Spotted Towhee

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Black and orange pissed off bird
Spotted Towhee,
San Diego creek, Irvine, CA, 2008-03-19

Anyone Recognize This Hawk?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Spotted this unusual large hawk at San Joaquin yesterday round dusk:

Perched Buteo

From the shape, it’s almost certainly a Buteo. My best guess is Red-tailed Hawk, but it really didn’t feel right for that. It could have been some Western juvenile plumage I’m not used to, but it really gave the impression of being huge, even larger than a Red-tail. The other possibility is Ferruginous Hawk, which I’m not used to at all. Neither of those seems spot on though.

If it helps, the bird showed definite white on the head, when it turned:

Back in Brooklyn

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

For the weekend at least. I hopped a JetBlue flight over to visit my wife who’s in town for a few weeks on business and to talk to our accountant about last year’s taxes. This morning I had a little free time to hop over to Prospect Park and do some East Coast birding. As you can see, it’s still winter out here. The leaves have not started to come in yet on the deciduous trees.

Lake with bare trees on gray day

I did not find the Pine Warbler I was looking for, and I’m kicking myself that I missed the Northern Goshawk again; but I did add several birds to the year list, including one that’s only a rarity out West, Common Grackle:

American Black Ducks

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

2 Black Ducks in lake
American Black Duck, Anas rubripes
Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2008-03-16

West Coast Lady

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Brown, orange and white butterfly
West Coast Lady, Vanessa annabella
San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge, 2008-03-11

I saw this one as soon as I pulled into the parking lot after work. It was clearly a lady, but didn’t feel quite right for either Painted or American. I had to go home and check the field guide, and it did prove to be a uniquely west coast species.

White Pelicans

Friday, March 14th, 2008

I took another spin around San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge yesterday after work. I only had an hour before dark, but I still managed to add 4 species to my BGBY list including these White Pelicans:

2 White Pelicans, cormorants at dusk

These are the first pelicans I’ve seen this year. I’ve spent a couple of weeks in Santa Clara County this year, and they’re usually pretty easy to find up there this time of year, but for some reason they just didn’t seem to be around this year. Anyway, these were closer to home.