The Pumaman

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About The Pumaman

  • Rank
    Too many nemeses to count
  • Birthday 09/15/99

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Eastern Massachusetts
  • Interests
    Birds, birding, birdwatching

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  1. Swamp Sparrow. EDIT: ninja'd
  2. I agree that this is a bird.
  3. Judging by how straight the bill base is, why would it be a hybrid? It looks good for a normal Ross's to me.
  4. Correct - Carolina Chickadee.
  5. Just as a note about songs in chickadees - they're not all that reliable in the areas where Carolina and Black-capped overlap and St. Louis I'm pretty sure is in that zone. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I'll let this paragraph from sibleyguides.com speak for itself: "Laboratory experiments by Donald Kroodsma (Smith 1991) have shown that the song is learned, not innate, and field observations show that chickadees in the contact zone respond to playback of recorded songs of both species (Merritt 1978). Many individuals in and near the contact zone sing typical songs of both species, or sing the wrong song or abnormal songs (Merritt 1978; Wade Wander pers. comm.. Frank Gill pers. comm., Curry). For example, at a study site in Pennsylvania all birds sing Black-capped songs, and about 60% of those same birds also sing Carolina songs, even though genetic tests indicate all of these birds are hybrids and Carolinas (Curry). Thus, contrary to many published reports, song is of little value for identification within the contact zone, since a young chickadee there has the opportunity to learn both songs, or to incorporate elements of both songs into a “hybrid” song."
  6. Only the chosen immortals can know.
  7. Pretty sure Short-billed is a review species in AZ although there was one I think in that location last fall.
  8. Curious - what location exactly were these taken at?
  9. If 3 were a Vermilion we should be seeing a slightly stockier, shorter-tailed bird, as well as at least some white in the face. But agreed that more photos couldn't hurt.
  10. Trip report officially up:
  11. Oh and there's one more thing about New Mexico you need to know - it's terrible at coming up with slogans.
  12. Trip Summary Species seen: 113 Yearbirds: 76 (which basically means that over two-thirds of species I saw were new for the year) Lifers: 39; in the order I remember them in they were: Bernalillo County species: 72 Valencia County species: 7 Socorro County species: 86 Best bird: oh gosh I don't even know... the Scaled Quail were very hit or miss and I sure did not expect to have multiple pairs run by in the open; the eleventh-hour Sagebrush Sparrow was a great bird and a fun ID process; the Green-tailed Towhee was pretty cool both in its luck and its cooperation (albeit in the shade); the Williamson's Sapsucker was completely unexpected and was a stunning male... I doubt I could pick one out of those as "the best." Most memorable bird: Ross's & Snow Geese flock of 200 flying low over our heads Biggest miss: I hoped we'd run across a Ring-necked Pheasant at some point or get a raven to call and turn out to be a Chihuahuan... almost certainly we had Chihuahuan Ravens but we never got a good enough view or one to call. Red Crossbills and Cassin's Finches were targets but not many reports this year so not really a miss either. There's also Chestnut-collared Longspurs on the road into Water Canyon but they weren't there so I guess that's a bit of a miss, but since I never expected to be at Water Canyon to begin with it shouldn't really count either. Same goes for the Golden Eagles nesting on the cliffs at the canyon. Overall analysis: before the trip, I expected somewhere around 30 lifers to get to right around 400; if I did extremely well and cleaned house I'd get 35. After the first couple days I seemed well on the path to getting 35 - I nailed every desert target I needed to in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning and with Raymond on tap for Thursday the future was bright. Raymond blew away all prior expectations as he not only got nearly every Bosque del Apache target, but got them so quickly that we could search elsewhere in Socorro for the ones we missed and also had time to head up Water Canyon, which opened up a host of new species like Violet-green Swallow, Acorn Woodpecker, and White-throated Swift. If I'd not emailed Raymond and went to Socorro County on my own, I probably would've gotten like 10 lifers and spent most if not all the day at the refuge. With Raymond, I knocked out 21 lifers in one day and only needed to be at Bosque for a few hours. By Friday, we'd seen so much that I only got 6 new species for the trip - the 6 lifers of the day. And Raymond once again came in clutch with the Mountain Bluebird assistance. If you ever find yourself in Albuquerque and want to bird there I'd highly, highly recommend contacting him for knowledge if nothing else; he may be moving out of the area in the near future but it's always worth a shot. Oh yeah, the college visit was productive too.
  13. 1. White-winged Dove 2. Townsend's Solitaire 3. Say's Phoebe 4-6. House Finches 7. Dark-eyed Junco - I think the Gray-headed subspecies 8. House Finch
  14. Day 5: Friday, March 10 (cont'd) We turned left out of the area and continued driving up the mountain, enjoying fantastic views and also losing count of the number of switchbacks the road has. Eventually, we hit the 10,000-feet mark, and soon after we drove by the 10K North trailhead, where a Western Bluebird was hanging out - a seemingly high elevation for the species that Raymond said bred almost exclusively in the foothills. Eventually, we reached the Sandia Crest House, famed for its feeders that attract all 3 rosy finch species in winter. Though it was now March, many and maybe even most of the finches still seemed to be around. They come irregularly - about every hour to hour and a half or so - and there was nothing on the feeders when we arrived just after noon. In the meantime, we enjoyed the fabulous view of Albuquerque from the feeder deck: (I think you can faintly see the mountain that is also home to Water Canyon from here - on the left you have a fairly visible mountain, then behind that there's a fainter one, and that I'm pretty sure is the same place we birded the day before with Water Canyon.) As it was both windy and cold at this elevation, we headed back inside to await the rosy finch arrival. I looked out the windows on the other side of the crest house to see feeders with plenty of juncos from three subspecies - Oregon, Pink-sided, and Gray-headed - as well as a Mountain Chickadee or two and a Red-breasted Nuthatch. Finally, at around 12:45, my mother calls me over as a flock of rosy finches flies up to the feeder area. It wasn't hard for me to tear myself away from junco subspecies to the rosy finches. Sure enough, they descend upon the feeders in a feeding frenzy. Quickly I'm able to see all three species - Gray-crowned, Brown-capped, and Black Rosy-Finches are all there. A couple of the coastal Gray-crowned subspecies, Hepburn's, are also present. I'm kinda glad that none of these were 400 as it'd be impossible to figure out which species I saw and IDed first. Unfortunately, my camera settings had somehow been bumped to give my camera a 10-second delay in taking photos. The rosy finches are gone within just a couple minutes, so by the time I figure out my settings only one Brown-capped remains - why he stayed I don't know but despite having to shoot through the window and him being in the shade I still took photos of it. Satisfied at this point, my mother and I are more or less ready to leave but I decide to get some lunch from the restaurant. As I'm eating a visiting birder from Scotland arrives and we start talking about all sorts of bird-related things (plus give him a recommendation for BRANT tours because we liked Raymond so much and he founded the company after all) and we decide to stay longer. Finally at around 1:40 the rosy finch flock arrives again, although it didn't seem quite as large as the previous one but nonetheless still had all three species. The Steller's Jays around seem to be annoying the finches as the finches do not like the jay's presence but the finches stick around anyway. One Black Rosy-Finch hung around more than the rest of the flock: The only reason I take a photo of a Steller's Jay is so if I ever decide to start a photographed life list I already have it: Also around this time a large group of 10 or so Common Ravens make a flyby past the house. With both us and the visiting birder satisfied, my mother and I figure there's not much of a point to hanging around longer so bid farewell to the visiting birder and the rosy finches. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35092854 With that, we began the descent towards denser air and the end of birding was nigh. However, there was one last notable sighting: a Turkey Vulture soaring in the lower elevations of the mountains; apparently this is early for them or something as it was flagged on eBird. We did a couple other miscellaneous things the rest of the day but none involved birding and the flight back to Boston left before dawn on Saturday. That concludes the official report; trip summary will be forthcoming.
  15. Day 5: Friday, March 10 (cont'd) We turned west and after a few miles of seeing Say's Phoebes and scrub-jays we began the long, winding ascent up towards Sandia Crest. We didn't get too far before we reached the spot Raymond recommended for Pygmy Nuthatch: Doc Long. Upon parking, we had to do another of these self-pay things that took more time than it should have - but at least once I did that I could go anywhere in the mountains the rest of the day. The ponderosa forest here was lovely, and the nasal honking of a Red-breasted Nuthatch was a good sign as I exited the car. Not far from the parking lot around the closest couple of camping sites seemed to be a good bit of activity, so that was the first stop here. We encountered a bunch of Dark-eyed Juncos of the Gray-headed race, I believe the first of that race for the trip. One posed nicely for a couple seconds: There were also several White-breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees around, the first time seeing the latter. With White- and Red-breasted in hand, all we needed now to complete the NM nuthatch sweep was Pygmy, and after a bit I heard one and saw it fly out from high up. We began to move on away from the road and parking lot but heard a bunch of commotion from both nuthatches and chickadees and walked back to figure out what was going on. Eventually, we got good looks at the Pygmies in the area - though none stayed around long enough for photos. The only nuthatch photoed here was this super backlit Red-breasted that not even editing could really save: Since Pygmy was the main target here and the only other potential lifer was Red-naped Sapsucker which seemed a long shot and wasn't even really a target, we left the picnic area and continued onwards. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35092812