Archive for April, 2009

Favorite Shots from the Last Few Days

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

There have been a lot of great birds, and great shots, lately. Here are some of my favorites.

I confess I’m getting rather blasé about buntings. Yes, the males are gorgeous, and I’ll always watch them if a get a chance, but human nature being what it is, after looking at 100 photos of them over the span of a few days I start to think, hm, I wonder if there are any blackbirds to look at… Still, even a cynic like me has to sit up and take notice when there are two spectacular bunting males, painted and indigo, feeding together. Here’s a shot loughman1 got early on the morning of April 16; rafa, vanilla, and budgieface were all lucky enough to get shots of the same pairing:

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User lynch got this neat shot of the white-winged dove showing off its field marks later on the morning of April 16:

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The rose-breasted grosbeak has put in a few appearances lately; here’s a shot taken the morning of April 17 by idbirds:

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User raven was one of several to get shots of this snake (which idbirds ID’d as a western diamondback in chat) hanging out under the feeders on the afternoon of April 17:

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achadamaia got this spectacular shot of a male red-winged blackbird flashing his epaulets the afternoon of April 17:

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rafa got this serenely beautiful shot of the male painted bunting on the morning of April 19:

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Several users got amazing shots of the red-shouldered hawk on April 19. Here’s one by budgieface:

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Here’s a neat closeup of the same bird’s bands (as well as the business end of its talons) by rafa:

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txbird got this cool, if slightly out of focus, shot of the hawk looking right at the camera:

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It was oriole day yesterday, April 20. Here’s a shot by birderbf of two male orioles (orchard on the left; Baltimore on the right) on the feeder at the same time:

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Here’s a nice shot of the orchard oriole; this was taken by eyes23blue:

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annelizabeth got this beautiful shot of the Baltimore oriole:

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krypotonkay got this shot in which the Baltimore oriole shows off the orange corners of his tail:

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All in all, I’d say it has been some of the most exciting times on the birdcam in a long time. Thanks to everyone who’s been taking the time to watch and get these fantastic photos!

Blue Birds of Happiness!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Wow! What an amazing day on the birdcam. Mourning doves, chipping sparrows, great-tailed grackle, bronzed cowbird… and all of them upstaged by not one, but two gorgeous blue birds, with one of them being a new species for the game.

vanilla got the fun started with this shot of the indigo bunting at 10:45 a.m.:

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She also got this lovely shot at 10:48:

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Notice, by the way, that indigo bunting field mark: the blue is darker on the head than on the rest of the body. That’s going to be important later on.

At 11:04, rafa got this shot of a blue bird feeding on the ground. Another shot of that gorgeous indigo bunting, right? Or is it?

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Here’s another shot by rafa 10 seconds later:

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We’ve zoomed in some, and have a better view of the head, which certainly seems to be a lighter, rather than a darker, shade than the rest of the body. And what about that beak? It’s on the large size for a bunting, don’t you think?

Now check out this shot taken by rafa five seconds later. That sure looks like a chestnut stripe on the bird’s wing:

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Finally, check out this shot, also by rafa:

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That’s no bunting beak. Ladies and gentleman, we have blue grosbeak!

The fun wasn’t over. Between 12:04 and 12:35, loughman1 and rafa got a great series of shots of a whole flock of indigo buntings feeding in the grass. Here’s a shot by loughman1:

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I love the way the bunting in the lower right is craning his neck to reach a tasty seed. Notice that we’ve got a female bunting on the righthand edge of the shot, too.

Here’s another cool shot by loughman1:

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I almost think that could be a grosbeak, rather than a bunting, at the upper left. It certainly looks like a different shade of blue than the male bunting hanging out next to that female at the bottom. But after examining it closely, I’m really not sure.

This shot, taken by budgieface at 12:53, is currently identified as blue grosbeak. I think the ID is probably wrong, though, and that this is actually an indigo bunting:

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Finally, I really love this shot of what I believe is the grosbeak, taken by rafa at 2:45:

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Does it look to you like it has something in its beak (besides its ginormous beak, I mean)? Nesting material, maybe?

Congratulations to everyone who participated, and congratulations to CONE Welder itself for getting its 75th species.

Update: Oops. I now realize that some shots were taken yesterday, April 14, of the blue grosbeak. So it wasn’t new today; it was new yesterday.

Back in Business

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The following was posted to the game’s login page on Thursday:

9 April, 2009: We’re pleased to announce that the wireless equipment problem at Welder has been resolved and the camera is back. We’d like to thanks Dezhen Song and his students for fixing the problem. We’d also like to thank all CONE Welder players for your patience and for your interest.

The system seems a little sluggish, but I’ll definitely take it. Thanks, Dr. Song and students!

Here’s a shot that budgieface took yesterday morning, showing the newly returned Buff-bellied Hummingbird:

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Woo! It’s Spring!

Cam Is Up and Down — With Indigo Bunting!

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

It was kind of an emotional roller coaster for CONE Welder users yesterday. loughman1 emailed in the morning that the camera was back up, if somewhat slow. A bunch of users got in and snapped some photos, until about 10:20 a.m. (PDT), when it stopped working again. Which wouldn’t have been very newsworthy, except that one of the species they got photos of was the Indigo Bunting, a bird that previously had been photographed only twice in the history of the game.

Here’s a shot taken by loughman1:

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Here’s a slightly later shot taken by txbird:

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Very cool! Now that we know the Indigo Bunting is around, let’s get that camera fully functional again, so we can get some more shots, maybe even one to rival this one, taken by rafa way back on May 3, 2008, and currently ranked #4 in the game’s all-time list of favorite photos:

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It occurs to me that we’re coming up on CONE Welder’s one-year anniversary. The earliest shot in the game was taken on April 18, 2008. Here it is:

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If you click through to that image in the dashboard, and start working your way forward in time, you can get a preview of the spring birds we can hope to see when the camera comes back fully, including this snazzy fellow:

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We took 43 photos of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak in April, 2008, another 27 in May, 2008, and not a single one since then. I think it’s high time we got another. Don’t you?