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One more ID, please, of a duck


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#1 cany

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:43 PM

I absolutely cannot ID this duck. I've tried everything. What I can say is that the duck is quite small (body wise) compared to a coot and half the size of a mallard!

I apologize for the pics, but this is the only camera available to me at the moment. Hopefully next month I will have my own new camera:)

http://farm9.staticf...15807ae16_b.jpg

And thank you.

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#2 BarnSwallow

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:46 PM

It's a ruddy duck.

#3 cany

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

TY. I looked and looked at the pics, both online and in books, and I couldn't match the bird I saw (I actually took my Sibley's with me today in the field... what a dweeb:). I kept going back to this duck, but the coloration was so different than that in the book or any I found on line I just wasn't certain.

I sure appreciate it!

Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

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#4 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:03 AM

It's looks to be a male in non-breeding plumage, if that helps you compare it!

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#5 cany

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:07 AM

It's looks to be a male in non-breeding plumage, if that helps you compare it!


It does help, and I considered that. What throws me is in the real world, this duck has a very chestnutty colored breast and chocolate brown back. At least that's what it looked like. Of course I looked at this duck so long through the binocs because he wouldn't get close (I let the current bring him to me... and stayed still) my eyes were rolling in my noggin. Thanks!

I was actually proud of myself... added another bunch of water birds to my list today (I'm just learning water birds). I'm skipping gulls for now. I have enough of a headache:)

Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#6 Bird Brain

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

Many (and I stress many!!!) times birds of all species just don't go by the book!! There are individual variations among all species, some more than others. Another big factor is the lighting when the photo was taken.
Very bright light can wash out colors, and afternoon light can enhance some colors such as yellow, tan, red, etc.
Another very important factor is the perception of the observer! Some people can look at a bird, or a photo of one, and see a reddish tint,whereas another observer standing right beside them may interpret it as tannish or orange tint.
I used to get very frustated when I first started trying to ID birds because, as in your case, some just didn't match anything in the darn book!! That's why it's important to look for other field marks, such as wing-bars, eye-lines, etc., when IDing a bird.
It gets easier with practice, believe me! There will always be some that don't fall neatly into any category, but with practice you'll be able to work most of them out yourself. As for the others..??.. do like I do often and rely on the experts here
on WhatBird to help with those! :)

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#7 cany

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:04 AM

Many (and I stress many!!!) times birds of all species just don't go by the book!! There are individual variations among all species, some more than others. Another big factor is the lighting when the photo was taken.
Very bright light can wash out colors, and afternoon light can enhance some colors such as yellow, tan, red, etc.
Another very important factor is the perception of the observer! Some people can look at a bird, or a photo of one, and see a reddish tint,whereas another observer standing right beside them may interpret it as tannish or orange tint.
I used to get very frustated when I first started trying to ID birds because, as in your case, some just didn't match anything in the darn book!! That's why it's important to look for other field marks, such as wing-bars, eye-lines, etc., when IDing a bird.
It gets easier with practice, believe me! There will always be some that don't fall neatly into any category, but with practice you'll be able to work most of them out yourself. As for the others..??.. do like I do often and rely on the experts here
on WhatBird to help with those! :)


I'm learning this:) I apparently also have difficulty in seeing black from extremely dark blue. I actually had someone ask me years ago why i always wore a black skirt with a dark blue sweater. Imagine MY surprise:) I had NO idea I couldn't differentiate those two dark colors well. Now I ask the clerk what color I am buying so I don't make that mistake:)

One of the reasons I lug Sibley's everywhere (and I mean everywhere) I go is because I am new at this, and at least it helps me ID in the field often which is particularly necessary given I don't have a camera right now. There's NO way I can remember so much information, and even great notes and pictures I draw often don't help.

But I see progress! What I found hard three weeks ago is largely a piece of cake now. Before I go down to Bolsa Chica or San Joaquin WR, I am learning as much as I can so I won't feel so overwhelmed.

I still have trouble with swifts and swallows. They are going to take me more time.

Thanks for the encouragement! I am enjoying the heck out of this and it's also getting me out more, all of which is great!

Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 


#8 cestma

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:16 AM

BTW, don't feel like a "dweeb" for taking a field guide with you. Frequently it is helpful, despite some conventional wisdom. And esp. when you don't have a camera, it's great to be able to compare your observations to the guide while they're as fresh as possible!
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#9 Lenapelee

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:27 AM

It does help, and I considered that. What throws me is in the real world, this duck has a very chestnutty colored breast and chocolate brown back. At least that's what it looked like. Of course I looked at this duck so long through the binocs because he wouldn't get close (I let the current bring him to me... and stayed still) my eyes were rolling in my noggin. Thanks!

I was actually proud of myself... added another bunch of water birds to my list today (I'm just learning water birds). I'm skipping gulls for now. I have enough of a headache:)

I'm with you on the gulls. I'm just concentrating on ducks for now, and maybe a few sparrows that's a lot to learn for now

#10 Pat B.

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:40 AM

I'm not surprised you couldn't ID the Ruddy from this photo. 1st, it's in non-breeding/basic plumage, which doesn't look at all like its quite snazzy breeding plumage so often pictured. 2nd, he's got that huge fieldmark-of-a-bill tucked in where you can't see it. The best field mark in your photo is that jaunty tail: this is why these are called "stiff-tails."

And, I commend you for noting that color is difficult (and not just for you). That's why it's best to study the shapes of birds and not get too distracted by colors. If a swimming Ruddy Duck was dipped in red paint it would still be ID-able because there just isn't any other duck of its size and shape.

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#11 cany

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:59 AM

I'm not surprised you couldn't ID the Ruddy from this photo. 1st, it's in non-breeding/basic plumage, which doesn't look at all like it's quite snazzy breeding plumage so often pictured. 2nd, he's got that huge fieldmark-of-a-bill tucked in where you can't see it. The best field mark in your photo is that jaunty tail: this is why these are called "stiff-tails."

And, I commend you for noting that color is difficult (and not just for you). That's why it's best to study the shape and birds and not get too distracted by colors. If a swimming Ruddy Duck was dipped in red paint it would still be ID-able because there just isn't any other duck of it's size and shape.


Oh thank you for writing that! I kept going back to the ruddy because of the tail. But you know, when first learning, you can make a lot of silly mistakes:) There's an art (and experience) in knowing what to key on, and I am learning that slowly but surely! Color often doesn't sit right with me so best I learn that early on.

Those of you with a lot of experience are so wonderful to have for help especially for folks like me that bird alone. It forces me, though, to think differently. I pay a lot more attention to what I see and hear now than ever before. And yes, yes, yes on size and shape! That is helping me a lot to group things together or eliminate a possibility. It doesn't always work, but mostly it seems to.

I thank you all for your help. It is invaluable and very much appreciated.

Life list: 351

24 to go

Most recent lifers: Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Palm Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Ancient Murrelet, Winter Wren 

 
This year's goal: Get life list to 375, see 315 different birds this year. 
 
Seen/heard: 289
To go: 26

 

My wee blog: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/

 





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