Blog Birding #82
by Nate Swick
David Sibley's series on bird song identification finally gets to the four species that I, for one, consistently have the most trouble with, the eastern trillers:
The simple trilled songs of species like Chipping Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco offer some of the most difficult, and most common, identification challenges in bird song. There is simply very little information that we can glean from the songs to help us identify the singer. Each species sings a rapid series of very short phrases on a steady pitch, with almost nonexistent pauses between each phrase, and in our brain the sound runs together to form a continuous trill.
Seagull Steve of Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds finds himself in San Diego, marveling at Elegant Terns:
Elegant Terns come in relative abundance for most of the year, and they bring a lot of life (and noise) to the south coast in spring and summer, where they have a few breeding colonies in San Diego and Orange Counties. Indeed, I owe the Elegant colony of Bolsa Chica a lot, for they hosted the only Sooty and Sandwich Terns I have ever seen in California (which I saw on the same day, no less). In fall they move northward (as many Mexican birds are prone to do), but go south of the border when winter comes.
Shooting for 100 species in a day is the classic spring challenge. Follow along with Stuart of sitta canadensis as he attempts to crack the century mark:
350 kilometres later, the sun and moon rising in tandem at our backs, we eased off the 401 at Tilbury, where we stopped at the sewage lagoons for a first look around. Lots of Dunlin, a few Least Sandpipers and a single Semi-palmated Plover nosed around the muck, all year-firsts. On our way out, Steve spotted a handful of Horned Larks chasing each other in the surrounding dry fields. A few minutes later, while taking a phone call, he spied a whack of Black-bellied Plovers and a couple of Ruddy Turnstones in the otherwise flat landscape. It was a good start, but it got much harder as the day wore on.
At Brownstone Birding Blog, Larry gives you the tools to self-diagnose Avian Snob Syndrome:
When you first start birding just about every bird you see seems like a good one. Then you start to familiarize yourself with all the species in your area and things change. You begin to grow tired of seeing common, everyday birds and start to search for migrants, rare birds or any species you haven't seen.
At The Eyrie, the ABA Young Birder Blog, Alexandria Simpson shares the story of the first Black-capped Petrel chick ever photographed:
Who knew that a small gray bit of fluff, barely identifiable as a bird by the tiny black beak, could be important? One in a Haitian cave on March 3, 2011 certainly was! This gray fluff ball was the first Black-capped Petrel chick ever photographed.