It’s been fun for me to get back into CONE Welder lately. I’ve been on vacation, so I’ve had more time for it, and maybe it’s the time of year and the drought bringing all this interesting stuff past the camera, or maybe it’s just always this interesting and I’ve been guilty of not noticing, but there really seems to be a lot happening at Welder lately. Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from the last few days.
I didn’t previously post this amazing photo that txbird got of the alligator snapping up something along the edge of the pond:
txbird’s shot is currently the top-rated photo of the alligator. It’s also in a six-way tie for the 14th-most-popular image since the game began (though I think it might place higher in the all-time rankings if people were using the ratings as much now as they used to).
I think this shot by judy10 also deserves a mention:
This is the last shot we got of the alligator, at 8:24 p.m. CONE time on that one very exciting Day of the Alligator.
There have been a number of other shots lately that, while they aren’t necessarily the clearest shots, are interesting as records of species that are rarities, at least in the game. Take this shot by birdbrain, taken August 5 at 5:20 p.m.:
It’s one of a series of four shots of a bird that was ID’d as house finch (at least it was in the other three shots, though not in this one, ironically, even though I think this might be the clearest shot of the four). A house finch isn’t much to get excited about in my backyard, or probably in most birders’ backyards; I believe it is the most commonly seen feeder bird in the country. But believe it or not, house finch is one of the rarest birds in CONE Welder; this is only the third date on which one has been photographed with the system.
A similarly rare bird, at least in CONE Welder terms, was the blue-gray gnatcatcher that user lynch was lucky enough to get two shots of back on August 9 at 5:15 a.m.:
Gnatcatchers have been photographed on only four occasions since the game began, and this is actually one of the best shots of the twitchy little species we’ve managed to get with the birdcam.
This shot of the common grackle that I got on August 10 is interesting to me not because the species is especially rare in CONE Welder, but because it’s rare at this time of year. Although we got lots of photos of this bird last winter, we’ve had few shots at any other time, as you can see if you look at the chart on the bottom of the bird’s species page in the Dashboard.
Besides rarities, some shots are interesting to me because of the behavior they depict. I liked this closeup I got of a white-tailed deer foraging for spilled feed (I assume) near the white feed-storage box on August 10:
Dr. Glasscock has talked about what a rough time deer are having during the current drought, and I felt for this deer as it struggled to find something to eat.
On a more-cheerful note, I really liked this shot eyes23blue got of two common ground-doves mating:
Common ground-doves are also something of a rarity in CONE Welder, making this action photo doubly impressive.
Rarities and interesting behaviors are fun, but really gorgeous shots hold a special place in my heart. This shot of the male painted bunting that rafa took on August 9 is a good example:
I also loved this shot of the scissor-tailed flycatcher’s beautiful salmon underwing that loughman1 took on August 10:
This shot by birdbrain of the female orchard oriole catching the rays of the setting sun on August 10 was my favorite of a whole series of shots that really took my breath away:
Finally, I want to thank the people who devote so much of their time and energy to making CONE Welder the fascinating window on nature that it is. I include in that category the people at the CONE project and at Welder who created the system, and the other users on the system who bring it to life. But I want especially to thank the people who make the journey out to the site to fill the feeders, clean the water features, mow the grass, and climb the ladder to give the camera housing a much-needed cleaning:
You guys (and gals) are my heroes.