Archive for May, 2007

Whew. Song Sparrow.

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

I finally got that guy (or gal). And it was way frustrating, because I only had two shots left on my daily roll of 10, and with the (presumably intentional) long reload times on the My Gallery page, it’s an exercise in hair-pulling to try to quickly delete a couple of failed attempts in order to free up space to try again.

But anyway, I got the shot. Not a great shot, but mostly in-focus, and identifiable. Whew.

Image 10974

Update: He (or she) hung around at the feeder afterward, leading to this really impressive shot by lin, taken at 7:41 p.m.:

Image 10995

And then kryptonkay got this shot at 8:24 p.m., setting the new site record for latest identified photo! Cool! I’m glad someone had the patience to stick around for that, because I sure didn’t. 🙂

Image 11001

Early Non-Bird

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

There’s no bird in it, but this image taken today by papadick at 5:34 a.m. should win a prize for earliest prettiest image:

Image 10731

Early Birds & Night Owls

Friday, May 18th, 2007

I previously speculated that the shot I took of a barely visible American Robin at 5:38 a.m. on May 6 might be the earliest identified photo taken in the game. I just spent a few minutes plowing through the Public Gallery, and I’ve confirmed it; that’s the earliest identified photo taken so far.

Here’s that shot:

Image 6585

The second-earliest shot so far was also of an American Robin. It was photographed in pretty much the same place at 5:51 this morning, May 18, by noho_bird_club:

Image 10419

It’s only 13 minutes later by the clock, but it’s obviously a lot brighter out; I guess a couple of weeks makes a real difference as we head toward the longest day of the year on June 21. I think my “earliest shot” record is ripe for the plucking, and will only get riper for the next month or so, as the early birds shift their schedules to match the daylight.

Third place goes to this shot of two female Black-headed Grosbeaks, taken at 5:52 a.m. by gbleys on May 8:

Image 7329

I also looked for who had taken the latest identifiable photos. The winner in that category is this shot of a male House Finch taken at 8:15 p.m. on May 7 by keystone1111:

Image 7323

Second place goes to this shot of a robin, taken at 8:13 p.m. yesterday, May 17, by kryptonkay:

Image 10418

Third place goes to this shot of a male Black-headed Grosbeak, taken at 8:09 p.m. on May 8 by byronma2433:

Image 7663

Here are the top 10 in each category. Note that in compiling this list, I took the earliest and latest bird each day, and compared only those. That is, only one shot each morning and one shot each evening could be in contention. This makes it actually a competition between the different days, to see which day’s earliest bird was the earliest, and which day’s latest bird was the latest.


  1. 05:38 — American Robin (elanus, May 6)
  2. 05:51 — American Robin (noho_bird_club, May 18)
  3. 05:52 — Black-headed Grosbeak (gbleys, May 8 )
  4. 05:53 — Black-headed Grosbeak (elanus, May 12)
  5. 05:55 — Black-headed Grosbeak (kellychitwood, May 9)
  6. 06:03 — House Finch (nestera, May 5)
  7. 06:05 — Black-headed Grosbeak (noho_bird_club, May 10)
  8. 06:06 — Black-headed Grosbeak (kiddo, May 10)
  9. 06:10 — Western Scrub-Jay (m.vogel, May 7)
  10. 06:11 — Western Scrub-Jay (nchyflyer, May 4)


  1. 20:15 — House Finch (keystone1111, May 7)
  2. 20:13 — American Robin (kryptonkay, May 17)
  3. 20:09 — Black-headed Grosbeak (byronma2433, May 18)
  4. 20:02 — Western Scrub-Jay (maggs, May 5) (tie broken by being first to get the bird in that minute)
  5. 20:02 — Dark-eyed Junco (sunbird, May 12)
  6. 20:01 — House Sparrow (sunbird, April 24)
  7. 20:00 — Dark-eyed Junco (pabirdguy, April 27)
  8. 19:57 — Dark-eyed Junco (empid, May 13)
  9. 19:50 — Western Scrub-Jay (randc319, April 29)
  10. 19:49 — American Robin (ephrat, April 21)*

*That 10th place finisher for latest photo is from the very first day the site went public, April 21, and it’s currently classified as a Dark-eyed Junco. But I’m pretty sure it’s actually an American Robin. Here’s the photo:

Image 86

If you agree with me that that’s no junco, and if you haven’t voted yet, click through and enter your vote and we’ll get it reclassified.

Update: And now, thanks to your votes, we’ve done so. Thanks!

Song Sparrow!

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

For the first time since May 3, and only the fourth time since the game started, a Song Sparrow put in an appearance today. harpsichordgal got this single shot at 7:58 p.m.:

Image 10417

As I mentioned in My Big Three, I’d really love to get a shot of one of these myself with the birdcam, but so far, no luck.

Everyone Into the Pool!

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

The fun at the birdbath continued today, with several birds that I haven’t seen bathing taking a turn. I actually saw the Selasphorus hummer at the bath again for a few seconds, but couldn’t get a shot. But then this Anna’s gave me a nice pose at 6:50 a.m.:

Image 10155

papadick got this cool shot of a female Lesser Goldfinch at 11:48:

Image 10248

And noho_bird_club caught the Steller’s Jay (which has been appearing fairly regularly the past few days) staring at its own reflection at 4:17 p.m.:

Image 10339

And it’s not a rarity at the bath, but I really liked this action shot of the American Robin captured by lin at 4:49:

Image 10366

Officially Cool

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

According to the recently updated Credit, Press & Inspirations page on the CONE Sutro Forest site, this is the “coolest” CONE Sutro Forest blog. Hooray!

A stickler for detail might point out that this is also the only CONE Sutro Forest blog, which it could be argued undercuts the awesomeness of being the coolest, but I’ll have none of that.

It’s official: We’re cool. 😎

A View from Ground Level

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

One of the things I find interesting about the CONE SF system is that I spend all this time looking at Craig’s backyard from a very specific point of view. If I could see that location from a different angle, would I be surprised?

I got the opportunity to test that, because on Monday Craig posted a photograph taken at ground level to his personal blog. Here’s the photo:

I was admiring the plant (a Pride of Madeira), when I noticed something in the upper lefthand corner: Hey, is that the T-bar?

Yup. Here’s a magnified view of that part of the image:

Pretty cool, eh? It’s hard to tell with the cloud in the background, but I can’t see the sock feeder. If it’s not there, it would mean the photo was taken some time prior to 10:50 a.m. last Friday.

Note that you can see the top of that Pride of Madeira from the birdcam; here’s a photo I took of it this morning:

Image 9874

And here’s a photo of the bottlebrush that also figures prominently in Craig’s picture:

Image 9873

I have a theory about that bottlebrush. In my neck of the woods, the Selasphorus hummingbirds really love those bushes. Even before I got those shots the other day of the Selasphorus hummer dipping itself in the birdbath, I suspected the bottlebrush was a good place to look for them; now I’m sure of it. So if you notice someone repeatedly guiding the camera to peak through the railing at that bush, it’s probably me, and that’s what I’m doing: looking for an Allen’s Hummingbird.

Steller’s Jay!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Bigtime kudos to user berkteach, who at 6:18 p.m. yesterday got the site’s first picture of a Steller’s Jay:

Image 9845

A few moments later, kryptonkay got this absolutely spectacular shot, which I’d have to rank up there among my personal favorites since the game began:

Image 9848

We’d known there was a Steller’s Jay out there, since Craig posted a photo of one taken from his deck on his blog recently. It’s nice to finally have a couple of pictures of it in the game.

Now let’s get some more! 🙂

More Fun with Two

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

The dirty birdbath continued to be a big hit yesterday, so much so that the birds couldn’t wait to take turns, but frequently doubled up, with two separate birds, and even two separate species, sharing the bath at the same time.

Among the photos taken was this one by jodi at 4:21 p.m. I like the apparent size contrast between the dry, fluffy junco on the back of the bath, and the wet, apparently much smaller one on the front:

Image 9793

Here’s a nice action photo by vireo of what I assume are the same pair of birds, taken a minute later. Mr. Fluffy has finally entered the water, while the wet one is really going to town:

Image 9797

I also liked this one, taken at 4:21 by jodi, where a stuffy Britisher deigns to join the bath with his American neighbor.

Image 9801

Birdbath shots are just a lot of fun.

Splish, Splash!

Monday, May 14th, 2007

So, after the thrill of seeing Prof Goldberg clean out the birdbath the other day, I was a little put out when I noticed that the high wind (I’m guessing) had deposited a bit of grass in that nice clean water. You can see it in this shot of a Dark-eyed Junco I got yesterday at 4:18:

Image 9240

I might not care for vegetation in my bathwater, but apparently the birds on Craig’s deck didn’t mind, since there was plenty of birdbath action yesterday. But look at what happened today: By the time kiddo got this shot of the American Robin at 11:43, the water was looking downright murky (because of dirt carried in on the grass, maybe?):

Image 9387

I don’t know if the dirty water had anything to do with it, but the very next shot, taken by pabirdguy in the same minute, shows a bird standing in the same place that looks different enough that noho_bird_club, at least, believes it to be a juvenile European Starling:

Image 9388

But the fun with the murky water didn’t stop there. As if they found the yucky-looking water particularly attractive, the next few hours saw a steady stream of birds visiting the bath, including some species that I don’t remember seeing there before. There was this House Sparrow at 12:18, photographed by noho_bird_club:

Image 9402

And this robin at 12:20, also captured by noho_bird_club (note the effect of the water on its chest, which makes me think the earlier “starling” might just have been a very wet robin):

Image 9405

There was also a junco at 12:33 (#9414, by noho_bird_club), two House Sparrows at 12:35 (#9420, pennsylavian), and this junco at 1238 (kiddo):

Image 9424

A House Finch at 1:04 (lfujim0):

Image 9441

A Western Scrub-Jay at 1:45 (kryptonkay):

Image 9457

The robin again at 2:20 (#9468, by mary mactavish), the junco again at 5:15 (#9529, by lin), and a Mourning Dove at 4:55, by tedr:

Image 9524

So, at 7:21 p.m. I was going through all these great birdbath images, and I wondered if there might be anything else going on at the birdbath. And I panned over, and had the great pleasure of watching an Allen’s Hummingbird (I’m saying that based on the date, though all I’m sure of is that it was a Selasphorus) bathe itself by hovering over the bath and repeatedly diving into it on the wing. I hit my limit of 10 photos pretty quick, and by the time I’d deleted the rejects to try to get more the hummingbird was gone. But I managed to get these two images:

Image 9575

Image 9576

All in all, an awesome day at the birdbath. Let’s keep it dirty from now on!