Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AOU 52nd Supplement

Although this is mostly a birding issue, I like to tag my photos with scientific names and common names. In this "splitting" climate for the records committees it can be quite consuming to keep up with things.

Witness the contents of the AOU 52nd supplement, readable at .

Modest changes are:
Split Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) from Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Split Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) from Kentish/Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Internal split in Mexican Jay makes it become (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

But the greatest mayhem is in the New World Warblers, where DNA evidence has led to a widespread rearrangement of the genera. While this is pretty much justified some people are going to have a hard time with the disappearance of Dendroica, for example, which turns into Setophaga. Hooded Warbler leaves Wilsonia and heads into Setophaga, Ovenbird breaks from the Waterthrushes (which become Parkesia) etc etc etc. That should only take a few tens of hours to sort out.....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And another....

The Dennisville saltmarsh Seaside Sparrows seem to be rather further along in nesting than the Great Bay Boulevard ones, at least judging by the number of adults bombing around the marsh and very few singing. This adult was not all that happy I was even in the parking lot, which is why it paused on a phragmites stem to check me out before heading off to the nest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Seaside Sparrow

Adult Seaside Sparrow, Great Bay Boulevard Wildlife Management Area, Tuckerton NJ. Of course there's no shortage of Seaside Sparrows in the coastal saltmarshes of NJ although they aren't always as cooperative as this individual which perched roadside for me. While not singing, I suspect it's a male since it's really on the males that perch up like this. With its gray and olive plumage and often bedraggled appearance it's a bird best appreciated in its subtlety.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Juvenile Barn Swallow getting fed

Being in the right place at the right time, I was watching this juv Barn Swallow when the parents started feeding it. This is one of the benefits of the 1D IV - this action is happening way too fast to time the shot (much less than 1 second for the entire exchange), so I put the ISO up to 400 and when the adult bird came in I just leaned on the shutter and let the 10 fps deal with the rest. After a little while I went on my way to avoid stressing the juvenile. It was quite capable of flight, since I saw it make a couple of its own loop flights before returning to another phragmites stalk.

Brigantine division of Forsythe NWR, Sunday, using the car as a blind on the auto tour route.

Friday, July 8, 2011

OR-WA trip: California Quail

California and Gambel's Quails have this strange compulsion to perch up on objects, possibly to survey their territory. This male was sitting roadside on some man-made object early in the morning in Wenas Valley (near Yakima, WA, on the eastern edge of the Cascades range). Not the most natural of perches but a fabulously ornate plumage with that head plume. Now if only Mountain Quail were as cooperative.....

LA-TX trip: Willet

An annoyed Willet (Eastern ssp) over the boardwalk at Sabine NWR in Louisiana. This was on a little side-trip prior to a work conference in New Orleans whose main focus was Bachman's Sparrow and Red-cockaded Woodpecker. The boardwalk passed through fairly typical marshland habitat for an Eastern Willet - it also held Seaside Sparrow - although by this point it's getting close to the edge of this Willet subspecies range. I didn't see a nest or juveniles although since these adults were hovering above me there's no doubt there were some nearby.

Late spring: Grasshopper Sparrow

Spring migration didn't produce an epic flood of photos, and I was between two trips (LA-TX, mainly work with a little birding; OR-WA, birding and photography) when I ventured out into Franklin Twp to check the grasslands. I found this male Grasshopper Sparrow perched up singing away - although not a tall shrub it was the tallest one in the field and this was obviously a frequent singing perch (see the whitewash) from which this male was singing for an extended period.