Archive for the ‘Non-bird Shots’ Category

American Alligator! No, Really.

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

I was lounging in bed on my vacation in the mountains this morning, and thought I’d check my email with my phone. And there was a message from CONE user vanilla:

Subject: American Alligator

Is on CONE right now

And I thought, really? So I ran and got on my computer to see, and sure enough, we have alligator!

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It looks like rafa got the first shot, but the little guy (or gal) has been real cooperative all day, such that everyone’s been able to get good shots of it. The shot above, which is probably my favorite so far, was taken by idbirds.

Dr. Glasscock said in chat that it appears to be about three feet long, and she guesses it’s about two years old.

rafa posted this cool video of it at

Clearly, I need to spend more time on the CONE Welder camera. Exciting things are happening!

Favorite Recent Photos

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I’ve been out of town for a while, and was being kind of neglectful of the blog before that while I focused on the dashboard, so a lot of interesting photos have stacked up without my mentioning them here. I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of the highlights from the last few weeks.

The Red-winged Blackbirds have been hanging around in their big winter flocks; it makes for a quick emptying of the feeders. As loughman1 and Dr. Glasscock’s correspondence indicates, the lack of personnel at Welder has meant that feeders sometimes take a while to be refilled.

This shot, taken by idbirds early on February 17, doesn’t have as many blackbirds in it as some shots I’ve seen, but it’s a really neat action photo:

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On February 21, Zhang Yan was doing some work on the camera in connection with the conetester robot, in the course of which we temporarily got some views that we’re normally prevented from seeing by the game’s limits on movement. You can click through to the dashboard page to see some more (I’m now linking to the dashboard from the photos I post here), but here are a few interesting ones.

This shot of the area beyond the storage bin was taken by ottavia:

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This closeup of the pole the camera is mounted on was also taken by ottavia:

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Later on February 21, rafa got this shot of a bag of sunflower seeds:

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The Blue Jay on the package was potentially identifiable in the game’s species list, and I added an ID for it, but apparently too many users were of a less-whimsical frame of mind, so “No Classifiable Species” won out in the ID. It made me chuckle, though, and reminded me of the Bald Eagle ID we temporarily had with CONE Sutro.

The following amazing sequence of a Cooper’s Hawk was photographed on February 23 by vanilla, vanilla, and robin54 (respectively):

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This cool shot of a ladybird beetle on the camera’s housing was taken by rafa on February 24:

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With all the Red-winged Blackbirds we’ve had lately, users have been getting really neat shots of the males flashing their epaulettes at each other. Here’s a shot that achadamaia took on February 25:

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This pensive shot by rafa of a male Brown-headed Cowbird has a certain classical composition that I really like. The site’s users apparently agreed; it got 36 favorites points, making it the top shot of the day for February 28:

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rafa’s cowbird shot got just one favorite point more than this shot by budgieface, one of several that showed not one, but two Great Kiskadees on the fountain. Given CONE Welder’s focus on documenting breeding-range changes by species like the kiskadee, it’s pretty exciting to see these shots. Is this pair of birds an actual pair? I’m looking forward to seeing if they show up together again in the future.

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Overall, a really great batch of photos. Congratulations to everyone who took them!

(More) Butterflies!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

loughman1 reminded me today that I wanted to post an item on butterflies. I’ve been trying to learn more about insects lately, so I appreciate the chance to gather together some of my favorite CONE Welder butterfly shots.

To make things more fun (and because I’m a total butterfly newbie), I’m just going to post them without IDs. Some of them have IDs recorded on the Welder search page if you click on the image; others don’t. If you know your butterflies, feel free to ID them in the comments.

#1 – I think these are all the same species, but I’m not positive. Whatever these guys are, we see them a lot:

vanilla took this on October 8:

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kryptonkay took this on October 8:

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birdbrain on October 8:

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robin54 on October 12:

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tinyang on October 13:

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leacox on October 13:

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vanilla on October 14:

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txbird on October 19:

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loughman1 on October 20:

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eyes23blue on October 21:

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#2 – This shot’s a little blurry, but maybe someone is expert enough to ID it anyway? rafa took this shot back on August 4:

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#3: – I’m not sure if this is the same species as #2, or a different species. What do you think? vanilla took this shot on October 21:

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#4 – I’m going for the yellow ones here. txbird took this shot on September 19:

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#5 – Here’s a real beauty. loughman1 took this shot on October 7:

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Finally, I know it’s not a butterfly, but this shot of a praying mantis taken by ottavia on October 5 is too cool not to include:

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Bugs are almost as much fun as birds. 🙂

The Latest from Craig’s Deck

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I think this is just about the cutest shot ever:

Some Noteworthy Recent Shots

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Here are some of my favorite shots from the last few days:

birdbrain got this great shot of a snake (a diamondback rattlesnake, maybe? any herpetology experts want to chime in?) back on July 30:

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After a long dry spell, several users have taken photos of Wild Turkeys lately, including this shot with two turkeys by kryptonkay on July 31:

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Today (actually, yesterday now; August 1), tinyang got this shot of a bird that’s a real mystery for me. I’m really not sure what to make of it. An Inca Dove in an unusual body position, maybe? Are those white feathers on the tail?

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Several photos were taken yesterday of a female Cardinal feeding a begging Bronzed Cowbird, including this great shot by rafa:

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I didn’t realize that Bronzed Cowbirds were nest parasites, just like Brown-headed Cowbirds, but according to Wikipedia, all cowbirds are nest parasites. So it looks like this is a shot of a fledgling begging for food from its adoptive mother.

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.


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!

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.


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

Cutest. Shots. Ever.

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Remember the pregnant white-tail doe we’ve been watching since the camera went live? I don’t think she’s pregnant any more. Check out these shots taken this morning by birdbrain and rafa:

birdbrain wrote in the comment accompanying that first photo:

Bambi happily exploring the area (no parents visible) … running and hiding in tall clumps of grass from time to time…. A natural instinct for survival. Absolutely amazing!!