Sunday, December 6, 2009

It'll be a Cold Day in Idaho ...

Today the high temperature was something on the order of 26 degrees, with a steady strong wind. Cyndi and I braved the temperatures, but didn't get out the metal tripod and scope, and frequently fled back to the warmth of the car.

We saw the American Tree Sparrow. This photo isn't as sharp as I'd like, but clearly shows the spot in the center of the chest.

This photo of the American Tree Sparrow is sharp, but the bird has hidden behind a branch so the spot is not visible. The bicolored bill is shown nicely, though.

Usually the type of Goldeneye I see are Common Goldeneye. In the winter another kind can often be found, and today for the first time I saw one in Idaho. The back has more black than the Common, and the round spot on the face becomes shaped like a crescent. It is a Barrow's Goldeneye.

Well, there it goes. It has to run on the water to get a start for takeoff. And when it flies, the wings make a whistling sound.

It was a good day for eagles! In my worst identification blunder for the day I watched a bird approach and studied the tail feathers. A Raven has a spatulate tail, longer at the center that comes to a point. We had seen lots of Ravens, but this one didn't have the pointed tail. It was more squared off. "Crow," I offered, but as it got closer and bigger I raised the binoculars to my eye and was greeted by a face with a hooked beak and magnificent golden mantle. Too late I raised the camera and got this soft image as it went past.

This Golden Eagle is nicely lit and sharp, but I'd rather see it without the transmission lines. Well, the poles are a part of its habitat these days ... .

This one is interesting because a Bald Eagle will usually eat fish. Grasped in its talons, however, is a feathered creature. Some black and white bird met its demise, perhaps one of the more than 90 Merganser we saw? Whatever it was, it is dinner now.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's cold. Lovely Merganser photos...and that Eagle is very interesting with his non-fish meal.

Robert Mortensen said...

Where did you see the American Tree Sparrow? I've not seen one yet.