Thanks for sharing.

I've got my eye on upgrading my bottom-of-the-line zoom myself. The wifey is being a little cranky about it, though. She keeps yapping about priorities and house repairs and other miscellaneous unimportant nonsense.
Posted by: J-Dog on Mar. 15 2010,08:21

The best advice for visiting FL so far comes from one of our resident Frenchies!  Perhaps we could get tax-exempt status for our new org... Bloggers Without Borders!



ps:  shout out to Louis for the "prairie kind", and Doc for the "Short Haired Tattle Tail".
Posted by: carlsonjok on Mar. 16 2010,07:43

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 15 2010,06:42)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 14 2010,10:38)
I went out to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge yesterday and took a lot of pictures.  Much to my surprise, a few actually turned out.  Although, I still don't like the overall image quality I get with my bottom-of-the-line telephoto lens.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shots, though, Carlson. Thanks for sharing.

I've got my eye on upgrading my bottom-of-the-line zoom myself. The wifey is being a little cranky about it, though. She keeps yapping about priorities and house repairs and other miscellaneous unimportant nonsense.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Having spent the last month in Home Repair Hell ™, I can sympathize.  

I've got my eye on < this lens >, but at around $600 I am going to have to save my pennies. Right now I have the stock Canon 18-55mm lens with image stabilization and an old Tamron 70-300mm lens for long shots. But it doesn't have any image stabilization and I have found that when zoomed all the way out, the picture quality is poor, even when I am taking a still shot.  Plus, when I am photographing at a horse show, or out in nature (like I was at the Wildlife Refuge), that I am frequently changing lenses when something strikes my fancy.  I think this lens helps with both issues.  

But, alas, it will be a while as I have to get new carpeting and new riding mower in the months ahead.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Mar. 17 2010,15:40

Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 16 2010,08:43)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 15 2010,06:42)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 14 2010,10:38)
I went out to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge yesterday and took a lot of pictures.  Much to my surprise, a few actually turned out.  Although, I still don't like the overall image quality I get with my bottom-of-the-line telephoto lens.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shots, though, Carlson. Thanks for sharing.

I've got my eye on upgrading my bottom-of-the-line zoom myself. The wifey is being a little cranky about it, though. She keeps yapping about priorities and house repairs and other miscellaneous unimportant nonsense.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Having spent the last month in Home Repair Hell ™, I can sympathize.  

I've got my eye on < this lens >, but at around $600 I am going to have to save my pennies. Right now I have the stock Canon 18-55mm lens with image stabilization and an old Tamron 70-300mm lens for long shots. But it doesn't have any image stabilization and I have found that when zoomed all the way out, the picture quality is poor, even when I am taking a still shot.  Plus, when I am photographing at a horse show, or out in nature (like I was at the Wildlife Refuge), that I am frequently changing lenses when something strikes my fancy.  I think this lens helps with both issues.  

But, alas, it will be a while as I have to get new carpeting and new riding mower in the months ahead.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've been looking at two, actually:

< This one >, and < this one >, both for each of the reasons you mention. Currently I have the standard lens you mention < and a Canon similar to the Tamron you mention >.
Posted by: khan on Mar. 17 2010,16:22

Quote (khan @ Mar. 05 2010,20:14)
Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think I know what happened.
There is a damaged & dieing raccoon in the cat shelter on the patio.
Posted by: dhogaza on Mar. 17 2010,17:52



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Sanibel Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, just west of Ft. Myers. One of the best birding places on the planet. Don't miss it.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Don't forget the various beaches on Sanibel, there are usually lots of shorebirds (waders to some of you) and due to the continual presence of people, they're not skittish and quite easy to photograph with even a moderate telephoto (my first trip there was with a 400/5.6).

< This white ibis shot was taken from one of the beaches, for instance >
Posted by: dhogaza on Mar. 17 2010,17:58

Let me just drop that image inline and force y'all to take a gander ... composition could be better, I was a newbie at that point and all excited.


Posted by: dhogaza on Mar. 17 2010,18:10

More from the area ... this reddish egret hanging out in a salt water lagoon was reported to me while I was down in the everglades.

Three days later, it was still there, in the same place.  Unfortunately, the lagoon is in a portion of Ft. Meyers Beach which is unaccessible unless you're staying at one of the hotels on the beach.   Strangely, I wasn't, and I still got out there to photograph.  Don't tell anyone, not sure the statute of limitations has expired yet :)

This guy was so used to people that it wouldn't strike a pose.  I was out in the lagoon up to my knees with tripod and 600/4, and finally resorted to kicking salt water at it to get it to pay attention to me!


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 17 2010,19:20

Quote (khan @ Mar. 17 2010,16:22)
Quote (khan @ Mar. 05 2010,20:14)
Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think I know what happened.
There is a damaged & dieing raccoon in the cat shelter on the patio.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


There's apparently a nasty form of < roundworm carried by raccoons > that is hard to eradicate. Treat any fecal matter from your visitor as hazardous waste.

CDC:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------

How should I clean up raccoon feces?

You should clean up very carefully. To eliminate eggs, feces and material contaminated with raccoon feces should be removed and burned, buried, or sent to a landfill. Care should be taken to avoid contaminating hands and clothes. The use of gloves and facemask will help prevent cross contamination. Treat feces-soiled decks, patios, and other surfaces with boiling water. Always wash hands well with soap and running water, to help further reduce possible infection.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: fnxtr on Mar. 17 2010,21:13

Quote (khan @ Mar. 17 2010,14:22)
Quote (khan @ Mar. 05 2010,20:14)
Not sure I want to know what happened. Pretty sure those are raccoon prints in blood.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think I know what happened.
There is a damaged & dieing raccoon in the cat shelter on the patio.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ouch. Really? Road accident? Coyote? Badger? Some good with a rifle?

Otherwise, that's some cat you have there.
Posted by: Richard Simons on Mar. 18 2010,20:20

Thanks for the suggestions of where to visit in Florida. I think my wife in particular will appreciate the herons and ibis - to her an LBJ is just a little brown bird. We've booked our flight and a rental car and rooms for a couple of nights (Tampa and Port Charlotte) and play it by ear once we get there. I imagine it will not be a particularly busy time of year.

Here up in Manitoba, I heard the first white-throated sparrow a week ago and saw a merlin yesterday so the migrants are starting to come back. The snow and ice are melting fast and early - half-a-dozen semi-trailers got stuck in the mud on the winter road to St Theresa Point so it looks like they'll have to fly in a gravel-crusher.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 19 2010,00:57

If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Mar. 19 2010,05:35

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,01:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Make sure Diane is around, in case a gator needs an attitude adjustment.

How's she doing, by the way?
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Mar. 19 2010,06:15

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 19 2010,11:35)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,01:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Make sure Diane is around, in case a gator needs an attitude adjustment.

How's she doing, by the way?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The new Diane?


Posted by: Aardvark on Mar. 24 2010,18:56

Things around my room:









And something from the bathroom:


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 24 2010,20:18

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 19 2010,05:35)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,01:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Make sure Diane is around, in case a gator needs an attitude adjustment.

How's she doing, by the way?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Diane is doing fine. Just this evening, some kids asked to see her gator scars... the 24 tooth marks are still visible as pinkish scars on her left calf.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 24 2010,20:21

Aardvark,

Do those guys pay rent? :)
Posted by: OWKtree on Mar. 25 2010,14:40

Got a new entry for my "backyard wildlife" list.

Peregrine Falcon.  Had one swooping around the level of my apartment window.  Watched it circling down the block between two buildings (actually above a half block sized parking lot) and actually stoop to take a shot at some of the local pigeons.  Came back up into sight without a meal, so I guess the pigeons survived this time around.

Only other bird of prey I've seen around are red-tailed hawks.  Including one sitting on the sidewalk plucking a recently caught starling while out walking during lunch time last fall.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 25 2010,15:22

One of my coworkers has talked about a bird of prey that lives in his area. As he has a small dog, whenever the dog is outside somebody has to be on the alert for incoming bird.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Mar. 25 2010,17:27

The other day, I went out for my mail and ran into a small pod of anatomically modern humans.  Unfortunately, I don't usually camera up to go for the mail, so I was unable to document this unusual sighting.

I haven't been outside again since, so I can't say whether this was a migratory group or whether they may have elected to take up residence...

I did note an unusual amount of vocalization.  It's conceivable this represents a crude attempt at intraspecific communication.

But, of course, it could also be mating-related, or any number of other things.

I hope to be in a position to make additonal observations soon, since I am expecting a package.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 25 2010,21:04

Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 25 2010,15:22)
One of my coworkers has talked about a bird of prey that lives in his area. As he has a small dog, whenever the dog is outside somebody has to be on the alert for incoming bird.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Unless the dog is quite small, or he lives in a neighborhood that hosts Harpy Eagles, I suspect the dog is not at risk from a raptor. Hawks may look big, but remember that they are mostly feathers. A big female red-tailed hawk won't take anything much bigger than a squirrel or a cottontail. Most dogs are bigger than that.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 25 2010,22:29

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Mar. 25 2010,20:04)
Unless the dog is quite small,
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It is.
Posted by: khan on Mar. 26 2010,08:52

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Mar. 25 2010,22:04)
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 25 2010,15:22)
One of my coworkers has talked about a bird of prey that lives in his area. As he has a small dog, whenever the dog is outside somebody has to be on the alert for incoming bird.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Unless the dog is quite small, or he lives in a neighborhood that hosts Harpy Eagles, I suspect the dog is not at risk from a raptor. Hawks may look big, but remember that they are mostly feathers. A big female red-tailed hawk won't take anything much bigger than a squirrel or a cottontail. Most dogs are bigger than that.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 26 2010,10:33

:O  :O
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 26 2010,12:55

Our new place in Palmetto, Florida looks like it has a fair bit of interesting fauna on it.

There's a woodpecker that has laid claim to the property. He/she comes by the power poles fairly regularly. Four of us were standing at the poles when I saw the woodpecker coming our way in the usual flap-swoop alternation. He/she lit on the pole, and it was only then that he/she looked down and noticed our presence. Birds don't have very mobile facial features, but if I could assign an emotion, it was surprise. He/she flew off. Another time, we let Rusty loose from the van. The woodpecker flew off, loudly vocalizing. I don't think he/she liked our bringing a hawk on the property.

I've seen a great blue heron and another species of heron, plus various egrets. There's sometimes coots at one of the ponds. We've seen some black-colored snake and a king snake near the house. We can hear red-tailed hawks in the vicinity, plus there are plenty of turkey vultures around. One of the turkey vultures likes to perch on the power pole.

And, of course, there are rabbits around.

When I get some time to get photos, I'll post them.
Posted by: fnxtr on Mar. 26 2010,13:26

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 26 2010,10:55)
Our new place in Palmetto, Florida looks like it has a fair bit of interesting fauna on it.

There's a woodpecker that has laid claim to the property. He/she comes by the power poles fairly regularly. Four of us were standing at the poles when I saw the woodpecker coming our way in the usual flap-swoop alternation. He/she lit on the pole, and it was only then that he/she looked down and noticed our presence. Birds don't have very mobile facial features, but if I could assign an emotion, it was surprise. He/she flew off. Another time, we let Rusty loose from the van. The woodpecker flew off, loudly vocalizing. I don't think he/she liked our bringing a hawk on the property.

I've seen a great blue heron and another species of heron, plus various egrets. There's sometimes coots at one of the ponds. We've seen some black-colored snake and a king snake near the house. We can hear red-tailed hawks in the vicinity, plus there are plenty of turkey vultures around. One of the turkey vultures likes to perch on the power pole.

And, of course, there are rabbits around.

When I get some time to get photos, I'll post them.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Got you all beat: we have actual frogs behind our house.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Mar. 26 2010,13:29

When the power company removed their meter last year, they didn't bother to remove the leads to the transformer. I know there are frogs around our place, because one fried himself going from one lead to the other in the box.
Posted by: Henry J on Mar. 26 2010,14:52

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 26 2010,12:29)
When the power company removed their meter last year, they didn't bother to remove the leads to the transformer. I know there are frogs around our place, because one fried himself going from one lead to the other in the box.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


"It's not easy being green" - Kermit the frog.
Posted by: qetzal on Mar. 28 2010,12:21

We seem to have a red-shouldered hawk* nesting near us. It (or one of them?) perches on our back fence occasionally.



*Red-shouldered seems likeliest, based on < this site >. The call is certainly identical.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 28 2010,21:04

Quote (qetzal @ Mar. 28 2010,12:21)
*Red-shouldered seems likeliest, based on < this site >. The call is certainly identical.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Indeed. Nice shot! And from the looks of that bird, you might live in Florida or somewhere in the eastern US, rather than the western US.
Posted by: qetzal on Mar. 29 2010,08:53

Actually, we're north of Houston.

I'm guessing these hawks show geographical variation then?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Mar. 30 2010,09:13

Quote (qetzal @ Mar. 29 2010,08:53)
Actually, we're north of Houston.

I'm guessing these hawks show geographical variation then?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, eastern birds (or southeastern birds, for sure) tend to have pale heads and less rufous on the underparts. Here are some typical specimens

< western >

< eastern >
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 05 2010,20:42

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 05 2010,22:18

Richard, would you be able to spend a couple of hours the evening of the 13th somewhere near south Tampa Bay?
Posted by: Bjarne on April 06 2010,08:04

My cat just came home with this little fellow:



Its a grass snake (Natix natix). As far as I know, the only snake species present in my region.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 06 2010,08:52

Quote (Richard Simons @ April 05 2010,21:42)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm pretty much a non-entity around here (lotsa' lurkin', not much postin') but reside in the Central Florida area.  A meetup would be nice.  Any excuse to share a drink, you know.
Posted by: fnxtr on April 06 2010,11:36

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 06 2010,06:52)
Quote (Richard Simons @ April 05 2010,21:42)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm pretty much a non-entity around here (lotsa' lurkin', not much postin') but reside in the Central Florida area.  A meetup would be nice.  Any excuse to share a drink, you know.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Plus, she has a cool leather jacket.
Posted by: J-Dog on April 06 2010,12:51

Quote (fnxtr @ April 06 2010,11:36)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 06 2010,06:52)
Quote (Richard Simons @ April 05 2010,21:42)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm pretty much a non-entity around here (lotsa' lurkin', not much postin') but reside in the Central Florida area.  A meetup would be nice.  Any excuse to share a drink, you know.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Plus, she has a cool leather jacket.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


and her dogs can beat up DaveTard's dogs.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 06 2010,14:37

Quote (J-Dog @ April 06 2010,13:51)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 06 2010,11:36)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 06 2010,06:52)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ April 05 2010,21:42)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm pretty much a non-entity around here (lotsa' lurkin', not much postin') but reside in the Central Florida area.  A meetup would be nice.  Any excuse to share a drink, you know.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Plus, she has a cool leather jacket.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


and her dogs can beat up DaveTard's dogs.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hell, they can beat up DaveTard himself!
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 06 2010,22:05

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 05 2010,22:18)
Richard, would you be able to spend a couple of hours the evening of the 13th somewhere near south Tampa Bay?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wes, That sounds good, and my wife likes the idea of meeting up with a local zoology contact. Let me know of a suitable place and time.

Wolfhound, I've never been to Florida before, but if you can suggest a meeting time and place (the same as with Wes or different) that would fit in with our plans without too much driving on busy highways we'd like to meet you, too.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 07 2010,05:34

Quote (Richard Simons @ April 06 2010,23:05)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 05 2010,22:18)
Richard, would you be able to spend a couple of hours the evening of the 13th somewhere near south Tampa Bay?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wes, That sounds good, and my wife likes the idea of meeting up with a local zoology contact. Let me know of a suitable place and time.

Wolfhound, I've never been to Florida before, but if you can suggest a meeting time and place (the same as with Wes or different) that would fit in with our plans without too much driving on busy highways we'd like to meet you, too.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If Wes is okay with sharing his time, it would make more sense for us all to meet at the same venue.  Just need a time and place.

Oh, and my name is Monica.  No harm in sharing that since it is well-known that I own several large, vicious wolfhounds with a taste for creationist flesh.  RAWR!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 07 2010,08:17

Our local coal-burning utility company likes to put a green veneer on their activities, and thus have provided a place for peregrine falcons to nest on their headquarters in nearby Topeka. They equipped it with < two webcams >, and the images from the "side cam" are pretty nice. This is the female peregrine, who is incubating three eggs, on a cold morning today. The scimitar-shaped primaries, a hallmark of the falcon clan, are particularly obvious when these birds are hunkered down like this!


Posted by: FrankH on April 07 2010,17:34

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 07 2010,08:17)
Our local coal-burning utility company likes to put a green veneer on their activities, and thus have provided a place for peregrine falcons to nest on their headquarters in nearby Topeka. They equipped it with < two webcams >, and the images from the "side cam" are pretty nice. This is the female peregrine, who is incubating three eggs, on a cold morning today. The scimitar-shaped primaries, a hallmark of the falcon clan, are particularly obvious when these birds are hunkered down like this!


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


To me, it looks like a, well, bird of prey.

What are the "scimitar shaped primaries"?
Posted by: sledgehammer on April 07 2010,18:21

The "primary" flight feathers at the tips of the wings.
Posted by: FrankH on April 07 2010,18:32

Quote (sledgehammer @ April 07 2010,18:21)
The "primary" flight feathers at the tips of the wings.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah.

I thought it was the beak.

Thanks.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 07 2010,22:03

Quote (FrankH @ April 07 2010,17:34)
What are the "scimitar shaped primaries"?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Sorry about the jargon.

Bird feather topography explained here.




And here is a quick guide to various birds of prey. Top = buteo (e.g. red-tailed hawk), middle = accipiter (e.g. sharp-shinned hawk), bottom = falcon (e.g. Peregrine)


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 08 2010,06:04

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 07 2010,05:34)
Quote (Richard Simons @ April 06 2010,23:05)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 05 2010,22:18)
Richard, would you be able to spend a couple of hours the evening of the 13th somewhere near south Tampa Bay?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wes, That sounds good, and my wife likes the idea of meeting up with a local zoology contact. Let me know of a suitable place and time.

Wolfhound, I've never been to Florida before, but if you can suggest a meeting time and place (the same as with Wes or different) that would fit in with our plans without too much driving on busy highways we'd like to meet you, too.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If Wes is okay with sharing his time, it would make more sense for us all to meet at the same venue.  Just need a time and place.

Oh, and my name is Monica.  No harm in sharing that since it is well-known that I own several large, vicious wolfhounds with a taste for creationist flesh.  RAWR!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think Tuesday night, April 13th, is probably going to work best for me.

Suggestions for place? I am currently living in Clearwater and working in downtown St. Petersburg. I am working on moving into a house in Palmetto (Manatee County). Where are others, and do we have suggestions for a place to meet and eat?

(BTW, Wolfhound, one of my new neighbors talked about how in our area a couple of unauthorized wanderers coming down a long driveway had been encouraged to take their walk elsewhere -- at gunpoint. Taking a wrong turn down there isn't great for one's health, apparently.)


Posted by: Wolfhound on April 08 2010,06:35

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 08 2010,07:04)
Suggestions for place? I am currently living in Clearwater and working in downtown St. Petersburg. I am working on moving into a house in Palmetto (Manatee County). Where are others, and do we have suggestions for a place to meet and eat?

(BTW, Wolfhound, one of my new neighbors talked about how in our area a couple of unauthorized wanderers coming down a long driveway had been encouraged to take their walk elsewhere -- at gunpoint. Taking a wrong turn down there isn't great for one's health, apparently.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'll dig around and see what's popular.  If you were closer to Tampa proper, I'd suggest < Four Green Fields >, one of most favoritist places ever.  Good food, good drinks, owned and run by Irishmen so they don't scrimp on the alochol, either.  Decor is Olde World Bar Fight (some of the wicker chairs look as though they've been used to smash a few heads).

Why am I not surprised by the "move along, stranger" story?  That was a somewhat common scenario in Brooksville, too.  My farrier, who lived just up the road from me, was a gun-totin', tree-huggin' liberal atheist and said he'd run some riff-raff off once in a while.  Yeeee-HAW!  (He also tried to "humanely" kill a chicken-eating possum I'd trapped but that's a horror story for another day)
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 08 2010,06:40

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 08 2010,07:35)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 08 2010,07:04)
Suggestions for place? I am currently living in Clearwater and working in downtown St. Petersburg. I am working on moving into a house in Palmetto (Manatee County). Where are others, and do we have suggestions for a place to meet and eat?

(BTW, Wolfhound, one of my new neighbors talked about how in our area a couple of unauthorized wanderers coming down a long driveway had been encouraged to take their walk elsewhere -- at gunpoint. Taking a wrong turn down there isn't great for one's health, apparently.)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'll dig around and see what's popular.  If you were closer to Tampa proper, I'd suggest < Four Green Fields >, one of most favoritist places ever.  Good food, good drinks, owned and run by Irishmen so they don't scrimp on the alochol, either.  Decor is Olde World Bar Fight (some of the wicker chairs look as though they've been used to smash a few heads).

Why am I not surprised by the "move along, stranger" story?  That was a somewhat common scenario in Brooksville, too.  My farrier, who lived just up the road from me, was a gun-totin', tree-huggin' liberal atheist and said he'd run some riff-raff off once in a while.  Yeeee-HAW!  (He also tried to "humanely" kill a chicken-eating possum I'd trapped but that's a horror story for another day)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Wow, there's some serious spelling and grammar fail in my post.  *goes to get coffee*
Posted by: FrankH on April 08 2010,06:58

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 07 2010,22:03)
Quote (FrankH @ April 07 2010,17:34)
What are the "scimitar shaped primaries"?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Sorry about the jargon.

Bird feather topography explained here.

And here is a quick guide to various birds of prey. Top = buteo (e.g. red-tailed hawk), middle = accipiter (e.g. sharp-shinned hawk), bottom = falcon (e.g. Peregrine)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Thanks bud.  This is much appreciated.

Hey, I'm a guy that has a background in Geo-Physics and work in the networking field (CCIE coming soon!).  Biology is what I skipped as much as I could as the classes and labs "really stunk it up".

But in my field, there are many evangelicals and "bejeebuz is my lard".  I have always wondered why so many of my fellow "engineers" support ID.  It is always interesting when they find out I'm neither an ID supporter nor religious.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on April 08 2010,07:23

Monica, Wes and Richard:

Shall I suggest John's Pass? Lovelly place, dolphins can be seen swimming in the pass at all time, there is a great restaurant on the south corner of the pass where they serve delicious gator nuggets. That would be a nice revenge for Ms Elsberry ;)

I haven't been there in 15 years, but this would be the place to go whenever I return to Florida!
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 08 2010,08:39

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 08 2010,08:23)
Monica, Wes and Richard:

Shall I suggest John's Pass? Lovelly place, dolphins can be seen swimming in the pass at all time, there is a great restaurant on the south corner of the pass where they serve delicious gator nuggets. That would be a nice revenge for Ms Elsberry ;)

I haven't been there in 15 years, but this would be the place to go whenever I return to Florida!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah!  I've been there, I believe!  There is the restaurant proper and dining outside, as well.  Our crew sat outdoors on the decking.  Unfortunately, the wind was howling off the river(drinks were served in plastic cups so a firm grip was needed) and there was some truly wretched karaoke going on but the food was very good.  I had a seafood chowder that was lovely.  Parking was a bear at the time but it   was a Friday night, after all.
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 08 2010,09:10

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 08 2010,07:23)
Monica, Wes and Richard:

Shall I suggest John's Pass? Lovelly place, dolphins can be seen swimming in the pass at all time, there is a great restaurant on the south corner of the pass where they serve delicious gator nuggets. That would be a nice revenge for Ms Elsberry ;)

I haven't been there in 15 years, but this would be the place to go whenever I return to Florida!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I will leave the choice to Wes and Monica, but it sounds interesting. Does alligator taste like crocodile? I had that once and, although it was eatable, I would rate it as different rather than delicious - but perhaps it was the way it was cooked.

We got to our hotel in Tampa at 2 a.m. after a delayed flight when a critical part of the aircraft failed (I believe it was the washroom light switch). First thing I saw when I looked out of the window this morning was a white ibis.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on April 08 2010,13:02

Quote (Richard Simons @ April 08 2010,15:10)
I will leave the choice to Wes and Monica, but it sounds interesting. Does alligator taste like crocodile? I had that once and, although it was eatable, I would rate it as different rather than delicious - but perhaps it was the way it was cooked.

We got to our hotel in Tampa at 2 a.m. after a delayed flight when a critical part of the aircraft failed (I believe it was the washroom light switch). First thing I saw when I looked out of the window this morning was a white ibis.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've never tried crocodile, but alligator is quite close to chicken, although tastier and a bit more fillandrous (yet not tough). I enjoyed it a lot.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Ah!  I've been there, I believe!  There is the restaurant proper and dining outside, as well.  Our crew sat outdoors on the decking.  Unfortunately, the wind was howling off the river(drinks were served in plastic cups so a firm grip was needed) and there was some truly wretched karaoke going on but the food was very good.  I had a seafood chowder that was lovely.  Parking was a bear at the time but it   was a Friday night, after all.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



There's a large parking on the north side of the pass. Quite busy on weekends.

I used to go bridge-jumping at John's pass with friends (higly illegal). We stopped when we heard from a policeman who had just arrested us that two kids died there doing the same...

I will always remember that exchange:

-Police Officer: "hand me your driver licences"
-Chris: "it's okay, we're too drunk to drive anyway"

We were 17...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 08 2010,16:35

I'm currently in Denver, and went out to the Pawnee National Grasslands this morning with a couple of local birders. We found a nice flock of 6 Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus on a bare patch of ground. Here's a shot of four of those.

Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 08 2010,21:06

What's the name of the recommended restaurant at John's Pass? How many people might we expect to turn up if we go there? I can then check on whether it still exists and will take a reservation.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on April 09 2010,01:58

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 09 2010,03:06)
What's the name of the recommended restaurant at John's Pass? How many people might we expect to turn up if we go there? I can then check on whether it still exists and will take a reservation.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The restaurant is Gators Cafe and Salon

Treasure Island, FL 33706, United States

(727) 367-8951

< Gators Cafe >
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 09 2010,06:41

I'm up for this.  Wes, it'll just be me, by my widdle wonesome <*sob*> and I don't know of anybody else who might be coming. I invited Mike PSS (PM'ed him at TalkRational) but have gotten no response.  Is SteveStory still in Lakeland?  If he is and cares to go, I can swing by and pick him and his girlfriend up.  Otherwise, I might ride the motorcycle over.
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 09 2010,20:08

Wes: put us down for two at the cafe. We are trying to erase our sea-food deficit while we are here.

Qetzal has a photo of a red-shouldered hawk at the head of the previous page - I just saw my first earlier today in a palm tree at the south end of Ft. Myers Beach.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 09 2010,20:45

Wes, will Prof.  Steve Steve make an appearance?  Deadman wants photos.   :p
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 09 2010,22:38

Prof. Steve Steve has been showing an inordinate fondness for Reed Cartwright's place lately. There's a certain amount of wear-and-tear a fellow undergoes traveling around the world on sabbatical. I doubt PSS can get here in time for the get-together.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 11 2010,11:05

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 09 2010,23:38)
Prof. Steve Steve has been showing an inordinate fondness for Reed Cartwright's place lately. There's a certain amount of wear-and-tear a fellow undergoes traveling around the world on sabbatical. I doubt PSS can get here in time for the get-together.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The good professor needs a stunt panda/body double for instances such as this!

What time shall we meet on Tuesday?  It's about a 2 hour drive for me, give or take.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 11 2010,20:31

Would 6:30 work for you, Wolfhound? If not, when is the earliest that you might make it?
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 11 2010,21:02

Been doing some traveling, and then some field trips for fun with a friend of mine, who is quickly becoming my partner in crime.

Along the way, I've popped off a few photos of interesting critters, mostly birds.

< Here's Petey the Sandhill Crane > (Grus canadensis) who seems to be a bit off course.



< A White Ibis > (Eudocimus albus)



< and a few of his friends >



< A half-way decent shot of a Laughing Gull > (Larus atricilla)



They crack me up.

< A pretty cool sequence of 8 shots > of Sea Squirts squirting:



(I trust y'all can find the following seven, right?)

I started to pick up < this conch shell > and give it to my partner, but then realized that someone was still in residence



I know they're common, but I like < Common Grackles > (Quiscalus quiscula) anyway. They're pretty, despite being introduced (edited, see below):



Compare to the Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major), so named for obvious reasons:

< Male > -



< A pair of males > -



< Female > -



But really the highlight of the last few weeks < came this morning >:











A mated pair of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), in the Croatan National Forest, who've been sitting their eggs.


Posted by: Wolfhound on April 12 2010,06:09

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 11 2010,21:31)
Would 6:30 work for you, Wolfhound? If not, when is the earliest that you might make it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


6:30 is good.  I shall see you there.  I'll PM you my cell phone number.  Publicly posting it would be bad since there are so many perves here.  And you know who you are.   :angry:

* Not that I am completely opposed to talking to some of the perves here.  They can PM me for my cell phone number.  A current CV and brain scan must be attached to the request.  Thank you.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 12 2010,08:31

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 11 2010,21:02)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shots, Lou!

Now I've got questions.

Where was the Sandhill Crane?

And why do you say that Common Grackles are an introduced species? William Bartram found and described them in your neck of the woods in the 1770's.
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 12 2010,12:57

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 12 2010,09:31)
[quote=Lou FCD,April 11 2010,21:02][/quote]
Nice shots, Lou!

Now I've got questions.

Where was the Sandhill Crane?

And why do you say that Common Grackles are an introduced species? William Bartram found and described them in your neck of the woods in the 1770's.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Alby. The Sandhill Crane was right off the Intracoastal Waterway around Hubert, NC. The maps and species descriptions I've seen (Audubon, Peterson's, and Cornell) all seem to indicate he shouldn't be this far North and East.

Hmm.. I was sure I'd just read that the three most common introduced species in the States were the Common Grackle, the European Starling, and the Rock Pigeon. I must be misremembering. I'm at a loss as to where I'd read that, too. I might ought to get checked for Alzheimer's (while a joke, it does run in my maternal family).
Posted by: ppb on April 12 2010,13:44

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 12 2010,13:57)
Hmm.. I was sure I'd just read that the three most common introduced species in the States were the Common Grackle, the European Starling, and the Rock Pigeon. I must be misremembering.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Lou,

Nice pictures, again.  I like grackles too.  They look real cool with their iridescent heads.

As for your misremembered top three introduced birds, you could replace grackle with house sparrow and you would probably be correct.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 12 2010,13:45

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 12 2010,12:57)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 12 2010,09:31)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 11 2010,21:02)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shots, Lou!

Now I've got questions.

Where was the Sandhill Crane?

And why do you say that Common Grackles are an introduced species? William Bartram found and described them in your neck of the woods in the 1770's.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Alby. The Sandhill Crane was right off the Intracoastal Waterway around Hubert, NC. The maps and species descriptions I've seen (Audubon, Peterson's, and Cornell) all seem to indicate he shouldn't be this far North and East.

Hmm.. I was sure I'd just read that the three most common introduced species in the States were the Common Grackle, the European Starling, and the Rock Pigeon. I must be misremembering. I'm at a loss as to where I'd read that, too. I might ought to get checked for Alzheimer's (while a joke, it does run in my maternal family).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Lou

Sandhill cranes have a resident AND a migrant population in Florida, and some of the migrants stray to the coast of North Carolina and Outer Banks < once in a while >. It is a rare bird there, however. Did you report it to the local < bird record committee >?

Re the most common introduced species, I think that they would be House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), European Starling, and Rock Pigeon. Grackles are home-grown!
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 12 2010,14:46

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 12 2010,14:45)
It is a rare bird there, however. Did you report it to the local < bird record committee >?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I have now. :)

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 12 2010,14:45)
Re the most common introduced species, I think that they would be House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), European Starling, and Rock Pigeon. Grackles are home-grown!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



What I'm reading now at Cornell suggests you are quite correct.
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 12 2010,14:55

Quote (ppb @ April 12 2010,14:44)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 12 2010,13:57)
Hmm.. I was sure I'd just read that the three most common introduced species in the States were the Common Grackle, the European Starling, and the Rock Pigeon. I must be misremembering.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Lou,

Nice pictures, again.  I like grackles too.  They look real cool with their iridescent heads.

As for your misremembered top three introduced birds, you could replace grackle with house sparrow and you would probably be correct.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yep, well y'know what Meatloaf said, "Two outta three ain't bad."
Posted by: ppb on April 12 2010,15:05

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 12 2010,15:55)
Yep, well y'know what Meatloaf said, "Two outta three ain't bad."
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's OK.  We grant partial credit here.  :)
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 12 2010,15:52

Quote (ppb @ April 12 2010,16:05)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 12 2010,15:55)
Yep, well y'know what Meatloaf said, "Two outta three ain't bad."
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's OK.  We grant partial credit here.  :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I can't be expected to know *everything* yet, I'm just a baby biologist. Check my sig.
Posted by: Richard Simons on April 12 2010,18:51

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 11 2010,20:31)
Would 6:30 work for you, Wolfhound? If not, when is the earliest that you might make it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


6:30 sounds fine for us, too. I don't have a cell phone (until recently, I've been working in places with no cell phone access) but we'll leave a message at the restaurant if we expect to be late.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 12 2010,21:27

Finally, spring has come to the Flint Hills of Kansas.


Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on April 13 2010,00:26

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 13 2010,03:27)
Finally, spring has come to the Flint Hills of Kansas.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


ooohhh! Morels! I love morels!
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 13 2010,07:01

Sweet!
Posted by: J-Dog on April 13 2010,07:55

[quote=Schroedinger's Dog,April 13 2010,00:26][quote=Albatrossity2,April 13 2010,03:27]Finally, spring has come to the Flint Hills of Kansas.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
ooohhh! Morels! I love morels!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I thought that as Church Burnin' Ebola Boy Atheistic Baby killers, we had no morels???
Posted by: Henry J on April 13 2010,12:13

Morels are such fun guys.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 13 2010,23:15

Party of five at Gators, and we had quite a good time chatting. Wolfhound has pictures, and I have some. I don't know when I will next get a chance to upload some, including one of a night heron on a piling. Diane and I have MarineQuest at work to prepare for and work in, which ends Saturday.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,00:35

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 14 2010,00:15)
Party of five at Gators, and we had quite a good time chatting. Wolfhound has pictures, and I have some. I don't know when I will next get a chance to upload some, including one of a night heron on a piling. Diane and I have MarineQuest at work to prepare for and work in, which ends Saturday.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


It was lovely meeting everybody!  Good food, good conversation, and great company.  Except for the strange young fellow boarding the trolley who, upon seeing me get out of my vehicle and cross the road to meet Wes and the Simmonses at the restaurant's front door, yelled out "Hi, Tall!" in a tone of voice that implied familiarity.  Or drunkeness.  It was a bit disconcerting, even if he was correct in his assessment of my height.   :p

My computer doesn't like the mini disks that the photos are stored on so I'll have to use another machine to extract them and then send them to the various interested parties.  And maybe post a few here.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 14 2010,05:39

The group boarding the trolley appeared to all be ASL users, so likely hearing-impaired. That might explain a non-standard tone of voice.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,06:45

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 14 2010,06:39)
The group boarding the trolley appeared to all be ASL users, so likely hearing-impaired. That might explain a non-standard tone of voice.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aha!  I didn't get to observe the group prior to them boarding the trolley so missed that.  He was a self-confident guy, for certain!

Oh, here's one of windblown me, taken by Wes.   :D

Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on April 14 2010,07:01

Nice! I hope you guys had a really good time! (Damn! I wish I could visit Florida more often. Next time, maybe...)

BTW, did you enjoy the place? Tried any of their delicious gator Nuggets? And the view?

:)
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,07:48

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 14 2010,08:01)
Nice! I hope you guys had a really good time! (Damn! I wish I could visit Florida more often. Next time, maybe...)

BTW, did you enjoy the place? Tried any of their delicious gator Nuggets? And the view?

:)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If you ever come on down to Florida, drop me a line.  I can show you some of the Orlando hotspots and the great, out-of-the-way places in my old county of residence.  If you're brave, I'll throw you on the back of my motorcycle.  HA!

The view was nice (especially the sunset and the various birds that showed up) but none of us got the gator tail.  I had the seared Ahi tuna with sliced ginger and seaweed salad garnish (YUM!;) plus a calamari appetizer was shared around.  Oh, there was an Elvis impersonator performing in the lounge area.  We opted to eschew that particular delight.   :D
Posted by: fnxtr on April 14 2010,10:37

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,04:45)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 14 2010,06:39)
The group boarding the trolley appeared to all be ASL users, so likely hearing-impaired. That might explain a non-standard tone of voice.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aha!  I didn't get to observe the group prior to them boarding the trolley so missed that.  He was a self-confident guy, for certain!

Oh, here's one of windblown me, taken by Wes.   :D

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,10:58

Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,11:05

A group shot, minus Mrs. Elsberry, who joined us later.  Not sure why I look so sheepish but Wes and I are stooping to make sure our heads stayed in the frame.


Posted by: ppb on April 14 2010,11:50

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,12:05)
A group shot, minus Mrs. Elsberry, who joined us later.  Not sure why I look so sheepish but Wes and I are stooping to make sure our heads stayed in the frame.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I see the good Professor Steve Steve was able to make it to the party, or at least his stunt double.
Posted by: fnxtr on April 14 2010,14:05

Quote (ppb @ April 14 2010,09:50)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,12:05)
A group shot, minus Mrs. Elsberry, who joined us later.  Not sure why I look so sheepish but Wes and I are stooping to make sure our heads stayed in the frame.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I see the good Professor Steve Steve was able to make it to the party, or at least his stunt double.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


... looks like a P.S.S. sock puppet to me...
Posted by: fnxtr on April 14 2010,14:12

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,08:58)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Alas, I have to rely on the memory of compliments.  (sigh) Those were the days. :-)
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,16:35

Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,15:12)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,08:58)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Alas, I have to rely on the memory of compliments.  (sigh) Those were the days. :-)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Awww, now I feel bad.   :(  

If you haven't been given any compliments in a while you're either A) old, B) married, or C) all of the above.  Or else you need to post photos of yourself.  I'm sure Louis will think you're HAWT.   :p
Posted by: fnxtr on April 14 2010,16:48

I'm going with C), Monty.

She thinks I've got it goin' on, that's really all that matters these days.

Sorry, Louis.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,17:13

Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,17:48)
I'm going with C), Monty.

She thinks I've got it goin' on, that's really all that matters these days.

Sorry, Louis.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, damn!  Actions speak louder than words so this is pure win for you!   :)

*Poor, poor Louis...
Posted by: fnxtr on April 14 2010,17:26

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,15:13)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,17:48)
I'm going with C), Monty.

She thinks I've got it goin' on, that's really all that matters these days.

Sorry, Louis.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, damn!  Actions speak louder than words so this is pure win for you!   :)

*Poor, poor Louis...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, she makes the slide from Ric Ocasek/Kevin Bacon to Nick Park's Wallace a lot easier to deal with. :-)

Anyway, back to wildlife: The Snowbirds are practicing here (CFB Comox, just over the hill), I'll try to get some shots, sadly all I have is this cheap digital with the 1/2-second delay, which tends to make me  :angry:

edit: remove some stuff.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on April 14 2010,19:34

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:05)
A group shot, minus Mrs. Elsberry, who joined us later.  Not sure why I look so sheepish but Wes and I are stooping to make sure our heads stayed in the frame.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'd better note that "Mrs. Elsberry" is actually Diane Blackwood, Ph.D. Yes, we're married, but she kept her maiden name. She counted the fact that the Social Security Office burned down as a sign.

That doesn't mean that one or the other of us won't occasionally respond to being called "Mrs. Elsberry" or "Mr. Blackwood" as the case may be. Sometimes it is simpler to just go with the flow.
Posted by: Wolfhound on April 14 2010,19:55

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 14 2010,20:34)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:05)
A group shot, minus Mrs. Elsberry, who joined us later.  Not sure why I look so sheepish but Wes and I are stooping to make sure our heads stayed in the frame.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'd better note that "Mrs. Elsberry" is actually Diane Blackwood, Ph.D. Yes, we're married, but she kept her maiden name. She counted the fact that the Social Security Office burned down as a sign.

That doesn't mean that one or the other of us won't occasionally respond to being called "Mrs. Elsberry" or "Mr. Blackwood" as the case may be. Sometimes it is simpler to just go with the flow.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


LOL!  I stand corrected and please accept my apologies!   :D
Posted by: Louis on April 15 2010,03:35

Honestly, you make one slightly gay joke and you are forever damned.

Anyway, it looks like everyone had fun. Pity no one had the gator. As previosly noted elsewhere, 'twould have been poetic justice for Dr Blackwood.

Louis
Posted by: Robin on April 15 2010,08:50

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 11 2010,21:02)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Been doing some traveling, and then some field trips for fun with a friend of mine, who is quickly becoming my partner in crime.

Along the way, I've popped off a few photos of interesting critters, mostly birds.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Great pics Lou! I meant so post this earlier, but over Easter my wife and went to visit a friend in Chapel Hill. She lives in this nice little wooded neighborhood, but it's basically suburban - not all that far from downtown Chapel Hill. There's a little walking path down from her house that cuts through this little park area over to nearby shopping center. Cute little park with a stream running through it. A few old sycamores and Carolina pines. Lots of joggers, walkers, and families with strollers too.

Nonetheless, we were walking along the path one day and we heard the unmistakable call of a Barred Owl. Now I have a notorious anti-owl aura - it may just be concidence, but the last half dozens owls I approached (even ones at this rehab center) all got excited when I came near and would not stop staring at me or calling, barking, whathaveyou. That said, we went looking for the hooter and I finally found her (pretty sure she was female) sitting on a branch of an old Carolina pine. Just beautiful. She chatted with her mate who was somewhere nearby and then took a bit of a nap. Then she decided to groom herself for a bit. We watched her for some 45 minutes and she didn't care we were there at all. Alas, no pics.
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 15 2010,19:50

Quote (Robin @ April 15 2010,09:50)
[quote=Lou FCD,April 11 2010,21:02][/quote]


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Been doing some traveling, and then some field trips for fun with a friend of mine, who is quickly becoming my partner in crime.

Along the way, I've popped off a few photos of interesting critters, mostly birds.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Great pics Lou! I meant so post this earlier, but over Easter my wife and went to visit a friend in Chapel Hill. She lives in this nice little wooded neighborhood, but it's basically suburban - not all that far from downtown Chapel Hill. There's a little walking path down from her house that cuts through this little park area over to nearby shopping center. Cute little park with a stream running through it. A few old sycamores and Carolina pines. Lots of joggers, walkers, and families with strollers too.

Nonetheless, we were walking along the path one day and we heard the unmistakable call of a Barred Owl. Now I have a notorious anti-owl aura - it may just be concidence, but the last half dozens owls I approached (even ones at this rehab center) all got excited when I came near and would not stop staring at me or calling, barking, whathaveyou. That said, we went looking for the hooter and I finally found her (pretty sure she was female) sitting on a branch of an old Carolina pine. Just beautiful. She chatted with her mate who was somewhere nearby and then took a bit of a nap. Then she decided to groom herself for a bit. We watched her for some 45 minutes and she didn't care we were there at all. Alas, no pics.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's pretty cool. I haven't bumped into any owls since I picked up my camera, but I'd love to get some good pics of one.
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 15 2010,19:52

Glad to see the Florida shindig went well, and although no one ate the gator, I'm glad to hear the reverse also didn't happen.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 24 2010,15:19

Getting toward the end of the morel season here in NE Kansas, but there are still some big ones out there.

Posted by: khan on April 24 2010,15:40

Something (probably a Northern Harrier) had dove for lunch.






Posted by: Paul Flocken on April 24 2010,18:22

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 24 2010,16:19)
Getting toward the end of the morel season here in NE Kansas, but there are still some big ones out there.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I love mushrooms of all types, assuming they won't poison me, but I have never had the chance to try morels.  You have my undying envy. :(
Posted by: Lou FCD on April 24 2010,21:04

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:58)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then. I find you attractive.
Posted by: fnxtr on April 25 2010,17:25

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 24 2010,19:04)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:58)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then. I find you attractive.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Get in line.
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 25 2010,17:32

Quote (fnxtr @ April 25 2010,17:25)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 24 2010,19:04)
 
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:58)
 
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then. I find you attractive.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Get in line.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Posted by: ppb on April 26 2010,08:26

A few days ago my dog discovered a turkey sitting behind a tree on the edge
of our yard.  It was just sitting there while my dog was about 3 feet away
behind a fence, barking her head off.  The turkey didn't move.

I assumed it was nesting, but I couldn't tell for certain, as there was nothing
visible other than the bird itself.  My wife and I set up some barriers to keep
the dogs away and occasionally peeked in to see if the turkey was still there.  

She stuck around for a few days, but this morning all I saw was this:



I don't know if she abandoned the nest, or if she was out on her
coffee break.  Any ideas on whether they leave their nests like this?  

The picture was taken around 7:30 EDT.
Posted by: Paul Flocken on April 26 2010,08:34

Not that you may not have already looked, but this seemed promising.

< Turkey Nesting Behavior >
Posted by: ppb on April 26 2010,09:08

Paul,
Thanks for the link.  I had been googling around and found out that wild turkeys
typically lay 10 to 12 eggs, one per day.  Given that I see 8 eggs here, she probably
isn't done yet.

I also read that while they are still laying, they will cover the eggs with leaves
when they go out to feed.

Once the last egg is laid, she will incubate them for 26 to 28 days before
they hatch.

My wife reports that the mom is back on the job now.

I'll post more pictures as things develop.
Posted by: Henry J on April 26 2010,10:40



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I don't know if she abandoned the nest, or if she was out on her coffee break.  Any ideas on whether they leave their nests like this?  
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



COFFEE!
Posted by: ppb on April 26 2010,18:17

Here's a picture of mom, safe at home.


Posted by: Wolfhound on April 27 2010,07:58

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 25 2010,18:32)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 25 2010,17:25)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 24 2010,19:04)
 
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:58)
   
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then. I find you attractive.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Get in line.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yaaaaaay!  My kinda' party!
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 29 2010,13:52

I am lucky enough to be able to work from home.  The view from my home office is is some blackjack, an old fence line overgrown with vines and, a bit further off, my large pasture.  
Normally, the view is boring. I may catch an occasional glimpse of my horses grazing in the distance, but for the most part, nothing happens outside the window.

For the most part.  Once I was hosting a conference call when four wild turkeys wandered past. Today, this guy walked by:

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Posted by: Henry J on April 29 2010,17:21

Road runner Road runner runs down the road all day...
Not even Coyote can understand his ways...
Road runner; if he catches you you're through...

Beep! Beep!!111!!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 29 2010,18:03

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 29 2010,13:52)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shot!

But isn't it amazing how a bird can always find the one spot in the entire sun-lit yard where it can be in a shadow?
Posted by: carlsonjok on April 29 2010,18:20

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 29 2010,18:03)
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 29 2010,13:52)
 
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice shot!

But isn't it amazing how a bird can always find the one spot in the entire sun-lit yard where it can be in a shadow?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, he was actually darker straight out of the camera. I had to do a little post-processing in Photoshop to tease out some detail.

What kind of lens do you use when you go birding?  I took this with my new Tamron telephoto at 270mm and still had to crop the image quite a bit.  Your photos are always so close and crisp, I figure you must have a killer set up.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on April 30 2010,08:09

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 29 2010,18:20)
What kind of lens do you use when you go birding?  I took this with my new Tamron telephoto at 270mm and still had to crop the image quite a bit.  Your photos are always so close and crisp, I figure you must have a killer set up.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. But I have a lot of heavily cropped images too!

The lens that I use for bird photography is the Canon 100-400 f/5.6 zoom; the body is a Canon 5D. For a zoom, that lens is pretty sharp, and the 13 megapixel sensor on the body makes it possible to still have a crisp image if you have to crop it.

The only problem with the lens is that the aperture is too small to allow the use of a 1.4X or other teleconverter and still have the autofocus work. You need at least an f/4 for that, and those things can start to cost you the big bucks. 400 mm is really about the bare minimum focal length for bird or other nature photography; it would be nice to bump that up with a converter.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 02 2010,12:59

Migration is on, and many summer resident birds are back here in NE Kansas. Among the birds seen on a short walk this morning was this exuberant Northern Parula (Parula americana).

Posted by: Lou FCD on May 02 2010,18:58

Awesome shot
Posted by: fnxtr on May 04 2010,21:34

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 25 2010,15:32)
Quote (fnxtr @ April 25 2010,17:25)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 24 2010,19:04)
 
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 14 2010,11:58)
   
Quote (fnxtr @ April 14 2010,11:37)
yowzah. :-)

My sister runs Northwood Studios in Gainesville. Silkscreens &c.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Aw, thanks!   :)   I am, indeed, a typical gal in that I like it when men find me attractive and tell me so.  Even when I'm "off the market", so to speak.  It's been a good 24 hours for me.  *blush*  

And yet another guy with a Florida connection.  Hope your sister's business is booming!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah, well then. I find you attractive.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Get in line.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Way too late:

I don't think that's the kind of "wild life" Alby intended on this board...
Posted by: Henry J on May 04 2010,23:05

Is this like that old adage "support wildlife - throw a party!" ?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 10 2010,11:51

Great weekend for migrant birds here in NE Kansas. And many of our summer residents, like this Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) are here as well.

Posted by: rhmc on May 17 2010,18:22

we have had a sort of sad development with some bluebirds and perhaps one of you could shed some light on bluebird rearing.

a pair picked out a box in our yard and began to raise a brood.  shortly after the hatching, the male disappeared (probably dinner to one of the many hawks that cruise our area).
the female busted her butt feeding the three or so chicks for a few weeks but on thursday (today is monday) she stopped feeding them and would sit nearby twittering and chirping as if to coax them from the box.
from what we could see, the chicks weren't old enough to fly and sunday we found one dead chick under the box another in bad shape nearby.  neither was capable of flying.  dunno what happened to the third or any others.

my question is:  do the parents feed only for a certain length of time before coaxing the chicks out?  
that would account for the lack of development (only one parent feeding) and the female's ceasing to feed and, what looks to us like attempting to coax the chicks out.

i don't know beans about bluebirds and can't locate data on nesting behaviour that defines what i want to know.

so, anyone have any knowledge?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 18 2010,06:57

Quote (rhmc @ May 17 2010,18:22)
we have had a sort of sad development with some bluebirds and perhaps one of you could shed some light on bluebird rearing.

a pair picked out a box in our yard and began to raise a brood.  shortly after the hatching, the male disappeared (probably dinner to one of the many hawks that cruise our area).
the female busted her butt feeding the three or so chicks for a few weeks but on thursday (today is monday) she stopped feeding them and would sit nearby twittering and chirping as if to coax them from the box.
from what we could see, the chicks weren't old enough to fly and sunday we found one dead chick under the box another in bad shape nearby.  neither was capable of flying.  dunno what happened to the third or any others.

my question is:  do the parents feed only for a certain length of time before coaxing the chicks out?  
that would account for the lack of development (only one parent feeding) and the female's ceasing to feed and, what looks to us like attempting to coax the chicks out.

i don't know beans about bluebirds and can't locate data on nesting behaviour that defines what i want to know.

so, anyone have any knowledge?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I'm sorry that your bluebird nesters ended so tragically. I haven't heard of this particular situation before, but here are a couple of things that might help.

One, it's possible that the mother did quit feeding before the nestlings were capable of getting out of the box. But parents will try to coax young from the nest before they can fly; that's why we see so many baby birds sitting on lawns this time of year. They can still feed them for a while, but the incentive to get all of your offspring out of that nest is pretty high as the young get larger, noisier, and more obvious to predators. So maybe she coaxed them out per usual, and, for whatever reason, they weren't ready for it.

Secondly, this sort of situation is common in the bird world. I read somewhere that 85% of mortality in passerines occurs in the egg/nest/fledgling stage. If they get past that period, they can live for years. But losing all of your nestlings is something that happens to a lot of birds every year. It's possible that your third bird made it to cover, and the mother fed it until it could fly, however.
Posted by: khan on May 18 2010,19:36

Need a name...

It flew away before I could get a photo.

It was a medium sized black bird with a white tail.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 18 2010,19:44

Quote (khan @ May 18 2010,19:36)
Need a name...

It flew away before I could get a photo.

It was a medium sized black bird with a white tail.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've always been partial to the name Fred...

But seriously, it will be easier to narrow down the list if you give us a geographic location where the bird was seen.

Thanks
Posted by: khan on May 18 2010,20:02

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 18 2010,20:44)
Quote (khan @ May 18 2010,19:36)
Need a name...

It flew away before I could get a photo.

It was a medium sized black bird with a white tail.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've always been partial to the name Fred...

But seriously, it will be easier to narrow down the list if you give us a geographic location where the bird was seen.

Thanks
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


SW Ohio
Semi-rural
Posted by: ppb on May 19 2010,14:47

Quote (khan @ May 18 2010,21:02)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 18 2010,20:44)
Quote (khan @ May 18 2010,19:36)
Need a name...

It flew away before I could get a photo.

It was a medium sized black bird with a white tail.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I've always been partial to the name Fred...

But seriously, it will be easier to narrow down the list if you give us a geographic location where the bird was seen.

Thanks
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


SW Ohio
Semi-rural
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I think some forms of albinism can produce white tail feathers on a normally all black bird.  Except for the tail feathers, did it look like anything else?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 19 2010,15:23

Quote (ppb @ May 19 2010,14:47)
I think some forms of albinism can produce white tail feathers on a normally all black bird.  Except for the tail feathers, did it look like anything else?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


As ppb notes, the structure of the bird is a clue. Did it look structurally like a robin/thrush (plump, long-legged) except for the plumage? Did it look structurally like a blue jay (long-tailed)? Starling (short-tailed)? Red-winged blackbird (long sharp beak)?

And what was it doing? Behavioral clues can be as important (often more important) than plumage. So here are some behavior questions to get you started?

Was it on the ground or in a tree? If a tree, was it on a branch or clinging to the trunk? if it was on the ground, was it in a woods, grassy area, parking lot, or ???
Was it feeding at a feeder? If so, what kind of seeds were in the feeder?
Did it hop? Walk?
Any other behaviors that you can recall?

The plumage description matches no bird that I am aware of, so these additional bits of information, if available, would help a lot!

thanks
Posted by: Henry J on May 19 2010,16:05

Was it more similar to a velociraptor or a T-Rex?

Wait, what am I saying?  :p
Posted by: khan on May 19 2010,17:25

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 19 2010,16:23)
Quote (ppb @ May 19 2010,14:47)
I think some forms of albinism can produce white tail feathers on a normally all black bird.  Except for the tail feathers, did it look like anything else?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


As ppb notes, the structure of the bird is a clue. Did it look structurally like a robin/thrush (plump, long-legged) except for the plumage? Did it look structurally like a blue jay (long-tailed)? Starling (short-tailed)? Red-winged blackbird (long sharp beak)?

And what was it doing? Behavioral clues can be as important (often more important) than plumage. So here are some behavior questions to get you started?

Was it on the ground or in a tree? If a tree, was it on a branch or clinging to the trunk? if it was on the ground, was it in a woods, grassy area, parking lot, or ???
Was it feeding at a feeder? If so, what kind of seeds were in the feeder?
Did it hop? Walk?
Any other behaviors that you can recall?

The plumage description matches no bird that I am aware of, so these additional bits of information, if available, would help a lot!

thanks
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The location: I live on the dead end of a paved street on the edge of a small city in SW Ohio. Past the end of the street is a small untended overgrown patch of land (lots of brush, some big trees, some deadfalls).

Bird was seen at edge of street/lawn pecking at ground.

Body shape: sort of robin/grackle

Don't recall beak.

I looked it up on 'net and all I found were others asking for ident of similar bird.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 19 2010,20:21

Quote (khan @ May 19 2010,17:25)
The location: I live on the dead end of a paved street on the edge of a small city in SW Ohio. Past the end of the street is a small untended overgrown patch of land (lots of brush, some big trees, some deadfalls).

Bird was seen at edge of street/lawn pecking at ground.

Body shape: sort of robin/grackle

Don't recall beak.

I looked it up on 'net and all I found were others asking for ident of similar bird.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


The only N. American bird I know with a "white tail" (actually just a white rump) and that is in that size range is the Bobolink. But the white extends up the back onto the head, so I don't think it would be described as white-tailed by most folks who got a glimpse of it. And the habitat is wrong; these guys prefer hay fields and weedy alfalfa fields. Here's a pic of one that shows the back

Otherwise I'm stumped. Mockingbirds have white outer tail feathers (as do a lot of birds), but not totally white tails.

Robins are commonly leucistic; maybe that's what it was.

Posted by: khan on May 19 2010,21:14

< http://www.google.com/imgres?....rl=http >

< http://tinyurl.com/26788mj >

< http://www.whatbird.com/forums....her.jpg >

< http://tinyurl.com/29slvsh >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 20 2010,06:25

The two birds shown in the images provided are both leucistic (white feathers on part of the bird where the feathers should not be white). One looks like a crow, the other like a cowbird, but without further information re location, those are just speculations. In any case, the plumages are not normal for those species, and I suspect that the bird you saw was also some kind of leucistic mutant.
Posted by: dhogaza on May 21 2010,16:36

Leucistic or into painting using its tail as a brush ...

Any open cans of white paint around? :)

Khan, leucistic birds are actually quite common ... this is a good opportunity to hone your bird id skills using size, shape, habits, etc.
Posted by: khan on May 21 2010,16:42

So I can assume it was a mutant? I think I have seen similar over the years.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 21 2010,17:28

Quote (khan @ May 21 2010,16:42)
So I can assume it was a mutant? I think I have seen similar over the years.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I'm assuming that it was a mutant, unless I can think of some N. American species, of that size and behavior, with an all-white tail. Right now, I just can't come up with one.

Or unless you can get pictures! If there are similar birds around, see if you can get one in pixels.
Posted by: khan on May 21 2010,17:30

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 21 2010,18:28)
Quote (khan @ May 21 2010,16:42)
So I can assume it was a mutant? I think I have seen similar over the years.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I'm assuming that it was a mutant, unless I can think of some N. American species, of that size and behavior, with an all-white tail. Right now, I just can't come up with one.

Or unless you can get pictures! If there are similar birds around, see if you can get one in pixels.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I shall try, with my wimpy camera.
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on May 22 2010,01:42

Question for Mr Trossity...

I was fortunate to see a brightly colored bird alight in our backyard aspen trees, the hues of which I have never seen in my locale. I was not fortunate enough to get my camera before the winged florescence disappeared. By way of Googly-Moogly, I was able to identify it as a Western Tanager.

I am curious how common it is to see this bird in an urban area of northern Colorado?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 22 2010,06:53

Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ May 22 2010,01:42)
Question for Mr Trossity...

I was fortunate to see a brightly colored bird alight in our backyard aspen trees, the hues of which I have never seen in my locale. I was not fortunate enough to get my camera before the winged florescence disappeared. By way of Googly-Moogly, I was able to identify it as a Western Tanager.

I am curious how common it is to see this bird in an urban area of northern Colorado?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, that is a stunning bird! The northernmost member of the tanager family.

Not common in urban areas, but they certainly do occur. Definitely common in the forests in your nearby mountains. But it's not surprising that you haven't seen them; I'm always amazed at how this bright yellow and red bird can hide so well in a green background.

I've even had < one (in a much less flashy plumage) in my yard here in NE Kansas >, although that was a bird significantly out of range and out of season. This bird was at my birdbath in January, and she should have been in Central America at that time of year.
Posted by: Tony M Nyphot on May 22 2010,12:01

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 22 2010,05:53)
   
Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ May 22 2010,01:42)
Question for Mr Trossity...

I was fortunate to see a brightly colored bird alight in our backyard aspen trees, the hues of which I have never seen in my locale. I was not fortunate enough to get my camera before the winged florescence disappeared. By way of Googly-Moogly, I was able to identify it as a Western Tanager.

I am curious how common it is to see this bird in an urban area of northern Colorado?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes, that is a stunning bird! The northernmost member of the tanager family.

Not common in urban areas, but they certainly do occur. Definitely common in the forests in your nearby mountains. But it's not surprising that you haven't seen them; I'm always amazed at how this bright yellow and red bird can hide so well in a green background.

I've even had < one (in a much less flashy plumage) in my yard here in NE Kansas >, although that was a bird significantly out of range and out of season. This bird was at my birdbath in January, and she should have been in Central America at that time of year.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Not having much knowledge of birds, I would never have associated your pictures with the same bird that saw. I assume that your pic was a female or a winter colorization?

As you note, it was curious to me how well the bright colors of this bird still blended in with the green of the leaves and the yellow of sunlight. < This image > is very close to the bird that I saw.

Beautiful plummage...
Posted by: Henry J on May 22 2010,12:39

A stunning bird? What, did it carry a taser or something? :p

Henry
Posted by: dhogaza on May 22 2010,16:33

Interesting note from the Cornell:



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
occasionally a bird will lose feathers in a close call with a predator. When this happens the new feathers sometimes grow in white and then change back to the normal color at the next regular molt. This kind of white coloring looks like leucism but is not.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Interesting ... I was triggered to look by doubting that the cause of apparent partial (pied) leucism is always genetic (i.e. "is it a mutant?"), just because it seems reasonable that physical damage could harm follicles and sometimes lead to a lack of melanin.

Hmmm I guess it's accurate to say that all true leucism is genetic (Cornell says so), but not all birds possessing some unusual white feathers are truly leucistic.

BTW, perhaps the most beautiful red-tail I've seen in the hand was a "pale leucistic" (overall off-white rather than splotches of white intermixed with normal plumage) one.   It was the color of milk with a few drops of coffee ... a very pale off-white hinting brown.

So now, after identifying the species, our poster needs to follow the bird around until it molts to see if they come back colored or white! :)
Posted by: fnxtr on May 22 2010,19:40

Quote (Henry J @ May 22 2010,10:39)
A stunning bird? What, did it carry a taser or something? :p

Henry
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


(insert pictures of Kristine, ERV, Kattarina, wolfhound, etc. here).
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 22 2010,21:23

Quote (dhogaza @ May 22 2010,16:33)
Interesting note from the Cornell:

 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
occasionally a bird will lose feathers in a close call with a predator. When this happens the new feathers sometimes grow in white and then change back to the normal color at the next regular molt. This kind of white coloring looks like leucism but is not.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Interesting ... I was triggered to look by doubting that the cause of apparent partial (pied) leucism is always genetic (i.e. "is it a mutant?"), just because it seems reasonable that physical damage could harm follicles and sometimes lead to a lack of melanin.

Hmmm I guess it's accurate to say that all true leucism is genetic (Cornell says so), but not all birds possessing some unusual white feathers are truly leucistic.

BTW, perhaps the most beautiful red-tail I've seen in the hand was a "pale leucistic" (overall off-white rather than splotches of white intermixed with normal plumage) one.   It was the color of milk with a few drops of coffee ... a very pale off-white hinting brown.

So now, after identifying the species, our poster needs to follow the bird around until it molts to see if they come back colored or white! :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Another cause of the aberrant white feather or two is a local infection/inflammation while the feather is growing. Just like the < melanin-forming pathway in cats >, apparently there is a temperature-sensitive step in melanin formation in birds. A local hot spot on the skin can denature tyrosinase and result in a white feather growing from that spot. Ticks or other ectoparasites can cause these local inflammatory responses. I've seen numerous examples of white feathers in Common Grackles that I've banded, and I suspect most of them arise via this mechanism.

And these will grow out with the regular pigment after the next molt, so it's a temporary aberration.

For those interested, I published a < short note > about aberrant white feathers in wrens in the Bulletin of the Kansas Ornithological Society in 2002. Apparently leucistic wrens are only rarely reported in the literature.

No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on May 23 2010,02:06



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You bastard!

Have lots of fun, bring back some pics, and watch out for poison arrow frogs!
Posted by: fnxtr on May 23 2010,11:21

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 23 2010,00:06)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You bastard!

Have lots of fun, bring back some pics, and watch out for poison arrow frogs!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What he said.
Posted by: Bob O'H on May 23 2010,13:45



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Bastard. Which is a polite version of my wife's response.

Enjoy yourself - we'll be looking forward to your (mystery) bird photos. If you want to write up your experiences, I'm sure a guest spot could be found for you. :-)
Posted by: ppb on May 24 2010,09:32

My wife and I are empty nesters now.  Some time between yesterday afternoon and this morning our wild turkey's chicks hatched.
I was not there to witness the blessed event, but this morning there was nothing left but some empty egg shells.

BEFORE:



AFTER:



No sign of the family.
Let's hope they stay one jump ahead of the coyote we saw last week.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on May 28 2010,06:05

There are some cool birds in the Amazon. One of the birds I most wanted to see here, but wasn't sure it was going to be possible, is the Hoatzin. It is unique. And I saw a < small group > of them a couple of days ago!
Posted by: Louis on May 28 2010,06:29

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 23 2010,08:06)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You bastard!

Have lots of fun, bring back some pics, and watch out for poison arrow frogs!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thirded!

No taking naughty Amazonian hallucinogens that make you womit up your shoes whilst you're there.

Unless you really want to.

Louis
Posted by: fnxtr on May 28 2010,16:39

Quote (Louis @ May 28 2010,04:29)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 23 2010,08:06)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You bastard!

Have lots of fun, bring back some pics, and watch out for poison arrow frogs!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thirded!

No taking naughty Amazonian hallucinogens that make you womit up your shoes whilst you're there.

Unless you really want to.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


? after said hallucinogens make you eat your shoes???
Posted by: Acipenser on May 28 2010,18:44

Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ May 22 2010,01:42)
Question for Mr Trossity...

I was fortunate to see a brightly colored bird alight in our backyard aspen trees, the hues of which I have never seen in my locale. I was not fortunate enough to get my camera before the winged florescence disappeared. By way of Googly-Moogly, I was able to identify it as a Western Tanager.

I am curious how common it is to see this bird in an urban area of northern Colorado?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Although tanangers are fairly common around my neck of the woods I still find their coloration to be quite striking in the fir/oak forest.  I nearly always do a double-take to make sure someones canary hasn't escaped!  

Over the next couple of weeks my wife and I will be camping in one of our favorite areas of N. California (hardly equates with teh Amazon but poor people have poor ways I suppose) and we are looking forward to the evening serenades from the grosbeaks and tanangers.
Posted by: Bob O'H on May 31 2010,16:03

Quote (fnxtr @ May 28 2010,16:39)
Quote (Louis @ May 28 2010,04:29)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 23 2010,08:06)
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
No updates from me for a while; I'm heading to the Amazon (Manaus and upstream) tomorrow, and will be there for a couple of weeks.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



You bastard!

Have lots of fun, bring back some pics, and watch out for poison arrow frogs!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thirded!

No taking naughty Amazonian hallucinogens that make you womit up your shoes whilst you're there.

Unless you really want to.

Louis
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


? after said hallucinogens make you eat your shoes???
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Paging k.e.
Posted by: Bob O'H on May 31 2010,16:06

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 28 2010,06:05)
There are some cool birds in the Amazon. One of the birds I most wanted to see here, but wasn't sure it was going to be possible, is the Hoatzin. It is unique. And I saw a < small group > of them a couple of days ago!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Dave's macaw photo is stunning.

Well, OK, a LOT of his photos are stunning. If he wasn't such a nice guy I'd hate him for it.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 01 2010,06:27

Thanks, Bob. I was pretty happy with the < macaw > photo too.

Here's a shot of some < Tui Parakeets > (Brotogeris sanctithomae, aka Periquito-testinha)
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 05 2010,20:38

Today's image honors everyone's favorite Kansas kreationist. The Red Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri). The specific epithet is clear proof of teleology and design...


Posted by: rhmc on June 06 2010,20:40

being from a primitive part of the union, i feel it necessary to ask what do those taste like?  
and do you fry them or grill them?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 06 2010,21:04

Quote (rhmc @ June 06 2010,20:40)
being from a primitive part of the union, i feel it necessary to ask what do those taste like?  
and do you fry them or grill them?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


They were grilled, with some salty/spicy rub on the outside. There is not a lot of meat on one this size, but it was tasty, similar to the taste of other panfish (e.g. bluegill) that I have tried.

Apparently there are bigger ones up the Rio Negro, in the wilder parts of the Amazon, where there is a huge national park. Plans are to see if we can go there next year!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 07 2010,21:34

I've posted a bunch of pics from the Amazon < here. > Lots of birds, a few flowers and butterflies, and some scenery.
Posted by: Robin on June 08 2010,10:23

Welcome back Albatrossity!

We've had a treat here in Northern Virginia of late - a pair of barred owls have established perminent residence in a nearby neighborhood park. They've been pretty much in the same spot every evening for the past 3 weeks (that's when we first discovered them) so I think they must have a nest nearby. No pics yet - they haven't been THAT social - as they tend to hang out waaaay up in the branches of older trees (with lots of dense folliage - bloody owls!) but hopefully at some point we'll see them closer to the ground.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on June 08 2010,12:27

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 08 2010,03:34)
I've posted a bunch of pics from the Amazon < here. > Lots of birds, a few flowers and butterflies, and some scenery.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


There must be a law against individuals who take pics such as yours!

Welcome back Dave!
Posted by: ppb on June 08 2010,12:56

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 07 2010,22:34)
I've posted a bunch of pics from the Amazon < here. > Lots of birds, a few flowers and butterflies, and some scenery.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Very awesome pictures!  It looks like you had a great trip.  I'm glad you got to see the bird you most wanted to see.

ETA:  In your honor, I am listening to Philip Glass' Aguas da Amazonia
Posted by: Peter Henderson on June 08 2010,13:51

Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 08 2010,14:02

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 05 2010,18:38)
Today's image honors everyone's favorite Kansas kreationist. The Red Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri). The specific epithet is clear proof of teleology and design...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I have heard they are good eating. True?

Opps, I just read the rest of the thread. Sounds tasty.


Posted by: Dr.GH on June 08 2010,14:05

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,11:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I use poison bait.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on June 08 2010,14:05

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,19:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Why getting rid of them?

Do you grow grain or something? Mice are damn cute, and pretty smart. Start an experiment in cognitivity instead...:)
Posted by: Louis on June 08 2010,15:09

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,19:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Shotgun.

Works wonders on plaster walls and wooden doors too. Gives a home that breezy feeling.

Louis
Posted by: ppb on June 08 2010,16:17

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,14:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Are these USB or PS2 mice?  Mine usually end up in a drawer with my old keyboards.  

Never thought of keeping them under the stairs.
Posted by: fnxtr on June 09 2010,01:00

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,11:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Moth balls.

(waits for the obvious comment from Louis...)

Yes, mice are cute, but they leave that annoying black rice everywhere...
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on June 09 2010,01:35



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Yes, mice are cute, but they leave that annoying black rice everywhere...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Think Coco Pops...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on June 09 2010,06:23

Quote (fnxtr @ June 09 2010,01:00)
Yes, mice are cute, but they leave that annoying black rice everywhere...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We're currently hosting a bat on our front porch. I haven't seen it yet, but the tiny little bat poops that appear every morning under the same spot are evidence enough. Hope it sticks around; we've had a wet spring and thus plenty of mosquitoes that it needs to eat!
Posted by: fnxtr on June 09 2010,09:51

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ June 08 2010,23:35)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Yes, mice are cute, but they leave that annoying black rice everywhere...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Think Coco Pops...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Don't want to know what you'd use for milk, in that case.
Posted by: Robin on June 09 2010,10:50

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ June 09 2010,01:35)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Yes, mice are cute, but they leave that annoying black rice everywhere...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Think Coco Pops...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Nope...that's lagomorphs. For mice it's more like shriveled Rice Crispies.
Posted by: Robin on June 09 2010,10:53

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,13:51)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Black rat snake? Owl? Cat? Plejty of predators out there in the world who would be happy to take care of that smorgasbord.
Posted by: ppb on June 09 2010,11:22

Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,14:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Here's some tips on how to deal with < The Mouse Problem >.
Posted by: midwifetoad on June 09 2010,12:13

< http://www.d-conproducts.com/products.html >

Just as long as you don't have pets that might eat the carcasses.

Rodents dying from warfarin may hole up in inconvenient places and smell for a week or two.

Saw that happen in a large church.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on June 09 2010,15:06



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Saw that happen in a large church.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



See? There's always a positive side to every story!
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 09 2010,19:34

Quote (Dr.GH @ June 08 2010,14:05)
 
Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 08 2010,11:51)
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I use poison bait.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I worked on a project at the NOTS pier on San Clemente Island. Periodically, there would be a boom period for the mouse population, and we happened to be there during it. The building where we kept our gear, cooked, and ate our meals was the standard sheet-metal construction favored by the military, and it definitely was not built to seal out the bugs and mice. There's only so much space in the fridge and freezer.

Before I arrived, the discussion had been over what bait to put on traps. They had a dozen or so traps out, and were arguing over cheese vs. peanut butter and the like. I said, skip the bait, just put the traps along the walls and places you see them run. We went from trapping three or four a day to having it so it was rare *not* to catch a mouse in a trap checked every morning and every evening. The gulls and foxes figured out when mousetrap clearing times were pretty fast.

Of course, none of us were much inclined toward poison, especially with the foxes insistent on getting a piece of the action. The relentless trapping took a toll on some of our more sensitive trainers, though. Two trainers were seated on the couch in the main room, watching a video. As the video played on, a mouse darted out from one wall, zipped across the room a foot or so in front of the couch, over to the other wall. A few minutes later, it went back across. That repeated a couple more times. Finally, on yet another passage the mouse came to a quick and permanent halt under one trainer's boot. The other trainer averted her eyes and audibly moaned.

Now, if you want true horror, nothing beats using a Gluey Louie when a mouse population boom is on. First, a mouse gets stuck on the Gluey Louie. Then, the other mice figure out that there is another food source available. Gruesome. Tossing a Gluey Louie with just an assortment of feet and legs attached is entirely possible.

On the positive side, there is little that is cuter than a San Clemente Island fox trotting away with a mouthful of mice, tails sticking out.
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on June 28 2010,01:01

I am presently staying at a friend's appartment in Brussels, Belgium, for studio work. The flat has a balcony opening onto a back court with lots of trees.

I was surprised the first morning to be woken up by the cries of about a dozen < Alexandrine Parakeets >. There seems to be a flock that has settled right under the balcony. It is quite nice to watch them fly around all day, even if they are really noisy buggers.

I don't have any camera with me, so the wikipedia pics will have to do for now...
Posted by: Dr.GH on June 28 2010,02:01

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ June 09 2010,17:34)
Now, if you want true horror, nothing beats using a Gluey Louie when a mouse population boom is on. First, a mouse gets stuck on the Gluey Louie. Then, the other mice figure out that there is another food source available. Gruesome. Tossing a Gluey Louie with just an assortment of feet and legs attached is entirely possible.

On the positive side, there is little that is cuter than a San Clemente Island fox trotting away with a mouthful of mice, tails sticking out.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I have only seen the San Clemente vixens along the beach while I was fishing off shore. They are much smaller than the closely related mainland gray fox. Archaeological data suggests that all of the island fox species were associated/dispersed by humans. I would never use a poison there, or even at home if there were native mice, or if my dog showed any interest in eating what he kills. He likes to bring the carcasses "home to the den." Rather cat like, but I don't bring the issue up with him. I reward him with a doggie "cookie" which it seems he prefers to fresh dead rats (well, also mice, some birds, opossums, a few skunks, and a raccoon). There was some excitement last night, but I did not see the carcass in the usual place. Opossums do often make their way off.

Even though I have no problem holding a feeder mouse by the tail until our rather dimwitted rosy boa takes an interest, I could never happily deal with a "gluey." Quick dead is my motto.


Posted by: Dr.GH on June 28 2010,02:24

The dog just treed a raccoon. Fun for both of us.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 29 2010,06:53

I stalked the blue-eyed scallop...



Now what?

North end of Longboat Key, FL, under the bridge to Bradenton beaches.
Posted by: J-Dog on June 29 2010,07:38

Wes - What's next?  Try this!


Posted by: fnxtr on June 29 2010,11:38

Erm... I'm having a bit of trouble with an image link. It just posts the html code. Tried resizing to max-width. Advice?

eta: never mind. See below. Thanks.
Posted by: fnxtr on June 29 2010,11:42



Got it!

Vermilion sea star, Pisaster ochraceus, off Seal Bay, Vancouver Island, July 2007. Just before my Canon Ftb crapped out.  :-(
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 29 2010,17:53

Is that in a tide pool, or do you have an underwater housing for a Canon FTb? If the latter, eBay has lots of FTb bodies going for cheap.
Posted by: fnxtr on June 29 2010,19:22

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ June 29 2010,15:53)
Is that in a tide pool, or do you have an underwater housing for a Canon FTb? If the latter, eBay has lots of FTb bodies going for cheap.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Low tide.  The camera just needs some shutter work, but I think I'll just save up for a DSLR.  Film is being discouraged at the photo boutiques I drop in to. But thanks, Wes.
Posted by: Henry J on June 29 2010,22:47



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Anyone have a good way of getting rid of mice ?

The ones I have under my stairs are damned clever. I think they've evolved
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I've had a similar thought about houseflies, after recalling that for a while they had seemed to get harder to swat with each passing year.

Henry
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on June 30 2010,06:37

I didn't get a model release for this one...


Posted by: dhogaza on June 30 2010,16:53



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Now, if you want true horror, nothing beats using a Gluey Louie when a mouse population boom is on. First, a mouse gets stuck on the Gluey Louie. Then, the other mice figure out that there is another food source available. Gruesome. Tossing a Gluey Louie with just an assortment of feet and legs attached is entirely possible.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Coca Cola concentrate slowly accumulating and drying under a leaky soft drink vending machine works very well, too.  I speak from personal experience at a local science museum, many years ago.  Not an experience to repeat if you can avoid it.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on July 01 2010,04:49

Your local science museum runs some experiments that should get a little better IACUC review...

Did anybody suggest a webcam for under the drink machine rather than cleaning it up and fixing it?
Posted by: dhogaza on July 02 2010,10:26



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Did anybody suggest a webcam for under the drink machine rather than cleaning it up and fixing it?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



In 1970?  Not likely :)

(I was in high school at the time, and no, I did not have to do the clean-up.  It did sorta take me off coke for a bit, though.)
Posted by: carlsonjok on July 03 2010,07:09

Found behind my barn as I was getting ready to mow.  I believe this is a Woodhouse's Toad (Bufo woodhousei)






Posted by: dhogaza on July 03 2010,14:31

< Not suitable for work >

And I bet interspecies sex is banned in the bible, too!
Posted by: Henry J on July 03 2010,19:19

Nee-deep? Nee-deep?
Posted by: Henry J on July 05 2010,13:07

Somebody on another BB is asking for help identifying something that looks like a piece of wadded up tin foil:
< Any entomologists out there? >
Posted by: khan on July 06 2010,19:03

I think there are monarch butterflies mating in the back yard.
Posted by: Doc Bill on July 06 2010,20:02

I have deer with a 3 handicap on the 14th green.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 10 2010,11:21

No megafauna, but here are a couple of tiny insects than were hanging around on the flowers here.



Posted by: fnxtr on July 10 2010,12:01

Whoa! Great shots Alby!  Macro lens?
Posted by: ppb on July 10 2010,13:29

Went to the Parker River Wildlife Refuge in NE Massachusetts and saw egrets galore.
Here are a couple.


Snowy Egret


Great Egret

Also saw some Glossy Ibises, but didn't get any pictures of them.

Lots of green headed files too, so we mostly had to stay
in the car and open the window a crack to take pictures.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on July 10 2010,19:39

Quote (fnxtr @ July 10 2010,12:01)
Whoa! Great shots Alby!  Macro lens?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks! Yeah, I have a 100 mm macro, and the first one (the fly) was also aided and abetted by the use of extension tubes. I really like taking pics of insects and spiders, because the structures are so small, yet so intricate. Damn clever of teh dezinner to come up with the green iridescence of a sweat bee!
Posted by: fnxtr on July 22 2010,14:36

In other wildlife news, my sister heard I was tubing down the Puntledge on Vancouver Island and sent me < this youtube video > about the Itchetuknee. Looks like heaven.
Posted by: Wolfhound on July 23 2010,00:13

I do that every year!  It's a lot of fun.  Grab a tube, mask, and snorkle and have a great time.  I'll be going in about 2 weeks to test out my sleek new Bikini Body.  RAWR!
Posted by: fnxtr on July 23 2010,00:17

Quote (Wolfhound @ July 22 2010,22:13)
I do that every year!  It's a lot of fun.  Grab a tube, mask, and snorkle and have a great time.  I'll be going in about 2 weeks to test out my sleek new Bikini Body.  RAWR!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I figgered you'd spot that post, Wolfie. :-)  

Judy keeps saying we should come visit, but it's a bit of a hike from Vancouver Island.
Posted by: khan on July 25 2010,16:54

On the patio just now:


Posted by: Acipenser on July 25 2010,17:22

Around here there are always mass aggregations of egrets (snowy and cattle for the most part), black crowned night herons, and Swainson hawks that collect in the alfalfa fields.  After they clean off the bales of alfalfa following a cutting they flood irrigate the entire field which flushes scads of gophers and mice out into the open.  The birds seem to think it is buffet time.

My wife is currently in a battle of wits with a black bear who has taken to breaking and entering into our feed shed and making off with entire bags of layer pellets and scratch.  Hasn't bothered the hens....yet!
Posted by: dhogaza on July 26 2010,17:08



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Around here there are always mass aggregations of egrets (snowy and cattle for the most part), black crowned night herons, and Swainson hawks that collect in the alfalfa fields.  After they clean off the bales of alfalfa following a cutting they flood irrigate the entire field which flushes scads of gophers and mice out into the open.  The birds seem to think it is buffet time.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Isolated irrigated alfalfa fields are the easiest places to find ferruginous hawk in the great basin of the US.

If there's a power line alongside a road next to it, add scads of red-tailed hawks.  Ferrug frequently hunt perched on the ground, and humans having added huge amounts of suitable poles and trees and the like to open spaces have benefitted red-tails (which typically perch-hunt) at the expense of ferruginous hawks.

If there's a nearby cliff, you'll get falcons and eagles nesting and joining the party while feeding their young.  

And at night, barn owls, often fairly large numbers.
Posted by: dhogaza on July 26 2010,17:10



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Around here there are always mass aggregations of egrets (snowy and cattle for the most part), black crowned night herons, and Swainson hawks that collect in the alfalfa fields.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



The reference to egrets congregating in fields reminds me of a most enjoyable experience near Cairns, Australia.  About a half mile distant from a road we were driving on there was a field, full of white birds which I assumed were probably egrets.

But, no.  Thousands of sulfur-crested cockatoos.  It was great ...
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 01 2010,17:15

Just back from a week on the beach in Lou's neck of the woods, southeastern N. Carolina. I feel an urge to share a picture that my nephew shot; it's a < lightning bolt hitting the Atlantic > just off the beach. The two folks in the gazebo in the foreground are my daughter and my nephew. He has some motion-detection setting for his Canon point-and-shoot digital camera, so it was on the deck of the house, staying dry.

Too bad that firmware doesn't load up in my Canon DSLR! He got a lot of great lightning pics, but this one was the most impressive just because of its sheer size.
Posted by: dhogaza on Aug. 01 2010,19:42

That lightning shot's great, but he could improve the composition a bit by moving the bolt a bit to the right! :)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 02 2010,14:41

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 01 2010,18:15)
Just back from a week on the beach in Lou's neck of the woods, southeastern N. Carolina.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


wth?

And no phone call?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 02 2010,15:06

Went bird-banding in the Cape Fear River a few weeks ago.

< The set is here on Flickr >, just click the thumbnails.

ETA:

John Weske has been banding Royal Terns and Sandwich Terns up and down the east coast since the dawn of time. Doc volunteered for him in grad school back in the 80s and they've been friends since then.

< >

It was Weske we were volunteering for, and in some ways it felt like Doc was sharing something very personal with me, something he'd like to pass on to the next generation of student, though I'm only a decade his junior.

The day started out pretty, we showed up at six, an hour before the scheduled meet-up at the dock. Mother Nature obliged us with a lovely sunrise.

< >

The sky was just full of birds when we arrived on the island. There was a pretty good sized colony of Royal Terns and Sandwich Terns, Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Oyster Catchers, and the odd Herring Gull out looking for a meal. It was loud. It was really really really loud. Cacophonous loud.

< >

< >

< >

First thing we did was unload the boats. Weske has a whole set up, born of years of trial and error, simple, crude, but practical for what we were doing. We built a large pen out of fencing that was about thigh-high. On one side we made a big funnel-shaped opening like a cattle chute. The opening was pointed up the beach at the colony of terns.

The island is very small, so we walked in the opposite direction, and came round to the colony. As the colony moved away from us, the we just sort of herded the chicks into out pen and closed up the opening.

< >

Closing up the pen left a lot of extra fencing, but we used that to make two smaller banding pens on the inside edge of the main pen. Each banding pen opened on opposite ends, so a few hundred chicks at a time could be herded along the inside of the main pen fence and into one of the banding pens which was then closed up behind them.

Volunteers took one chick at a time from the banding pen, banded it, then set it outside the pen and shooed it off toward the colony.

< >

The tern chicks are skittish, and cluster together in a tight knot, and the knot moves together like a herd of cattle. If someone were to walk around the outside of the pen, the knot tries to move as far away from the person as possible.

< >

Note that the handful of accidental Laughing Gull chicks were rather stoic about the whole matter, and just tried to stay out of the way of the knot's panic.

< >

The chicks had a tendency to stick their beaks through the fencing and try to run sideways. With the crush of several thousand chicks, there is a concern that they could injure themselves.

So there were two volunteers whose job it was to keep the chicks away from the outside of the main pen. Mostly that just worked out to be me and Doc because we were engrossed in photographing the parents coming in to bring comfort food to their young. Walking around the pen to keep the chicks away from the fence dovetailed nicely with taking a few thousand photographs of all the action.

< >

< >

Apparently, even in all that mess of chicks, the parents can pick out and feed their own offspring. What's really neat to note is that every single adult I could see had one of Weske's bands on it.

< >

< >

< >

< >

< >

< >

< >

< >

< >

I took over a thousand photos before noon, and Doc kept running out of memory. He would stop and delete the less-than-perfect shots and take some more.

< >

It was a good day.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 02 2010,17:09

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 02 2010,14:41)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 01 2010,18:15)
Just back from a week on the beach in Lou's neck of the woods, southeastern N. Carolina.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


wth?

And no phone call?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I was with fambly members, about 40 minutes south of Wilmington, and dependent upon others for automotive transportation. Otherwise I would have called and we could have met for a beer in Wilmington.

I'll be back, probably next year, so let's make sure we get together the next time I visit your lovely state!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 08 2010,07:18

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2010,18:09)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 02 2010,14:41)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 01 2010,18:15)
Just back from a week on the beach in Lou's neck of the woods, southeastern N. Carolina.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


wth?

And no phone call?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I was with fambly members, about 40 minutes south of Wilmington, and dependent upon others for automotive transportation. Otherwise I would have called and we could have met for a beer in Wilmington.

I'll be back, probably next year, so let's make sure we get together the next time I visit your lovely state!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Awesomesauce.

Meanwhile, I watched this huge moth fluttering around yesterday and stalked it until it finally landed in a bank parking lot.

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), I think.

< >

< >


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 08 2010,11:11

And I stalked the wily and elusive Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) around the Konza Prairie. The little bugger kept landing on grass stems, and the standard Kansas wind was waving him around a lot. But persistence (and a digital camera that means I don't care how many exposures I make) paid off eventually.


Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 08 2010,15:19

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 08 2010,12:11)
...(and a digital camera that means I don't care how many exposures I make) paid off eventually.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


This. Exactly this.

I have two three rules of photography.

1) If you throw enough shit at the wall, some of it is bound to stick. Take lots of pictures, a few of them will turn out good accidentally, in spite of the photographer.

2) Great space, don't know what to do with it? Stick a naked person in it.

3) MOAR BOKEH.


Posted by: khan on Aug. 08 2010,19:50

I need help identifying some birds.

Saturday I saw about 10 birds soaring and displaying and doing some sort of controlled drop.

2 (I assume male) were black with white wings. The others were sort of a golden brown and the same size.

SW Ohio
Posted by: khan on Aug. 08 2010,19:57

I also spotted these on July25:



They were back today.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 09 2010,06:13

Quote (khan @ Aug. 08 2010,19:50)
I need help identifying some birds.

Saturday I saw about 10 birds soaring and displaying and doing some sort of controlled drop.

2 (I assume male) were black with white wings. The others were sort of a golden brown and the same size.

SW Ohio
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What size were they? And what was the general habitat around there (forest, field, city etc.)?
Posted by: khan on Aug. 09 2010,09:31

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 09 2010,07:13)
Quote (khan @ Aug. 08 2010,19:50)
I need help identifying some birds.

Saturday I saw about 10 birds soaring and displaying and doing some sort of controlled drop.

2 (I assume male) were black with white wings. The others were sort of a golden brown and the same size.

SW Ohio
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What size were they? And what was the general habitat around there (forest, field, city etc.)?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


About dove size. Hard to tell as they never landed.

Edge of a small city, small houses on small lots, many large trees scattered about.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 09 2010,10:17

Quote (khan @ Aug. 09 2010,09:31)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 09 2010,07:13)
Quote (khan @ Aug. 08 2010,19:50)
I need help identifying some birds.

Saturday I saw about 10 birds soaring and displaying and doing some sort of controlled drop.

2 (I assume male) were black with white wings. The others were sort of a golden brown and the same size.

SW Ohio
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What size were they? And what was the general habitat around there (forest, field, city etc.)?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


About dove size. Hard to tell as they never landed.

Edge of a small city, small houses on small lots, many large trees scattered about.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Boblink?

Images < here. >
Posted by: midwifetoad on Aug. 09 2010,12:41

Can anyone identify this?

Posted by: Louis on Aug. 09 2010,13:31

Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 09 2010,18:41)
Can anyone identify this?

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes. That would be a plant.

Hope that helps.

Louis

P.S. Sorry, I've been gagging to do that ever since this thread started. Is it some sort of Rosehip?
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 09 2010,13:33

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2010,13:31)
P.S. Sorry, I've been gagging to do that ever since this thread started. Is it some sort of Rosehip?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had to put the keyboard into a drawer so that I wouldn't be as "helpful" as Louis. Thanks, Louis. I can get back to work now!
Posted by: Louis on Aug. 09 2010,13:36

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 09 2010,19:33)
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2010,13:31)
P.S. Sorry, I've been gagging to do that ever since this thread started. Is it some sort of Rosehip?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I had to put the keyboard into a drawer so that I wouldn't be as "helpful" as Louis. Thanks, Louis. I can get back to work now!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


We aim to please.

Well we aim.

Well, ok, just we.

From the helpful to the existentially dubious in three simple moves.

You are most welcome.

Louis
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 09 2010,13:54

Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 09 2010,12:41)
Can anyone identify this?

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


In an effort to avoid being completely unhelpful, I'd venture that this is a euonymus of some sort. What do the leaves look like?  How big is the tree/shrub?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Aug. 09 2010,15:23

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2010,14:31)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 09 2010,18:41)
Can anyone identify this?

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yes. That would be a plant.

Hope that helps.

Louis

P.S. Sorry, I've been gagging to do that ever since this thread started. Is it some sort of Rosehip?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Our default answer in Botany lab practicals should we be completely clueless as to the real answer was



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
It's a stick.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Quite funny, actually.
Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 09 2010,18:04

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 08 2010,06:18)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 02 2010,18:09)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 02 2010,14:41)
   
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 01 2010,18:15)
Just back from a week on the beach in Lou's neck of the woods, southeastern N. Carolina.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


wth?

And no phone call?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, I was with fambly members, about 40 minutes south of Wilmington, and dependent upon others for automotive transportation. Otherwise I would have called and we could have met for a beer in Wilmington.

I'll be back, probably next year, so let's make sure we get together the next time I visit your lovely state!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Awesomesauce.

Meanwhile, I watched this huge moth fluttering around yesterday and stalked it until it finally landed in a bank parking lot.

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), I think.

< >

< >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


So long as it wasn't stapled to the ground there...  :p  :)
Posted by: khan on Aug. 10 2010,08:37

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 09 2010,11:17)
Quote (khan @ Aug. 09 2010,09:31)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 09 2010,07:13)
 
Quote (khan @ Aug. 08 2010,19:50)
I need help identifying some birds.

Saturday I saw about 10 birds soaring and displaying and doing some sort of controlled drop.

2 (I assume male) were black with white wings. The others were sort of a golden brown and the same size.

SW Ohio
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


What size were they? And what was the general habitat around there (forest, field, city etc.)?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


About dove size. Hard to tell as they never landed.

Edge of a small city, small houses on small lots, many large trees scattered about.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Boblink?

Images < here. >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Probably.
But I can't find any descriptions of the behavior I observed.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 10 2010,09:12

Quote (khan @ Aug. 10 2010,08:37)
Probably.
But I can't find any descriptions of the behavior I observed.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Song flight - from the Birds of North America account for this species.

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Song flight usually follows a more circular path. Entire form of wingbeat becomes altered at moment song commences: beaten in a hovering fashion, wings pointed downward; wings barely attain horizontal position at peak height, and extend almost to mid-ventrum at low point. Wingbeats are more rapid than in silent flight (Martin 1967). In song flight, head is usually up and tail down, exposing white on rump. White plumage on shoulders is fluffed out and visible.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


And there is some interesting reading < here > as well
Posted by: fnxtr on Aug. 10 2010,18:13

Quote (khan @ Aug. 08 2010,17:57)
I also spotted these on July25:



They were back today....
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


... with said spots still on, apparently.

What size brush did you use?
Did you use the same brush for the black and the white spots?
Posted by: iqhira on Aug. 13 2010,01:39

Hi, I am new here and I love the photos. I thought I would try and add some from a different continent.
Lets see if this works:

<img src="<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/52494909@N05/4887532350/" title="_DSC7025 - Copy by iqhira, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4115/4887532350_dac4499a5b.jpg" " border="0" max-width="560" />
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Aug. 13 2010,02:36

iqhira,

This works:



Use iBcode, not HTML. The "Image" button above the text input area will help you get that going.
Posted by: iqhira on Aug. 13 2010,03:34

Well that didn't work so I will try again...



That also does not work, this is where I shout HEEELLLPPP.
Can anyone tell me how to include photos - I have started a flickr account with them on?
Posted by: iqhira on Aug. 13 2010,03:36

Ahh, Thanks Wesley -didn't expect to get a reply so soon!
Posted by: iqhira on Aug. 13 2010,04:28



Hah!
Posted by: iqhira on Aug. 13 2010,04:31

and some more
This is a crowned hornbill

Posted by: Robin on Aug. 13 2010,09:05

Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 09 2010,18:04)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Meanwhile, I watched this huge moth fluttering around yesterday and stalked it until it finally landed in a bank parking lot.

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), I think.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Very cool pic!

Had a funny incident with a moth last year. I volunteer at this wildlife preserve out in Loudoun County, VA, and we have a number of interesting species on the property. We are actually trying to re-establish the Virginia Piedmont, so we get an interesting mix in the various habits and cross-zones this creates.

I was just arriving at the preserve one morning to do some work and I spotted a Royal Walnut Moth laying on its side near our visitor center looking very dead. So I picked it up to show the folks in the visitor center. We actually had our resident amateur etymologist there that day and he was quite excited to see it. We stuck it up on the mantel in the main room of the visitor center for other people to take a look at. Well, turns out that Mr. Royal Oak wasn't dead. Actually, he was quite sprightly and decided to take a few spins around the visitor center. Very exciting! He finally decided to take a rest on the greeter desk and I picked him back up and set him back outside. None of us, alas, had a camera, which clearly I need to remedy at some point.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Aug. 15 2010,05:51

I heard this fellow calling outside... no, not my name. I had to go check out to make sure he wasn't intent on causing trouble with Rusty.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Aug. 15 2010,12:39

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) caterpillar and Grey Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) adult at the Butterfly Garden today.



Posted by: Henry J on Aug. 15 2010,18:06

Sweaters beware!
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Aug. 22 2010,13:13

This morning, when I stepped out to check on Rusty, a young Cooper's hawk flew out of one of the trees adjacent to her mews, accompanied by a bunch of complaining passerines. I'm not sure what the Cooper's hawk was up to. Rusty did not seem perturbed.

A bit later, I saw a red-shouldered hawk flying over the house and calling. There were at least two other RSHs that I could hear in the neighborhood.

I noticed a new bivalve shell in the driveway, which tells me that one of the ponds has mussels, and that it is likely that we also have raccoons somewhere around here.
Posted by: Aardvark on Sep. 10 2010,06:19

I present the final disproof of evolution:





Any of you fancy-pants evolutionists care to explain exactly how a chameleon knows what colour to change into thanks to only blind, undirected, chemical, atheistic and materialistic processes?
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Sep. 10 2010,06:39

Wow Aardvark! These pics are gorgeous. Where were they taken?

Not Madagascar, I suppose.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Sep. 10 2010,12:59

Cute! I didn't realise they are so small. And what did you do to make it stay on your hand?
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Sep. 10 2010,13:04

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 10 2010,18:59)
Cute! I didn't realise they are so small. And what did you do to make it stay on your hand?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Who ever said it was his hand...












See what I did there? :)
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 10 2010,15:55

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Sep. 10 2010,13:04)
See what I did there? :)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 10 2010,18:59)
Cute! I didn't realise they are so small. And what did you do to make it stay on your hand?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Who ever said it was his hand...












See what I did there? :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------





Oh yeah...we see what you did there...
Posted by: Schroedinger's Dog on Sep. 10 2010,17:57

FYI, I didn't do her. Too skinny...
Posted by: Aardvark on Sep. 10 2010,18:19

It's a juvenile < Cape_Dwarf_Chameleon >.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Wow Aardvark! These pics are gorgeous. Where were they taken?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa.



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Cute! I didn't realise they are so small. And what did you do to make it stay on your hand?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



It's a juvenile.  There was a larger one but he scrambled into the bush and I couldn't take a clear picture.

I just plucked it from the branch and put it back afterwards.  They have a slow way of moving about (rocking like foliage in a breeze).
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Sep. 11 2010,07:34

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Sep. 10 2010,13:04)
See what I did there? :)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Okay, I give up; what did I miss - or is it my browser?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 11 2010,08:38

I have some new gear, and I'm toting her around, just getting to know her.



< Female Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) >



< Golden Silk Orb Weaver (Nephila clavipes) >


Posted by: sledgehammer on Sep. 11 2010,12:42

Quote (Aardvark @ Sep. 10 2010,04:19)
I present the final disproof of evolution:

<snipped images>

Any of you fancy-pants evolutionists care to explain exactly how a chameleon knows what colour to change into thanks to only blind, undirected, chemical, atheistic and materialistic processes?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


From: < http://www.wisedude.com/animals/chameleon.htm >:
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
The chameleon just blends in with the plants or shrubs or trees and is hardly visible. But do you think the chameleon consciously does this? The answer is NO. In reality, the surroundings are not the influencing factor. The main causes of the skin-color change are the chameleon's emotional state, the sunlight, temperature etc...Now which are the occasions that cause the cells to expand? The following table gives a brief outline of the various color changes:

Influencing Factor
Color Change

Emotional State - Anger - Excitement or Fear
Skin becomes darker
Skin becomes paler and gets yellow spots

Sunlight - Bright light    - No light (darkness)   
Cells become dark, nearly black
Skin becomes creamish with yellow spots

Temperatures - High (without sunlight)    - Low
Skin turns green
Skin turns pale green

Since the chameleon is a fairly slow moving animal, this protective mechanism is of great benefit. The color changes is one of the factors that allows it to survive in any type of weather or environment.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Posted by: Kattarina98 on Sep. 11 2010,12:56

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 11 2010,08:38)
I have some new gear, and I'm toting her around, just getting to know her.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Lovely light, did you use a filter?
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 12 2010,20:27

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 11 2010,13:56)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 11 2010,08:38)
I have some new gear, and I'm toting her around, just getting to know her.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Lovely light, did you use a filter?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I bumped the saturation and contrast up a bit in post (as is my wont), toned down the highlights, that sort of thing, but the lighting is direct from that big ball of fusing hydrogen in the sky, no camera filters, no lights, and no reflectors.
Posted by: Wolfhound on Sep. 24 2010,11:43

I shrunk down a couple of photos that Deadman and I took while at the Seattle Aquarium last month and am putting them here.  Sadly, the Deadman is a shy and reclusive creature, nearly impossible to photograph in the wild, so I cannot supply any pictures of that particular critter.

Deadman took this one of young Coho salmon that the aquarium bred for release into the Sound.  This was taken from below, aimed up at them, them as the facility had a "skylight".  Pretty neat effect.


Posted by: Wolfhound on Sep. 24 2010,11:51

And here is another Seattle native.  He stood there on the rail and gave us the hairy eyeball while we ate some lunch out on the coffee shop's deck.  Either he can't read so was oblivious, or he was literate and was being willfully obstinate.  Given his species, I'll go for the latter.  I took this one while Deadman hip-mo-tyzed him by waving a french fry around.  No comments about Deadman's french fry, please; he's very sensitive about it.  


Posted by: Wolfhound on Sep. 24 2010,11:57

And, finally, Deadman caught me posing with a member of the elusive Pinhead Clan.  I will not tell you what Deadman was waving around to capture its attention!


Posted by: fnxtr on Sep. 24 2010,23:46

Quote (Wolfhound @ Sep. 24 2010,09:51)
And here is another Seattle native.  (snip)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Yeah, they're nearly as fearless as raccoons, those shithawks.

They will eat right out of your fingers, and even your fingers if you're clumsy.

I was up on the 23rd floor of Gage Towers at UBC once, tossing Ritz crackers out the window and watching the shithawks snatch them out of the air.

eta the word 'eat'.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2010,20:33

Quote (Wolfhound @ Sep. 24 2010,12:43)
I shrunk down a couple of photos that Deadman and I took while at the Seattle Aquarium last month and am putting them here.  Sadly, the Deadman is a shy and reclusive creature, nearly impossible to photograph in the wild, so I cannot supply any pictures of that particular critter.

Deadman took this one of young Coho salmon that the aquarium bred for release into the Sound.  This was taken from below, aimed up at them, them as the facility had a "skylight".  Pretty neat effect.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


REALLY neat effect! Thanks for sharing that!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2010,20:46

Took the new camera out to the pine savanna Doc and I visited last September, and man oh son is it dry out there! At one point, I drove my car into what was for all intents and purposes a 3ft deep sand trap in the middle of the road, and Doc had to pull me out with his truck.

It's funny, because the big worry about cars back in there is always, "Is it dry enough?".... um... yeah.

Bone. Fucking. Dry. (Until the rains returned today, I guess...)

Anyway, I added a few new critters to my collection.



I only have a 105mm zoom lens for the 5D, but 21 megapixels almost makes up for my being too snobbish to but the 300mm cheap glass (w/o image stabilization) on it. I cropped the hell out of the original to get that shot of a Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus).

We have yet to see any bear out there, but < we know they're out there >.



< This fella was the highlight of the day >, however.



Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis), or RCW.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Sep. 27 2010,21:24

Oh, and I shot this a week or two ago, a neat series, I think.

< First shot is here, on my Flickr page >, and then follow the series embiggified, if you want.













A Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla, in non-breeding plumage) grabs dinner.
Posted by: khan on Sep. 28 2010,10:37

There's a new white squirrel hanging around. No pictures yet.
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 30 2010,09:23

I've had a late (and therefore interesting) hummingbird in the yard the past couple of days. Even more interestingly, it seemed to have a slightly downcurved bill, which is not typical for our typical hummer here, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. So I got some pics of it. Those pics showed me that this is indeed just a young, probably male, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, based on the structure of the primaries in the wing. That's not shown very well in this pic, so you'll just have to take my word for it. You can copy the link and past it into your browser if you want to see a larger version.

Posted by: Kattarina98 on Sep. 30 2010,11:17

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Sep. 30 2010,09:23)
... You can copy the link and past it into your browser if you want to see a larger version.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Got a new desktop image - thank you!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Sep. 30 2010,11:43

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 30 2010,11:17)
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Sep. 30 2010,09:23)
... You can copy the link and past it into your browser if you want to see a larger version.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Got a new desktop image - thank you!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


You're quite welcome! I'm glad you like the image.
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 30 2010,11:52

Quote (khan @ Sep. 28 2010,10:37)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
There's a new white squirrel hanging around. No pictures yet.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Got one here (Fairfax, Virginia) at my office. Really jarring when you aren't used to it.
Posted by: Robin on Sep. 30 2010,11:55

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Sep. 30 2010,09:23)
I've had a late (and therefore interesting) hummingbird in the yard the past couple of days. (snipped)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Fantastic pic, Albatrossity!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 01 2010,18:36

Down at Greenfield Lake a few weeks ago, I caught < this guy >, hitching a ride



on < this guy >


Posted by: JLT on Oct. 02 2010,07:14

This is an < amazing video > where they put cameras on the back of a falcon and a goshawk.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 02 2010,07:19

Quote (JLT @ Oct. 02 2010,08:14)
This is an < amazing video > where they put cameras on the back of a falcon and a goshawk.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Check your link.
Posted by: JLT on Oct. 03 2010,07:19

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 02 2010,13:19)
Quote (JLT @ Oct. 02 2010,08:14)
This is an < amazing video > where they put cameras on the back of a falcon and a goshawk.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Check your link.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oups, I thought I checked it. Thanks!
Here it is:

< Flying with the fastest birds on the planet: Peregrine Falcon & Gos Hawk - Animal Camera - BBC >
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 03 2010,11:37

Quote (JLT @ Oct. 03 2010,07:19)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 02 2010,13:19)
 
Quote (JLT @ Oct. 02 2010,08:14)
This is an < amazing video > where they put cameras on the back of a falcon and a goshawk.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Check your link.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Oups, I thought I checked it. Thanks!
Here it is:

< Flying with the fastest birds on the planet: Peregrine Falcon & Gos Hawk - Animal Camera - BBC >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks - beautidul vid!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 07 2010,10:48

A little help, please?

I was walking to class this morning, and sitting there on the sidewalk in the shade about 50m from me, minding his own business and not really doing anything, was a good sized bird.

I stopped, put my bag down, cursed because I only had the Rebel with me (and the standard 17 - 55 lens on it). As I pulled it out of my book bag though, the hawk obliged me by taking flight, and perching in a large, low branch about 5 meters from me.

Checking my Peterson's, I think it's < an immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) >, because of the large white patch high on the breast.








Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 07 2010,11:42

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,10:48)
Checking my Peterson's, I think it's < an immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) >, because of the large white patch high on the breast.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


An even better field mark is shown in your first photo - the dark < patagial stripe > on the leading edge of the wing. Red-tailed Hawk is the only North American raptor with this field mark.

And I don't think its an immature, 'cause the tail doesn't seem to be barred, and the iris appears to be yellow.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 07 2010,12:11

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,12:42)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,10:48)
Checking my Peterson's, I think it's < an immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) >, because of the large white patch high on the breast.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


An even better field mark is shown in your first photo - the dark < patagial stripe > on the leading edge of the wing. Red-tailed Hawk is the only North American raptor with this field mark.

And I don't think its an immature, 'cause the tail doesn't seem to be barred, and the iris appears to be yellow.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Alby, you rock.

I thought it immature because of the belly pattern. It's hard to see in the Peterson's on the adult, but it makes a point (haha, with an arrow, actually) of pointing out the white patch on the breast of the juvenile.

...had I flipped a few pages and looked at the overhead views, though...

And I see the overhead also points out the patagial stripe.

Thanks again.
Posted by: Robin on Oct. 07 2010,13:10

[quote=Albatrossity2,Oct. 07 2010,11:42][/quote]
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,10:48)
Checking my Peterson's, I think it's < an immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) >, because of the large white patch high on the breast.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


An even better field mark is shown in your first photo - the dark < patagial stripe > on the leading edge of the wing. Red-tailed Hawk is the only North American raptor with this field mark.

And I don't think its an immature, 'cause the tail doesn't seem to be barred, and the iris appears to be yellow.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I agree Albatrossity. The last photo shows a distinctly broad tail too - very much a red-tail characteristic.

BTW, really nice photos Lou!


---

Edited to note great photos.
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 07 2010,13:12

Somebody has to say this:

But it's still a bird!!1111!!!eleven!!!!!!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 07 2010,14:05

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,12:11)
Thanks, Alby, you rock.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, actually, I suck. I mistakenly recalled the details about iris color in RTH; yellow iris in juveniles and darker iris in adults. It's hard to tell from your pics, but the iris is definitely not dark!

But I still think it's not a juvenile based on the lack of barring on the tail, and the red color of the upper surface of the tail, which can be seen rather well in your shots. Young un's have tails like this


I've learned over the years that this species is the most variably-plumaged bird on the planet. Any painting in any field guide probably represents a blend of many different birds that the artist studied, and no single bird in the wild looks exactly like that painting.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 07 2010,17:51

Quote (Robin @ Oct. 07 2010,14:10)
 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,11:42)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,10:48)
Checking my Peterson's, I think it's < an immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) >, because of the large white patch high on the breast.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


An even better field mark is shown in your first photo - the dark < patagial stripe > on the leading edge of the wing. Red-tailed Hawk is the only North American raptor with this field mark.

And I don't think its an immature, 'cause the tail doesn't seem to be barred, and the iris appears to be yellow.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I agree Albatrossity. The last photo shows a distinctly broad tail too - very much a red-tail characteristic.

BTW, really nice photos Lou!


---

Edited to note great photos.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Hey, thanks Robin! I'm pretty tickled with them, given that I wasn't carrying the 5D, the hawk was badly back-lit (but fortunately in shade, anyway), and I've never gotten an even remotely decent up-close shot of a raptor before (so I was a bit panicky trying to get the shots off before (s)he flew away).

 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,15:05)
   
Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,12:11)
Thanks, Alby, you rock.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, actually, I suck. I mistakenly recalled the details about iris color in RTH; yellow iris in juveniles and darker iris in adults. It's hard to tell from your pics, but the iris is definitely not dark!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



No, not dark, they were definitely a dark yellow color to my eye, though it's hard to tell in the shots.

 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,15:05)
But I still think it's not a juvenile based on the lack of barring on the tail, and the red color of the upper surface of the tail, which can be seen rather well in your shots. Young un's have tails like this

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



whoa, really nice shot! I love it! Maybe mine's like an adolescent, sort of darkening eyes, but reddish tail already? Tweenyhawk? Teenangst? < Isabeau >?

 
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,15:05)
I've learned over the years that this species is the most variably-plumaged bird on the planet. Any painting in any field guide probably represents a blend of many different birds that the artist studied, and no single bird in the wild looks exactly like that painting.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



That's totally not fair. Fuckin' evilution.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Oct. 07 2010,18:12

Another aspect of the variable red-tail...



And another from the same meet just 'cause...



ETA: another photo, *not* another red-tail


Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 08 2010,08:54

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 07 2010,19:12)
Another aspect of the variable red-tail...


---------------------QUOTE-------------------


wow! Now that's variable!
Posted by: Robin on Oct. 08 2010,10:54

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 07 2010,14:05)

Quote (Lou FCD @ Oct. 07 2010,12:11)
Thanks, Alby, you rock.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, actually, I suck. I mistakenly recalled the details about iris color in RTH; yellow iris in juveniles and darker iris in adults. It's hard to tell from your pics, but the iris is definitely not dark!

But I still think it's not a juvenile based on the lack of barring on the tail, and the red color of the upper surface of the tail, which can be seen rather well in your shots.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Like Lou think you're being a bit hard on yourself Albatrossity. The second and third pic definitely show some faded yellow in the iris. And while adults do lose the yellow, a second and sometimes even a third year bird would still have some.  Plus as you noted, the tail has no distinct banding and while there is quite a bit of plumage variation in the species, the tail definitely indicates adult. Given the backlighting and all, I really think you made the right call.

Oh and Lou, if you'd like to have the opportunity to shoot some raptors at some point, you are always welcome to come up to the wildlife preserve I work at (not vocationally; just my hobby so to speak). Not only do we now have a raptor rescue group on site (which makes shooting pics of raptors sort of silly easy if you just want shots), but we do have one of the greater concentration of birds throughout Virginia. Granted you likely have something a weee bit closer to you down in NC, but just letting you know. It's called < Banshee Reeks >.
Posted by: Ftk on Oct. 25 2010,08:34

Look out herons.....;)


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 26 2010,06:38

California Condor, wing-tag #16, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon AZ 10/23/2010

Posted by: fusilier on Oct. 26 2010,06:48

Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 25 2010,09:34)
Look out herons.....;)

{snip of photo}
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If they are bagging herons in Indiana, the DNR will bag them.
Posted by: J-Dog on Oct. 26 2010,08:10

Quote (fusilier @ Oct. 26 2010,06:48)
 
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 25 2010,09:34)
Look out herons.....;)

{snip of photo}
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


If they are bagging herons in Indiana, the DNR will bag them.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Too bad - it's NOT Indiana, it's Kansas.  BTW - I think the picture was taken in downtown Kansas City on a Friday afternoon.*

HTH :)

* Oh - wait!  This isn't the Bash Small Agricultural States Thread?  My bad!

edited for spelling :(
Posted by: DaveH on Oct. 27 2010,16:22

While I am briefly de-lurked to be pedantic on another thread, I thought I might point folk to a few photos I just uploaded of some local Edinburgh wildlife < here >
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Oct. 27 2010,16:46

Quote (DaveH @ Oct. 27 2010,16:22)
While I am briefly de-lurked to be pedantic on another thread, I thought I might point folk to a few photos I just uploaded of some local Edinburgh wildlife < here >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Very nice!  I particularly liked the Blue Tit peeking out of the stone wall, and the Dipper!
Posted by: carlsonjok on Oct. 27 2010,16:47

Quote (DaveH @ Oct. 27 2010,16:22)
While I am briefly de-lurked to be pedantic on another thread, I thought I might point folk to a few photos I just uploaded of some local Edinburgh wildlife < here >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Does that weasel latch?

BTW, nice work!

ETA: Okay, so it is a mink not a weasel.  Sue me.
Posted by: DaveH on Oct. 27 2010,17:52

Quote (carlsonjok @ Oct. 27 2010,16:47)
Does that weasel latch?

BTW, nice work!

ETA: Okay, so it is a mink not a weasel.  Sue me.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks for your kind critique!
Weasel puns are always acceptable, and by the look of the vicious wee bastard, it would have been delighted to latch on to my testicles with its fierce pointy teeth!
Sadly, as an introduced species, minks have caused a hell of a lot of devastation among ground nesting birds in Britain. There is a native European mink, but it didn't make it back across The Channel after the last ice-age. Strange, when you consider that koala bears and thylacines got to Australia from Mt Ararat on rafts of floating vegetation much more recently....
Posted by: Lou FCD on Oct. 27 2010,20:19

Quote (DaveH @ Oct. 27 2010,17:22)
While I am briefly de-lurked to be pedantic on another thread, I thought I might point folk to a few photos I just uploaded of some local Edinburgh wildlife < here >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Really nice shots, Dave!
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Oct. 28 2010,05:21

Hi Dave, these pics are brilliant! Did you shoot them downtown or in the outskirts?
And I just love the fox. Did you get that close to it, or did you use a special lens?
Posted by: Aardvark on Oct. 31 2010,11:44

Encountered the following sunbather when out cycling today (cellphone pix):









It's a < mole snake >.  About 1.5m long.  Feeds mainly on moles & bird eggs.  Non-venomous.
Posted by: Henry J on Oct. 31 2010,13:40

Crickey, that's a cute little thing!
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Nov. 04 2010,13:44

Oh, Henry!

That's just what I'm always hearing from my gf...
Posted by: J-Dog on Nov. 04 2010,14:30

Quote (DaveH @ Oct. 27 2010,16:22)
While I am briefly de-lurked to be pedantic on another thread, I thought I might point folk to a few photos I just uploaded of some local Edinburgh wildlife < here >
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Excellent pictures - thanks for posting them.
Posted by: Aardvark on Nov. 04 2010,16:27

In mole-related news, look what the cat dragged in:







I swear that cat catches the same damn mole very week.  Something dodgy going on behind the scenes.  Doesn't kill it; just plays with it until bored -then we have to let it go.
Posted by: Kattarina98 on Nov. 04 2010,17:00

Quote (Aardvark @ Nov. 04 2010,16:27)
In mole-related news, look what the cat dragged in:
...
I swear that cat catches the same damn mole very week.  Something dodgy going on behind the scenes.  Doesn't kill it; just plays with it until bored -then we have to let it go.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Keep them. Winter is coming, they make nice fur muffs ;-)
Seriously: Cute thing.
Posted by: MadPanda, FCD on Nov. 05 2010,14:20

It isn't exactly our back yard, but we gots a squirrel that likes to hang off the suet feeder mounted on the deck railing, James Bond style.  Drives the cats stark raving bonkers.

Or maybe it's more than one squirrel, given how fast the suet is vanishing.


The MadPanda, FCD
Posted by: khan on Nov. 05 2010,14:53

Quote (MadPanda @ FCD,Nov. 05 2010,15:20)
It isn't exactly our back yard, but we gots a squirrel that likes to hang off the suet feeder mounted on the deck railing, James Bond style.  Drives the cats stark raving bonkers.

Or maybe it's more than one squirrel, given how fast the suet is vanishing.


The MadPanda, FCD
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Posted by: Henry J on Nov. 05 2010,20:58

Bushy tailed tree rat?

ETA: Nuts!
Posted by: MadPanda, FCD on Nov. 06 2010,00:42

Yeah, Khan.  More or less just like that...but yours is a LOT more daring than ours.  Or maybe our suet feeder just doesn't allow for that sort of gravity denying hang time...

The MadPanda, FCD
Posted by: MadPanda, FCD on Nov. 11 2010,17:50

An update: the little blighter has actually managed to bust the suet feeder!  Or at least the added weight of one well-fed squirrel has caused the wire hanger to bend out of shape, leaving the feeder handing somewhat precariously from the stand.

The MadPanda, FCD
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Nov. 20 2010,20:44

I got to help with the release of 10 Black-footed Ferrets, an endangered species, in a prairie dog colony in extreme western Kansas today. These are pretty spiffy and feisty little creatures!

Posted by: Doc Bill on Nov. 20 2010,21:06

My back yard is full of frolicking college students.

Long story.
Posted by: sledgehammer on Nov. 21 2010,01:30

Quote (Doc Bill @ Nov. 20 2010,19:06)
My back yard is full of frolicking college students.

Long story.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Ah yes, one of my favorite species of wildlife.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 05 2010,16:11

I have a new zoom lens I wanted to give a quick spin around the block, and < my friend Anne > wanted to give her old Minolta a bit of a workout (it's one of those antique picture-box things that you have to put the little rolls of "film" in) so we headed out to the pine savanna for a while this morning.



Right off the bat, a dozen or so little blobs of flitting blue caught our eye and we pulled over to get a few shots < of these Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) >.



Yellow-rumped warblers (Dendroica coronata affectionately referred to as butterbutts) are < pretty common around here, and I like 'em >.



Then < we > < bumped > < into > < this > < guy >, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), kindly identified for me by Alby.











But < this guy > looked like he was ready to peck out my eyes and shove my camera where the sun doesn't shine.



I put away my camera and we left. Besides, it was blue-ass cold out anyway.

ETA: With the exception of the shot of Anne, all of these are crops from shots I took with the zoom fully extended to 400mm, and all were hand-held. The image stabilization is really nice.


Posted by: khan on Dec. 05 2010,16:21

Very nice.

blue-ass cold

Well maybe for coastal NC
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 08 2010,15:20

A few birds I've shot today.

< I like this shot > of a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) because of how well it shows the distinctive field marks.



I think < this guy > is a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), but I honestly have never heard of such a bird before today. Ornithology FAIL. :(



The buff underbelly and prominent white eyebrow leads me to believe that < this guy > is a Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) though honestly all the 'lilbrownbirds' kind of look the same to me.



I need a little help with < this > < guy >. I think it's some sort of sparrow, and the yellow patch at the eye leads me to think maybe Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) from my Peterson's, but Cornell's AAB says that's "drab". I don't think I'd characterize this guy as drab, but refer to my comment above about 'lilbrownbirds'.





I was out in the wildflower preserve when I heard what sounded like a pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) fighting, and one flew up in a tree overhead. I was standing in some deep shadow looking up into a bright sky, but I popped off a few shots and didn't really pay it much attention. "Eh, just a Mourning Dove, < I have a pretty nice shot of one of those > and they're ubiquitous."

Um... yeah. < Not a Mourning Dove >.



Unless I'm very much mistaken, that is a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus).
Posted by: J-Dog on Dec. 08 2010,16:27



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I think this guy is a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), but I honestly have never heard of such a bird before today. Ornithology FAIL. :(

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I see those guys all winter long outside my window.

But not all those other very cool specimans you snapped!
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 08 2010,16:53

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 08 2010,15:20)
I need a little help with < this > < guy >. I think it's some sort of sparrow, and the yellow patch at the eye leads me to think maybe Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) from my Peterson's, but Cornell's AAB says that's "drab". I don't think I'd characterize this guy as drab, but refer to my comment above about 'lilbrownbirds'.




---------------------QUOTE-------------------


White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 08 2010,17:07

Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 08 2010,17:27)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
I think this guy is a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), but I honestly have never heard of such a bird before today. Ornithology FAIL. :(

---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I see those guys all winter long outside my window.

But not all those other very cool specimans you snapped!
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


:) I'm constantly surprised by the birds I bump into that are apparently everywhere here, but that I've never noticed.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 08 2010,17:53)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Thank you as always, Albatrossity. Your help is always greatly appreciated.
Posted by: Henry J on Dec. 08 2010,17:17

But they're still just winged dinosaurs!!111!!!one!!!!
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 09 2010,08:08

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 08 2010,15:20)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
A few birds I've shot today.

Um... yeah. < Not a Mourning Dove >.



Unless I'm very much mistaken, that is a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus).
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Oh yeah...definitely:



Great pics btw! Thanks Lou!

Got to get you up to my wildlife preserve and have you shoot some pics of our American Kestrels.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 09 2010,19:44

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 09 2010,09:08)
Oh yeah...definitely:



Great pics btw! Thanks Lou!

Got to get you up to my wildlife preserve and have you shoot some pics of our American Kestrels.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Robin! I'd love to come shoot them sometime!

(ETA: With a camera, of course!)


Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Dec. 10 2010,05:49

Sometimes the little guys come inside...



Like at a falconry meet.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 10 2010,06:49

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 10 2010,06:49)
Sometimes the little guys come inside...



Like at a falconry meet.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


That's an awesome shot, Wesley!
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 10 2010,10:25

Question time - my wife got me a Nikon D3100 for me bday. It came with an 18-55 and 55-200 (both AF-S VR; neither is ED). Thought this might be a good camera to see if I like shooting digital.

My question is, what would folks (particularly you, Lou since you do a lot of this) recommend for some wildlife photography, particularly birds. Couple of things to consider:

The camera won't take older standard AF lenses; only works with AF-S and AF-I

I'm not trying to shoot pro here; no eagle's beaks at 100 yards type things. Something moderate and versatile that I can reasonable lug around on a walk.

Per above, preferably a hand holdable lens. Yes, I know...it's nice shooting an owl perched up in a tree with a tripod mounted 500mm, but that's a little beyond my tax bracket right now.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

---

ET: Incidentally, I'm thinking of this < one: >

Nikon Zoom-Nikkor Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - F/4.5-5.6 - Nikon F
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 10 2010,10:29

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 10 2010,05:49)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Sometimes the little guys come inside...



Like at a falconry meet.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Wow! Nice shot!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 10 2010,13:18

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 10 2010,11:25)
Question time - my wife got me a Nikon D3100 for me bday. It came with an 18-55 and 55-200 (both AF-S VR; neither is ED). Thought this might be a good camera to see if I like shooting digital.

My question is, what would folks (particularly you, Lou since you do a lot of this) recommend for some wildlife photography, particularly birds. Couple of things to consider:

The camera won't take older standard AF lenses; only works with AF-S and AF-I

I'm not trying to shoot pro here; no eagle's beaks at 100 yards type things. Something moderate and versatile that I can reasonable lug around on a walk.

Per above, preferably a hand holdable lens. Yes, I know...it's nice shooting an owl perched up in a tree with a tripod mounted 500mm, but that's a little beyond my tax bracket right now.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

---

ET: Incidentally, I'm thinking of this < one: >

Nikon Zoom-Nikkor Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - F/4.5-5.6 - Nikon F
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Honestly, Robin, I don't know diddly doo about Nikon equipment, and I bought my new 100-400mm lens on Albatrossity's recommendation. (And I owe him a great big tongue kiss that would make the UDidiots wet their pants for that recommendation.)

I already had a 24-105 (came with the camera), so this makes a perfect pair.

I'd definitely recommend that whatever lens you get, get the good glass and whatever Nikon calls their image stabilization technology - the extra expense (if you can swing it) is well worth the price of admission.
Posted by: Steviepinhead on Dec. 10 2010,13:18

Great shots, all up and down.

This is a cool thread, like getting to be a metazoan voyeur, er sumpin...
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 10 2010,15:13

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 10 2010,13:18)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Honestly, Robin, I don't know diddly doo about Nikon equipment, and I bought my new 100-400mm lens on Albatrossity's recommendation. (And I owe him a great big tongue kiss that would make the UDidiots wet their pants for that recommendation.)

I already had a 24-105 (came with the camera), so this makes a perfect pair.

I'd definitely recommend that whatever lens you get, get the good glass and whatever Nikon calls their image stabilization technology - the extra expense (if you can swing it) is well worth the price of admission.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Muchos gracias, Lou! I'll keep up the research in other quarters, but thought I'd see what the denizens here have to say.
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Dec. 10 2010,22:16

Nikon glass suitable for some wildlife work... a little background first, though.

"Nikkor" is what they brand most of their lenses as. For a while in the 1980s, they did produce some "Nikon" branded glass for their consumer SLR line starting with the Nikon EM camera and 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 100mm, 35-70mm, and 75-150mm manual-focus lenses. From about 1977, Nikon's lenses featured something called "automatic indexing", a mechanical linkup that allowed the camera's metering to know the maximum aperture and current aperture setting. That gave rise to the "AI" designation on lenses. You can get some good values on older, manual-focus glass on the used market, but it needs to be at least AI or AI-modified (previous lenses might be altered for AI). For long telephoto lenses, manual focus isn't a horrible thing to deal with, especially if your new camera at least meters with an AI lens. My D2Xs does but my Fuji S2 does not, and neither does Robin's D3100s. For the S2, D3100s, and others in that group, the functionality is strictly old-school: manual focus and manual exposure. On the D2Xs and similar, modes 'A' and 'M' work with AI lenses. The Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 and 180mm f/2.8 ED (extra-low dispersion glass) are great performers in that category. The Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AI lens is also a classic, though you can get an AF version now, too.

Nikon made a few lenses with auto-focus specifically for the F3 camera; avoid those. The next stage in auto-focus linked the lens to a motor in the camera body. Lenses with auto-focus of this sort and an aperture ring were labeled "AF-D". Lenses without aperture rings that depended on command dials on the camera were "G" style. With auto-focus, the lenses also started coming with passive electronics inside that connected by a series of pins inside the mount to the camera. Nikon then introduced "silent wave" focusing motors that were built into lenses, and that gets the "AF-S" label. AF-S lenses are the only ones fully supported by cameras like the D3100s.

Somewhere in between AI and AF-D times, Nikon also started producing lenses that used the movement of a group of lens elements in the middle of the lens to focus the image. They called this "internal focus" and put "IF" in the label on those lenses. I've already mentioned ED as a label for a lens with at least one extra-low dispersion glass element in it. About the only significant things that Nikon doesn't put in a lens designation consistently is the type of coating on lens elements and whether any aspherical elements are used.

Nikon's image stabilization is called "vibration reduction" or VR in alphabet soup. It works and is useful.

OK, so what about actual lenses?

The Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-D VR is a nice lens, though on the D3100s it will be manual focus only. It goes for around $1500.

The Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S ED-IF G VR(II) is a superlative Nikon zoom lens. There are two versions that are slightly different optically and in the VR mechanics. The more recent VR II adds further vibration reduction capability and is a fair bit sharper in corner performance on full-frame (FX) camera bodies. That doesn't apply to the D3100s; the earlier generation will be sharp throughout on a DX sensor camera body. But 200mm is not really long enough for serious wildlife photography. This lens is in the camera bag of just about every pro using Nikon bodies, which tells you something. For one thing, to take a breath before looking at the price, which is about $1600. This is just about what Canon asks for their corresponding piece of "L" glass. This lens can be paired with the 1.4x tele-extender to get more reach.

Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S ED-IF G VR... This one gets nice reviews, appears to do a good deal better than the plain 70-300mm G lens, and is about $520.

Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S ED G VR... A bit longer than the ubiquitous 55-200mm telephoto kit lens, with VR, and about $360. Apparently not quite a match optically to the 70-300mm VR lens just above, but if you are on a budget, this might be the lens to get.

About the really cheap, really long lenses you'll see advertised in "T-mount"... Generally, these will put an image on the sensor, but even with impeccable technique and a great tripod, the mirror lenses (500mm f/8) and preset lenses (you preset the aperture you want to take with, then as you press the camera's shutter release you also manually rotate a second ring to make the aperture close down) the images are softer than what you would get if you went for the high-quality lenses made by Nikon. It's a trade-off.
Posted by: carlsonjok on Dec. 11 2010,07:17

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 10 2010,10:25)
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

---

ET: Incidentally, I'm thinking of this < one: >

Nikon Zoom-Nikkor Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - F/4.5-5.6 - Nikon F
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I am by no means an expert.  Indeed, I probably haven't even risen to the level of amateur yet.  But, I bought the Tamron 18-270 mm lens (which has vibration compensation) for my Canon.  It also comes in a < Nikon version >.  It is costs a bit more than the one you were looking at, but Tamron often has good mail-in rebates ($80-100 US) if you are willing to time your purchase.

I like it because it is a nice walking-around lens.  You can take both wide-angle and zoom shots without having to change lenses.  It probably is only a competent lens at both ends, but my photography isn't good enough that I need anything more than a competent lens anyways.
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 11 2010,13:44

Thanks for the info folks! Good stuff to know!
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 12 2010,07:04

Et tu, Butterbutt? I'm starting to see a pattern here. What's with < the attitude >?



A bit later, I bumped into < this Carolina Chickadee > (Poecile carolinensis).


Posted by: Henry J on Dec. 12 2010,15:59



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
What's with the attitude?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Get... Off... My... LAWN!  :angry:
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 19 2010,17:41

The clouds finally started to break this afternoon, so I went for a walk. It was too cold to stay out long, but I did OK for only having been out an hour.

Got a couple shots of < this male House Finch > (Carpodacus mexicanus).



< This Brown-headed Nuthatch > (Sitta pusilla) is in on the attitude thing.



...but < he's cute > and fuzzy looking, so whatever. :)



It always seems so hard to get decent shots of Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos), but < this guy > let me walk right up on him. I was so close I couldn't even get the lens to focus (minimum 1.8 meter focus distance - I was CLOSE!), so I had to back up to get this shot.



That's not even cropped at all.

The bluebirds (Sialia sialis) really < don't like me >.



But coolest of all, I added a new bird to my life list. As common as they apparently are, I'd never seen (or more likely, never noticed) < a Tufted Titmouse > (Baeolophus bicolor) before.


Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 20 2010,07:16

Nice shot of the nuthatch, Lou; that's a hard bird to get to sit still for a portrait! Good to see that you didn't freeze to death in those 40 degree temps  :p
Posted by: Bob O'H on Dec. 20 2010,07:37

Lou - you should send some of those to Grrl to be used as mystery birds. They're beautiful.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 20 2010,08:15

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 20 2010,08:16)
Nice shot of the nuthatch, Lou; that's a hard bird to get to sit still for a portrait! Good to see that you didn't freeze to death in those 40 degree temps  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks. He actually clung there just checking me out for quite a while, while I checked him out. That's when I got that shot of him looking dead at the camera. But man, he was all over that tree, not sitting still for more than half a second, otherwise.

...and I moved here to get out of those damnable near-freezing temperatures! I'm firing the weatherman. He's not doing his job. It's supposed to be *warm* here!
   
Quote (Bob O'H @ Dec. 20 2010,08:37)
Lou - you should send some of those to Grrl to be used as mystery birds. They're beautiful.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thank you Bob. I daresay I've come a little ways since I got my first real camera a year and a half ago. :) I'd love to have some of my shots in the Mystery Bird collection. I'll need an email address though. Last I checked, she didn't have it up on her blog.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 20 2010,08:27

I had to go up to Jacksonville the other day. The sky was near-solid cloud deck so the lighting was just crap, but I stopped at North Topsail Beach anyway, just to see what's up.

Even < the Ring-billed Gulls > (Larus delawarensis)...



I thought < this was kind of a cute shot > of an (immature?) Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Walk This Way



And of course where there are young, < there are adults >.



I didn't stay too long though, it would seem I was < right on the flightline >.


Posted by: Bob O'H on Dec. 20 2010,08:43



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Thank you Bob. I daresay I've come a little ways since I got my first real camera a year and a half ago.  I'd love to have some of my shots in the Mystery Bird collection. I'll need an email address though. Last I checked, she didn't have it up on her blog.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


She's on Gmail, and she's grrlscientist. You can work the rest out. :-) Or leave a comment on her blog.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 20 2010,09:26

Quote (Bob O'H @ Dec. 20 2010,09:43)


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Thank you Bob. I daresay I've come a little ways since I got my first real camera a year and a half ago.  I'd love to have some of my shots in the Mystery Bird collection. I'll need an email address though. Last I checked, she didn't have it up on her blog.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


She's on Gmail, and she's grrlscientist. You can work the rest out. :-) Or leave a comment on her blog.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks Bob, will do. It's a pretty day though, so MOAR BIRDS FIRST!!!

Before I go out though, I want to put up
< this young lady > (facing the camera - note the lack of mustache) Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) who was really trying hard to get a little kissyface from that cute boy in homeroom.



She < *really* wanted that kiss >, apparently.




< Apparently >, he wasn't interested.


Posted by: Robin on Dec. 20 2010,11:38

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 19 2010,17:41)
The clouds finally started to break this afternoon, so I went for a walk. It was too cold to stay out long, but I did OK for only having been out an hour.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Just spectacular pics, Lou!

I've been playing around with my new camera to get used to it. Hope to upload some photos soon. Nothing great yet, though I will say a few of my subjects have been awfully cooperative and patient.
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 20 2010,11:42

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 20 2010,09:26)
It's a pretty day though, so MOAR BIRDS FIRST!!!

Before I go out though, I want to put up
< this young lady > (facing the camera - note the lack of mustache) Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) who was really trying hard to get a little kissyface from that cute boy in homeroom.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Wow! More great shots, Lou! I love flickers. Hard bird to shoot too - usually pretty shy.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 20 2010,17:04

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 20 2010,12:42)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 20 2010,09:26)
It's a pretty day though, so MOAR BIRDS FIRST!!!

Before I go out though, I want to put up
< this young lady > (facing the camera - note the lack of mustache) Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) who was really trying hard to get a little kissyface from that cute boy in homeroom.


---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Wow! More great shots, Lou! I love flickers. Hard bird to shoot too - usually pretty shy.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Robin. I'm really enjoying the winter break :)

Today I went out for a while and popped off a few more shots.

< Northern Cardinal > (Cardinalis cardinalis)





and I think this is a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)



And the obligatory Pissed-Off Shot:



He came up pretty close to me as he walked around the pond in one direction, and I sort of strolled around casually in the opposite direction.







< This > was just before he decided he'd had enough of me and my stupid camera.




Posted by: Robin on Dec. 21 2010,12:45

Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 20 2010,17:04)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Nice!



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
and I think this is a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Yep. It is still in its juvenile plumage, but it looks like it's starting to get the breeding dark cap and whitish feathers around the cheeks and down the neck.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 21 2010,17:59

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 21 2010,13:45)
[quote=Lou FCD,Dec. 20 2010,17:04][/quote]
Nice!



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
and I think this is a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



Yep. It is still in its juvenile plumage, but it looks like it's starting to get the breeding dark cap and whitish feathers around the cheeks and down the neck.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Thanks, Robin!
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 22 2010,08:27

Here you go Lou - just a bit of info. The only other bird that's really similar to the Great Blue heron, particularly a juvenile, is the Tricolored heron. You might actually see one in North Carolina where you are, so here's a quick breakdown:

<1 year old juvenile Great Blue heron:



Tricolored heron:



Three things of major note:

The Great Blue is distinctly darker in color than the Tricolored. The Tricolored is bright blue.

The Tricolored has an all blue head - no white or buff on cheek area or along the side of the lower jaw.

The juvenile Great Blue will be nearly uniform in color from neck to lower body, with dark bluish/grey legs to tan/brownish legs (beginning of second year, like your heron). Tricolored's legs are start white, white across the belly, with a line of white extending up the front of the next to right under the chin.

There can be other minor differences too, but these are harder to spot. Like the yellow on the Tricolored's beak usually extends under the eye, while the yellow (if present) on the Great Blue's beak ends at the cheek. Also, the Tricolored is more slender - almost Egret shaped - next to the Great Blue, but since you seldom see them together it's hard to keep that in mind.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Next we'll do a primer on LBBs - Little Brown Birds -  :D
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 22 2010,08:45

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 22 2010,08:27)
Three things of major note:

The Great Blue is distinctly darker in color than the Tricolored. The Tricolored is bright blue.

The Tricolored has an all blue head - no white or buff on cheek area or along the side of the lower jaw.

The juvenile Great Blue will be nearly uniform in color from neck to lower body, with dark bluish/grey legs to tan/brownish legs (beginning of second year, like your heron). Tricolored's legs are start white, white across the belly, with a line of white extending up the front of the next to right under the chin.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Even better clue - Tricolored Herons are half the size of Great Blue Herons, more similar to Snowy Egret in size.
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 22 2010,09:45

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 22 2010,08:45)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Even better clue - Tricolored Herons are half the size of Great Blue Herons, more similar to Snowy Egret in size.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I don't recall them being half the size, but you may be right on that. I seem to recall them being about the size of a great egret. Again since one seldom gets to see them side-by-side, unless one is really familiar with both I find that people don't generally recall relative size distinctions as easily as color distinctions. Course...that may just be me.  :p
Posted by: Albatrossity2 on Dec. 22 2010,10:01

Quote (Robin @ Dec. 22 2010,09:45)
[quote=Albatrossity2,Dec. 22 2010,08:45][/quote]


---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Even better clue - Tricolored Herons are half the size of Great Blue Herons, more similar to Snowy Egret in size.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------



I don't recall them being half the size, but you may be right on that. I seem to recall them being about the size of a great egret. Again since one seldom gets to see them side-by-side, unless one is really familiar with both I find that people don't generally recall relative size distinctions as easily as color distinctions. Course...that may just be me.  :p
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Well, that got me to checking in the Sibley guide here, and the numbers are:

Gr. Blue Heron - length 46"; wingspan 72"
Tricolored Heron - length 26"; wingspan 36"
Snowy Egret - length 24"; wingspan 42"

So, just like it's pretty easy to tell a Snowy from a Great Egret (length 39"; wingspan 51") even if they are not standing side-by-side, the size difference between GBH and TCH should be apparent, even if only one is present. Especially if you are used to seeing a lot of GBHs; a TCH will look pretty different, size-wise.

A good behavioral clue for TCH is that these can be VERY active birds when foraging, unlike GBH which are basically stand-and-wait stalkers. TCH  do a lot of the stand-and-wait, but, unlike GBH, they sometimes go into a foraging behavior called "disturb and chase", where they run around and chase any fish or amphibians that they spook up. If you see a North American bird doing that, it is either a TCH or a Reddish Egret, another very active feeder.
Posted by: Lou FCD on Dec. 22 2010,11:50

Thanks for the info, it's very helpful.
Posted by: Robin on Dec. 22 2010,12:04

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Dec. 22 2010,10:01)

---------------------QUOTE-------------------




---------------------QUOTE-------------------
So, just like it's pretty ea