Archive for July, 2008

Yellow-billed Cuckoo!

Friday, July 11th, 2008

rafa got a single shot early this morning of what has been ID’d as a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Check it out:

Apparently the bird was moving around too fast for rafa to get a closer shot. Here’s a magnified version of the one shot we have:

Zoomed in like that, and checking the field guide (which I have to do, since it’s a bird I don’t know personally), I’d say there’s no question. I can barely make out the bird’s beak, extending to the left, and the dark marking around the bird’s left eye. The markings on the tail, and the overall shape and coloration, are perfect: It’s an adult Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Fits the Welder checklist and the Sibley range maps, too.

Great bird! Thanks for being alert on the dawn patrol, rafa!

Buntings and Owls and Frogs, Oh My!

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the last few days.

On the night of July 3, avatar99 got what I think is the best shot so far of the Barred Owl:

A number of us have been getting shots of frogs in the pond. Here’s a nice one taken on the Fourth of July by leacox:

Finally, this afternoon rafa got a couple of shots of the male Painted Bunting that I think are the best shots anyone has obtained of him with CONE Welder yet:

Those are pretty spectacular, but if you want some real Painted Bunting fireworks, check out these two shots that user Sabine on the Steve’s Digicams site uploaded back on July 1:

I really love the views we get with CONE Welder, but it sometimes takes a shot like these, or better yet, a trip out in the field with my binoculars (like the visit I paid this afternoon to the Carpinteria Bluffs, where I got to watch a Black Oystercatcher bathing in a tidepool), to remind me of how neat birds really look.

Female Painted Bunting?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

We were having fun this morning trying to figure out the following “mystery bird”. rafa got a shot at 6:10 a.m. in the dead tree (which really seems to be a magnet for great birds):

Later, it showed up several times on a particular plant just above the water fountain. At first I was thinking it might be a Myiarchus flycatcher. But when it came back and we got some good looks at it (including seeing it feeding on the plant’s seeds) I abandoned that idea pretty quickly.

Here are the two best shots I got (I kept a few others, too, and I haven’t seen yet what the other users got, since their shots are still embargoed):

I’m pretty comfortable calling this a female Painted Bunting. There’s a delicate beauty to the markings of female buntings that I really like. They’re not as showy as the males, but I like looking at them.

Update: Here are my favorites of the images other users got. anneelizabeth got this cute shot:

And birdbrain got this great action photo:

Ribbit!

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

I’ve wondered several times if we were going to get frogs in the pond. And now we have!

Here are shots by avatar99, avatar99, and vanilla, respectively, taken late yesterday and in the wee hours this morning:

Congratulations on a new species!

More Barred Owl Shots

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Several users on the late-night crew were rewarded last night with great images of the Barred Owl. Here’s my favorite, taken by achadamaia:

How could you not get excited about a shot like that?

Bewick’s Wren!

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I almost forgot: Yesterday kryptonkay got this shot, one of three from this bird’s appearance that have been ID’d as Bewick’s Wren:

Pretty snazzy!

A Sad Event… and Turkey Vultures

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Back on June 29 one of the CONE Welder users emailed me to report that a White-tailed Deer fawn had died, and players had been photographing its body with the camera. In her email she sounded upset, and wanted to know if I knew anyone’s phone number at Welder so they could be alerted to the situation.

I forwarded her email to Dr. Selma Glasscock. She replied shortly thereafter saying she would check it out, and mentioning that she doesn’t monitor the camera regularly. She also wrote the following:

One thing that ‘watchers’ should be aware of is that this is not a ‘park’ where animals are protected against nature. It is a wildlife refuge where nature happens. I wish there was some way to educate the public about the realities of nature.

I know I’m as guilty as the next person of anthropomorphizing the cute little “Bambis” that have been wandering around the camera the last month or so, and I’m sad to see that this one died. But I think Dr. Glasscock has a point, and I’m not sure it’s wrong of people to have photographed the dead fawn.

I didn’t see any of the images of this until after the fact, when I noticed that we had a new ID in the game: Turkey Vulture. Here are some of the images users took. I’ve taken the unusual (for me) step of putting some of these images (ones that include the dead fawn) “after the break” below; you’ll need to click through to see those images, if you want to. That way users who would prefer not to see them can avoid doing so.

Oh, but first, I wanted to post the following images that were taken this morning by vanilla:

So life at CONE Welder goes on, and while it’s certainly sad to be confronted by the reality of death, I remind myself that it’s part of the natural cycle that includes us all.

Anyway, here are some shots of the Turkey Vultures. The first is by avatar99, the second is by rafa:

Additional photos (including the dead fawn) after the jump, below.

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Orchard Oriole!

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

A really nice Orchard Oriole duo (an adult male and one of its offspring, an immature male, I assume) were photographed on July 1. Here are three shots by tinyang, txbird, and tinyang, respectively:

Great shots of a great bird!

Summer Tanager!

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Back on June 28, a bird that has been ID’d as a Summer Tanager showed up on the water fountain. Here are three shots by txbird:

It’s not an adult male, but it’s still a new bird for the game. I’ll take it. 🙂

Interesting Shots from the Last Few Days

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

So, I apologize (again) for being lax about posting updates lately.

Here are some interesting shots from the last few days. avatar99 got this great shot of a male Bronzed Cowbird doing his “fluff up and look menacing” behavior back on June 30:

There have been several appearances by the Great Kiskadee (which I still haven’t seen myself; I’ve gotta spend more time on the camera), including one that produced this very nice shot from loughman1 on June 30:

idbirds got this cool shot of a dragonfly on July 1:

redheadedwp got this really interesting (and a little bit off-putting) photo of a bunch of insects and a spider (I think?) on July 2:

I think what’s going on there is that we got one of those rare shots where the camera focuses extremely close, and we get to see what’s crawling around on the camera housing itself.

Finally, in case any of you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been spending most of my available after-work time working on my daughter’s and my entry in the Weepies’ “Hideaway” video contest. It’s not really relevant to CONE Welder, but it does have three different bird species in it. 🙂

Hideaway – John and Julia Callender