Tuesday, October 30, 2012

things with wings

So it's been a bit since my last post, for no other reason than I haven't found anything crippling, and the birds I have seen have been incredibly difficult to photograph.  The new camera bug caught up with me last week, but this broke ass x-ray tech would apparently rather throw money at booze, food, and Fun Fun Fun Fest tickets than upgrade to a new system. To be fair, an upgrade would be in the range of $1200 or so, and everyday my car creaks a little more, so I'm trying to be grown up about it; as grown up as someone who spends his free times looking at birds can be. 
Red-shouldered Hawk

Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
Anyways, that's all not to say that I haven't been out and about appreciating the end of fall migration.  Winter birds are starting to show up here, and I must have had a dozen or so FOS birds this past weekend: Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Pipits, Lincoln's Sparrows, and more House Wrens than I can count, which is funny because I didn't pick up my year HOWR until 3 weeks ago (I had them all through late December last year, but couldn't find one for the life of me in January).  
House Wren
Double-crested Cormorant
Northern Pintail
I did the monthly Hornsby Survey with Eric the Ornithoguru and had some nice birds, however, I missed an Ovenbird by about 2 seconds and couldn't relocate it.  I looked for a Red-naped Sapsucker at Little Webberville with no luck, and was eventually inclined to leave after two imposing rednecks stared intently at me for about 20 minutes while sipping Coors or Miller or some other abomination to alcohol.  I've been spending more time at Guerrero park where waders and raptors hang out around the river and passerines flit around in the trees among the homeless camps.  I picked up Ringed Kingfisher this weekend, a bird I had been looking for for some time.  Beautiful bird; loud, big, and powerful.  I love the kingfisher group; all three birds are so different from each other in appearance, but they're also so much alike.  And they're completely fucking gorgeous.  The same morning, I had a great opportunity to compare a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Cooper's Hawk in flight at the same time on different sides of the river.  Read all the books you want, but that was the best learning experience I've had with Accipiters.  And on the subject of raptors, I picked up my county Merlin while drinking a beer and eating chicken curry buns at Liberty with my heterosexual life partner, Caleb.  Good times.

Best shot my camera can get of Cooper's Hawk in flight
American Crow
Black Vulture
In addition the the avifauna I've been watching, I've seen a shitload of Lepidoptera in the last month.  I had a Leopard Moth at the house, and I've seen tons of Monarchs and Red Admirals, numerous Bordered Patches, a Viceroy, and yesterday, a Zebra Heliconian in the hospital courtyard on my way to surgery.  Seeing something cool at work feels that much better.  Yea!  Fuck you, work!  You can't keep me down!  (Please note that I don't actually hate my job.  Dramatic effect, duh.)

Slightly chewed upon Red Admiral
Viceroy aka "Not a Monarch" - look at that hindwing band