Monday, February 8, 2010


With a hint of spring in the air I've greatly enjoyed getting out to seek birds. I want to start off this blog post with a photo of three species of gulls. From a distance I could see that there were a lot of Ring-billed Gulls (they're the smaller, lighter ones with a black ring near the tip of their bill). And, there were two that were larger and one was facing me and one could be seen from the side and it had a darker back. Because I had observed a few California Gulls in this location before, among the many Ring-billed, I said, "Look at those two larger ones with the darker back ... they're California Gulls."

As I walked past them the light was nicer, so I took another photo before moving on. Now that I look at the photo, I see that there is only one with a darker back (the California Gull, at the bottom left, now almost facing the camera). The one out of the water, standing on a branch is much larger than even the California Gull, and has pink legs. The California and Ring-billed all have yellowish legs.

So, based on the yellowish eye, dirty neck, pink legs and large size, I now believe the one on the stick is a Herring Gull. That's my final answer, and I'm sticking to it ... for now.

Gulls are not really my favorite bird, maybe because they were so common where I grew up on the Atlantic coast of Maine, and maybe because they can be hard to identify, and maybe because if one wants to find gulls a dump is a good place to hang out and I'm not much into dumps anymore now that taking stuff home is frowned upon.

But this next bird is so disliked that it's legal to kill them anytime and in any quantity in Idaho. The Eurasian Collared-Dove has spread like a noxious weed across the entire continent in a few decades. There's no telling, yet, what sort of ecological change they bring with them. That said, I think they do look rather attractive.

Though rather far away, I was pleased to spot this Northern Shrike in a local park. They will likely go north as winter draws to a close.

This is an Audubon's race Yellow-rumped Warbler. Audubon's have a yellow throat. The other race, the Myrtle, have an off-white throat.

And, finally, who does not enjoy seeing an owl? I had looked for this one before, but they blend in so well with the branches and tree trunks that they can be difficult to spot. Only after the local resident pointed out this Great Horned Owl's favorite roosts was I able to see it, though I'm sure I had looked in that area already and overlooked it.


Anonymous said...

What a variety you saw, it must have been a good outing. You may feel spring in the air, but that little warbler looks mighty cold.

Avimor Birder said...

Nice post! Good to see you using eBird so much too!