Pine Siskin (again)!

February 18th, 2010 by elanus

Look what idbirds got a shot of this morning:

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You can’t see much detail, because the light was low, but I’m pretty sure the folks on the cam at the time were right that this was CONE Welder’s first Pine Siskin!

A few minutes later grrrich got this shot:

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…and a few seconds later idbirds got this one:

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It would be nice if we could see the yellow on the wings, but especially with that first shot, I’m comfortable calling this a siskin. I said “again” in the title of this post, because we also got some shots of the Pine Siskin back in the CONE SF days (see Pine Siskin!). Here are the shots from that post, for comparison purposes:

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Congratulations to idbirds and grrrich for getting shots of this elusive bird!

Lincoln’s Sparrow!

February 7th, 2010 by elanus

I wasn’t on the cam at the time, but yesterday while some users were trying to follow the female Indigo Bunting to the pond, look what vanilla (along with idbirds, usabirder, and tinyang) got instead:

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Talk about serendipity! That, ladies and gentlemen, is the game’s very first Lincoln’s Sparrow!

Here’s an even better shot that vanilla got today, part of a superb sequence of bathing shots that I intend to stitch together into an animation as soon as the Super Bowl is over:

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What a cool bird. I really like Lincoln’s Sparrows; they’re so unpretentious, yet classy. Something about that neat streaking on the breast really appeals to me. I guess I’m just a brown-pinstripes kind of guy.

Update: As promised, here’s a stitched-together animation of the Lincoln’s Sparrow bathing. Thanks to vanilla, loughman1, and usabirder for taking these great shots.


The Indigo Buntings (Well, One of Them) Are Back

February 7th, 2010 by elanus

I’ve been kidded a few times about my ridiculously good luck with the birdcam. I’ve been very spotty in my use of it lately, but it seems that when I do show up, as like as not something special will appear on the camera. That was certainly the case when I spent about 5 minutes on the system one evening, and it just happened to coincide with the game’s first identified bobcat taking a stroll past the camera.

I had a similar lucky event yesterday, when I spent a few minutes on the cam trying to see if I could get any more shots of what sort of looked to me like it might have been a Lesser Goldfinch. Here are the two shots that had me wondering, the first by vanilla and the second by loughman1:

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That check mark on the wing is the thing that had me thinking Lesser, but after looking some more I’m pretty comfortable calling this an American Goldfinch.

But while I was looking for more goldfinches, look what I got a shot of:

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I’m pretty sure that’s the site’s first Indigo Bunting (a female) since August 2009. Here are some more shots I got yesterday:

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And here’s a shot from today, this one by tinyang:

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Hooray for buntings! 🙂

Birds of Prey

February 7th, 2010 by elanus

All birds are fun to look at, but like most birdwatchers, I get a special thrill out of birds of prey. Lately there have been some very cool shots of raptors with the birdcam, and I wanted to show a few of them here.

The Red-shouldered Hawk is the most-commonly seen diurnal raptor with CONE Welder, and any time it shows up is a special occasion. I don’t think I previously posted any shots from this very cool appearance it made back on October 9, 2009. Here’s a gorgeous shot by txbird:

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Here’s a pensive shot, also taken by txbird, this time from a little over a week ago, January 29, 2010:

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usabirder got this great shot on February 2:

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Earlier today (February 7, 2010), tinyang got this fantastic shot of the Red-shouldered Hawk “mantling”. I wonder if there was a prey animal under there:

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Less-commonly seen with the camera, and hence more exciting (especially if you’re a small songbird), is the Cooper’s Hawk. Here’s a shot tinyang took on February 25, 2009:

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Here’s another shot that rafa took on the same day:

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This shot was taken on January 31, 2010, by achadamaia:

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This interesting closeup was taken 11 seconds later, also by achadamaia:

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Finally, no CONE Welder bird of prey roundup would be complete without a shot of Hooty, the Barred Owl, the first bird of prey photographed with the camera. Here’s a neat shot taken by amaranth on the evening of January 27, 2010:

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Black-headed Grosbeak!

January 26th, 2010 by elanus

Look what vanilla found with the birdcam yesterday: A beautiful male Black-headed Grosbeak:

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vanilla was the only one to get shots during that first appearance, which was around 8:19 a.m. Pacific time. But the bird came back to the feeder around 11:45 a.m., allowing others to get some nice shots as well, including these two shots by usabirder and txbird, respectively:

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Although we had Black-headed Grosbeaks (sometimes a lot of them) on Craig’s deck back in the CONE SF days, this is a first for the Texas birdcam. The last new bird species identified with CONE Welder was the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher recorded by birdbrain back on August 5, 2009.

Congratulations to vanilla, and to everyone who got shots of this great bird!

Update: The bird is back this morning, with several users getting nice shots. Here he is admiring his reflection in the feeder in a shot taken by annelizabeth:

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And here’s the Northern Cardinal trying to steal some attention back from the colorful interloper, in a shot by vanilla:

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Live video from Craig’s deck (again)

January 5th, 2010 by elanus

It’s not zoomable, and I’m not getting audio at the moment, but this view makes me feel nostalgic:

Watch live streaming video from craignewmark at

Bath-time on Craig’s Deck

November 1st, 2009 by elanus

I know I’ve been remiss lately about posting new items; my apologies for that. I’ll try to get some new CONE Welder content up on the blog soon.

In the meantime, check out this cool video from Craig’s deck: Everyone into the pool!

The Little Lady Is Back

September 20th, 2009 by elanus

Look what showed up on Craig’s deck yesterday:


Pretty sure that’s a female Western Tanager, which makes me wonder if it’s the same bird that bluebean photographed on May 7, 2007, and that I talked about back in Well, hello little lady and Two that got away.

Eastern cottontail!

August 26th, 2009 by elanus

My son and I are currently working our way through Watership Down for bedtime reading, so I especially enjoyed seeing this shot that birdbrain got in the wee hours this morning: The game’s first-ever eastern cottontail!

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Congratulations, birdbrain!

Little Tyrants

August 18th, 2009 by elanus

There were a bunch of interesting birds photographed yesterday, including the following little guy (or gal) who hung around for a nice series of shots:

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The shot above by txbird is my favorite, I think, but click through and browse the whole sequence. I’m comfortable calling that an Empidonax flycatcher, but beyond that I don’t even want to guess. Judging by the range maps in Sibley, I could see that being any of Acadian, Yellow-bellied, Willow, Alder, or Least. Any experts want to weigh in? It would be the game’s first Empidonax, but unless they give us an “Empidonax (spp.)” ID, I don’t think it’s ever going to be counted.

Right after that a kingbird gave us some nice views. Here are shots by leacox, txbird, and leacox (respectively):

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A few of them were ID’d as Western Kingbird, which I certainly have no objection to. It almost looks to me like there are white outer tail feathers in that first shot, which would help with that ID, though it bothers me that they don’t show up in any of the other shots.

Anyway, congratulations to everyone who got shots of these great, if tantalizing, birds.