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:

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.

Starting a BGBY Year

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

I’ve decided to do a big year this year. More specifically I’ve decided to do a Big Green Big Year, in which one attempts to see as many birds as one can without the use of motorized conveyances. You can use a bicycle if you like, but I figure I have a better shot in the walking category, especially since my bicycle is still in pieces in my garage. I’m located more or less between a major regional park, an Audubon wildlife refuge, and a large university with a lot of green space. If I wanted to make a long hike of it, I could even reach the shore once or twice.

I’m starting a month late, since I didn’t move out here till February but I’m still doing pretty well. Limiting myself just to what I’ve seen and heard on foot from this location so far I have 63 species: