Warblers and Sparrows and Goats, Oh My!

(Apologies to user vanilla, from whom I stole the idea for the title.)

So, with the fall migration in full swing, things have really been hopping on the birdcam. After a long summer with only the usual suspects to look at, new species are popping up seemingly every day.

Back on October 22 we got the Townsend’s Warbler, and then, on the evening of Saturday, October 27 at 5:02 p.m., avatar99 and annelizabeth combined for three more great shots of it. Here’s my favorite, by annelizabeth:

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That would have been exciting enough, but just 10 minutes prior to that, birdbrain and achadamaia snapped a total of six shots of what I’m inclined to think are two Yellow-rumped Warblers. So far all the shots are in disputed status, with none of them particularly close to an ID, but take a look at these three (which I think are the clearest of the bunch), and see what you think:

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These images make me think about an interesting aspect of bird-watching via the birdcam, versus doing it in real life. If this were real life, it would be easy to just watch these birds for a few minutes, waiting to see the telltale flash of that yellow rump, or to hear the characteristic Yellow-rumped “chip!” But with the birdcam, all we’ve got is what’s in the shot. Which is actually a good thing, some ways; I’ve definitely honed my ability to ID a House Finch based on an out-of-focus image of just its back, for example, with that characteristic pale edging on the feathers. But it can make things challenging in a situation like this. Like the Orange-crowned Warbler from October 26, we may just have to content ourselves with leaving these birds in “disputed.”

Continuing the theme of birds that are achingly close to being a new species, check out these three disputed shots by kryptonkay and avatar99 (there was also a fourth one by achadamaia, but I’m leaving it out because it’s pretty much identical to kryptonkay’s, only a bit fuzzier). The first shot is from 4:26 p.m. on October 28; the other two are from 4:06 p.m. on October 29:

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I think what we’re looking at here is an immature White-crowned Sparrow. The pinkish/yellowish beak is what gives it away; the Golden-crowned’s beak is grayer. I’ve got a ton of these guys at my feeder in the backyard these days, and they sure look like this.

An interesting development is that some goats have been penned on the hillside behind Craig’s house; apparently they’re being used to clear out some of the underbrush in the Interior Greenbelt. Here’s a nice shot taken by none other than cnewmark himself:

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Update: More details on Craig’s blog: My pet goats.

Finally, I have to include this shot taken by spurdin. As vanilla pointed out in the comments, “perfect for Halloween!” 🙂

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3 Responses to “Warblers and Sparrows and Goats, Oh My!”

  1. robin55 says:

    Congratulations everyone for you sharp eyes and quick fingers ! I started birding as a teenager in the 70’s , in the last 20 years or so I haven’t done much field birding. The warblers looked so familiar! But I just couldn’t figure them out. Like I said in one of my comments , I don’t know what they are , but I know what they are not. When I saw your id elanus, I slapped my head and said of course ! I try not to should on myself, but I really should have known ! I would like to make an appeal to the other Cone birders, if you aren’t 100% certain, id the bird as “no bird” , that way you can click on the bird,see everyone’s id , do your reseach, and then make your id (you can delete your no bird id later). Let’s try to keep the disputed birds to a minimum.

  2. kryptonkay says:

    Thanks for the advice Robin and I’ll do that from now on. I just started bird watching this year so I have alot to learn about the differant species. I really enjoy it and thank all the experts for teaching me about it. I like those goats too , they are fun to watch. Sometime they start fighting just like the birds over food.

  3. That is any excellent idea. Sometimes I get so excited that I make an incorrect guess. I am new to this and started birding because of this site. So please bear with me.

    Today would be a great day for birding because it is gorgeous in Texas right now, but I am stuck at work so I will have to bird online.


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