Sunday, January 9, 2011

I think I'm in love... #117

Headed to Hilda again today around noon. Was it ever busy! The birds didn't seem to mind at all. I was boggled by the monetary value of the photographic equipment around me in such a small area!
Much the same spread of birds as yesterday, with the addition of blue jays and at least one downy.

I really wanted to see more redpolls, firstly because they are so cute, and secondly, because reading about the difference between commons and hoaries had me so confused and I needed a better look. I thought I did have a potential for a hoary in my pictures from yesterday. Anyways, it's still as clear as muck, but I did at least get a male common today, along with some friends:

While I am still confused, I am definitely starting to appreciate the finer skills of birding. For example, this has forced me to figure out what the heck "undertail coverts" and "scapulars" and "primaries" mean.

I left to ski for an hour and came glad...there was only one birder left and a HUGE FLOCK OF BOHEMIANS! Did I not just mention yesterday how badly I wanted to see them? Ok, what a treat!!! I've been waiting for this day for a long time. I can die happy now.

#117: Bohemian waxwing; Hilda Road feeders; January 9, 2011
gorgeous and knows it.

So they aren't camera-shy, and they were still hanging out when I left half an hour later. I would say there were 30-40 at the very least. I noticed that some don't have any of the orange or yellow "wax" yet on their wings. Apparently these markings increase with age.

 Eating snow...getting some fluids!

Which brings me to a terminological issue. As it turns out I have been using "immature" and "juvenile" rather loosely (uh, as synonyms), and my bird book informs me that they mean two different things.
juvenile = bird that has the plumage in which it fledges
immature = a bird that is no longer in its fledged plumage but does not yet have adult plumage
So I'll be a little more careful with that from now on! Never stop learning with this hobby!
Matt got the money shot.

I got a little worried, thinking I might not have any new birds for a while now, since I've now seen most of the winter birds on my radar  But I checked the Ottawa checklist and there is definitely more out there. It won't be easy, but this is what I'll be keeping an eye out for over the rest of the winter: gray partridge, horned larks, lapland longspurs, black-backed woodpeckers, pine siskins, evening grosbeaks, pine grosbeaks, red-crossbills, white-winged crossbills, and owls, owls, owls. Well, that should keep me busy!

As for the software question I posed yesterday, as it turns out, if you submit your observations to, it will generate a variety of lists for you. I'm not totally sure that this is what I want, but I think I'll at least give it a try.

Ok, ending off an a funny note. I'm sure some of you have seen this. I've included the ones that made me smile the most.

You might be a birder if...
You might be a birder if someone yells "duck!" and you shout "where?"
You might be a birder if your vacations are planned to maximize your lifers.
You might be a birder if your neck hurts except when you're looking up.
You might be a birder if there are days when getting up at 4:30 a.m. is something you’ve looked forward to.
You might be a birder if more than half your male friends have beards.
You might be a birder if for you the "tele" is silent in telescope, despite what your dictionary says.
You might be a birder if you understand why you need to see some warblers today even though you saw 31 different kinds of them yesterday.
You might be a birder if you criticize television programs and commercials that depict a bald eagle but play a red-tailed hawk call.
You might be a birder if your spouse says, “It's either me or the birds,” and you have to think about it.
You might be a birder if preparing for trips to visit out-of-state relatives involves contacting local birders, securing local bird lists, and buying the appropriate guide.
You might be a birder if you don’t blush when you say Bushtit or Woodcock.
You might be a birder if your friends have tennis elbow, but you have warbler neck.
You might be a birder if your binoculars/camera cost more than your car.
You might be a birder if you buy 8 kinds of suet but only one kind of breakfast cereal.
You might be a birder if you lose friends, and perhaps even your spouse, from fighting over the pronunciation of “pileated.”
You might be a birder if it's a northeaster, the rain is horizontal, a small craft advisory has been issued, but it’s birdathon and you need to up the day’s list.
You might be a birder if your spouse doesn't understand why you must keep a yard list, a county list, a state list, a U.S. list, a lower-48 list, a Canada list, an ABA list (whatever that is), a world list, and an escrow list.
You might be a birder if you stop the car frequently, and your riders say "What are you stopping for?"
You might be a birder if you can say exactly where you saw a dozens of lifebirds but don't recall exactly where you first met your spouse.
You might be a birder if "nemesis bird" means something to you.
You might be a birder if you can find Pt. Pelee, Pt. Reyes, and Cape May on a map in less than five seconds.
You might be a birder if you've got better things to do than watch "the big game."
You might be a birder if you've got better things to do than attend your birthday party.


dwaynejava said...

I'm jealous of these beauties you photographed. I heard that Hoary Redpols look like their faces were pushed in. I love the "you might be a birder" lines. I might have to borrow those!

Funkysandman said...

wow..good bird nerdin!
nice shots - Bohemians go nice with a blue sky.

could you be a birder or (wannabe birder) if a bohemian has pooped in your hair?'s good to get close but not too close

dmorin said...

Your a birder. Ebird has some good graphs, but you have to dig to get the best out of that software. However, there`s not really anything else out there that is as cost effective. AviSys is a decent program at a high price. That would be the only other program I would suggest. Everything else either does not update when ABA splits a species or you have to pay for the new add on.
Redpollls are awesome. If you ever get the chance in a finch year when the siskins, crossbills and redpolls are all here, take a drive up in the back roads near Wakefield. The flocks up there are huge.

Btw, the Raven is my favourite bird and we once had one that sounded like a dripping tap.

Gray Partridge haunt a City of Ottawa park and building in Kanata. It is the only place in the area to see Gray Partridge anymore. They are almost extirpated in the area.

Also as reported there are Crossbills and Pine Grosbeaks up on Eardley-Masham Rd in Quebec. Also a good place to go cross country skiing if I remember correctly.

deepdowndawn said...

Thanks for the comments guys!

Sandy and I are adding to the list:
You might be a birder if you often find yourself driving on the wrong side of the road…
You might be a birder if driving into the ditch has become a minor annoyance…

Dave, did you head to the island for the owls? I also often see a snowy on the southwest part of the island from long point road where it turns and hits the lake. My dad lives on the island so I get to go often enough :)

Eardley-Masham is on the list to go to soon, as is the place near the Sensplex.

dmorin said...

Unfortunately I did not get to go to the island. Each day I intended to go turned into a snow squall along the 401. I trust transport trucks only so much in winter conditions. My next holidays, barring emergencies, are in March so it looks like no winter owls. I'll just catch the regulars like Great Horned, Barred and Saw-whet when I'm up in Ottawa in March.

Dad lives on the island! Now that is lucky. I'm surprised someone didn't turn you into a birder earlier. As for the ditch thing, wait until you get stuck on ice, get out to push and then have the car slide backwards over you. You'll never want to wear anything but brown pants again on a birding trip.