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Posts Tagged ‘Starling’

Aside from the terrible hot, flushed, allergy face – this weekend was very nice. I’m allergic to cottonwood, but it wasn’t terribly overbearing and the grass pollens are only just beginning, so I was able to stay outside for some length of time, pulling up weeds, rearranging fences, and moving things around.

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I love this trio of scrub jay photos. He just hopped from one side to the other and I caught him mid-air. I set my camera on the “sports” setting which shoots at f 5.6 1/1600 ISO 2500. I use this for shooting birds or insect because it invariably captures movement I would not have noticed when aiming the camera.

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Bees, for instance, are constantly on the move. You’re lucky to capture them holding still. The “sports” setting on my D-SLR allows for that.

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Check out this series of goldfinch vs. dandelion fuzz photos.

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The House finches wanted to know what was so interesting about the dandelion.

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At one point, the male and female house finch converged on the goldfinch (below and out of sight in the photo).

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There was this capture, of the male house finch coming in for a landing.

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And this – my favorite – the goldfinch took off, the house finch in mid-air with wings folded back – wow.

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Another house finch vs. goldfinch capture. The house finch is so much larger than the goldfinches.

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This was another drama. The black-headed grosbeak had just settled into the feeder. See the wings on the left?

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A starling comes to rest and chases the grosbeak off.

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“Hey? Where did everyone go?” Starlings always assume they are popular, but everyone hates them.

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Too bad I cut the top starling off. They are striking birds, just they are not native American birds. Highly invasive and a birder’s bane in North America.

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Not sure if this is a starling or Brewer’s Blackbird (they flock together). Probably a starling. But a great capture.

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Bumblebee on the ceanothus.

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Honeybee on the Spanish Lavender.

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Unknown bee on the ceanothus.

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This trio of photos are of the black-headed grosbeaks. The female is less colorful, but not less pretty. The males can be mistaken for orioles. And in the last photo – a female grosbeak in the feeder with a band-tailed pigeon.

I never left home and still had an adventure. I love Oregon.

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Well, my female Ruby-crowned Kinglet did not make an appearance this weekend, the little hussy. She could have had the courtesy to make a second appearance at the bird feeder, especially after I dutifully put out thistle seed.

harumph.

However, the American Robins (Turdus migratorius – sounds like something that got it’s Latin name on an episode of The Road Runner) made a huge showing on Saturday morning. In fact, you could say they decided the spa was open.

It started with one bird.

Then a second one flew in.

“Whew! What a flight! You could move over and let me land, Buddy!”

Then there were five.

Three in committee and two out there doing the scouting work.

A pair of naturalized citizens dropped in to share some gossip.

Mrs. English House Sparrow (Weaver Finch) and Ms. European Starling whispered over the bugs in the grass.

The Dark-eyed Junco enjoyed a spot of peanut butter suet.

Mrs. and Mr. House Finch were just shopping at the big warehouse store, stocking up on sunflower seeds.

Ms. Pileated Woodpecker was soon beak-deep in the dried insects stuck inside the suet.

She’s more than twice the size of the robins and considerably shier.

The opposite spectrum of the woodpecker world popped in to check out the amenities at the Spa.

Hello, Master Downy Woodpecker. Fine day to look for a mate?

OK, that was rather dorky commentary, but it has been a long day.

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I am so jazzed tonight: new bird in the bird feeder – and a rare one for a bird feeder, at that.

It was actually a pretty slow day for the bird feeder. It started frosty and cold, but once the sun was up, it warmed wonderfully. The birds tend to forage on their own when it is nice out.

Still, I had a couple Eurasian Starlings come in.

I was raised to hate starlings. They’re an invasive species, introduced from Europe, noisy and rather obnoxious. I have known a birder or two (or three or four) to take drastic measures to keep starlings out of the feeder. In fact, I have been known to quit feeding birds until the starlings move on.

This winter I decided to watch them. I am beginning to see them in a different light (my dad would roll over in his grave if he was in a grave – probably a good thing we cremated him). They’re a rather showy bird with an interesting repertoire of songs. I don’t think I will ever actually like starlings, but I think I can get used to their presence. They are, after all, here and here¬† to stay.

Two Band-tailed Pigeons dropped in. They didn’t stay long: my house is on a corner lot and people sometimes top at the stop sign for long minutes. Today someone got out and readjusted the load in the back of their pick-up and the pigeons decided not to hang out. They’re very shy birds, not at all like the rock doves you see congregating on public statues, under overpasses and on power lines. They are also native birds, unlike rock doves. And cleaner, I might add.

I don’t like rock doves much.

But that was it for birds until around 4:15 this afternoon, just before the sun went down. Then all the chickadees and usual little birds started filtering in. Or is that flitting in? They’re a nervous lot.

My friendly Townsend’s Warbler always takes time to pose for my camera.

But then there was the Stranger. At first I thought I had a lone Bushtit, but that would be unusual and this bird was considerably larger and slightly more yellow. It was too gray for a Goldfinch, but maybe a Lesser Goldfinch?

I snapped a photo and hoped that it would come out.

This was the best photo of the ones I took. The bird would never turn sideways to me and was entirely too nervous out in the open. I didn’t have the tripod set up to stabilize the camera (with the 75-300mm lens on it, the auto stabilization is not guaranteed to work). But the photo¬† is adequate.

I thought it might be a vireo because of the eye, but seeing a vireo in the feeder would be entirely unusual: they eat insects. Still… that is insect suet, full of tiny bug parts for the bug-lovers.

I usually check my birds against a couple different field guides when I am unsure about what I am looking at. Our old Peterson’s Guide that sits in the kitchen is reasonably reliable but I wasn’t satisfied with the choices. So I turned to the computer and the Cornell All About Birds web site.

Ta da! I have a definite ID on this fellow: Cassin’s Vireo (used to be Solitary Vireo, which is what Peterson’s Guide called it).

I’m jazzed.

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