teaganwhite: “Point Pleasant, West Virginia”, gouache &…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


“Point Pleasant, West Virginia”, gouache & watercolor on paper.

In my pieces for VACVVM V1, I painted my own interpretation of well-known cryptids (animals or beings whose existence is disputed or rejected by biologists, but have been cataloged in the folkloric record through rumors, sightings, and anecdotal accounts).

This is my Mothman, a massive and allegedly supernatural winged creature with glowing red eyes seen around West Virginia in the 1960s; some have compared these reports to descriptions of a particularly large Night Heron.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173308515000.

itinsightus:“PURPLE” by Roy-Hancliff #251There are two…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


“PURPLE” by Roy-Hancliff


There are two hummingbird species that are common around Santa Barbara year-round: Anna’s and Allen’s. Each spring we get four more: Rufous, Black-chinned, Costa’s, and Calliope. I picked up the Rufous, Black-chinned, and Costa’s pretty quickly once migration started, but I couldn’t find a Calliope.

Today at lunchtime my birding friend Eric phoned me up. I get excited when I see his name on my phone because he doesn’t bother to call unless he’s got something good. “I’m looking at a Calliope Hummingbird on Santa Monica Creek.”

I grabbed my binoculars and was out the door, and five minutes later I was looking at the bird. Thanks, Eric!

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173302275991.

lifeinanrv:Least Bittern #250It’s nice that for this round…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


Least Bittern


It’s nice that for this round number I got such a spectacular bird. I’d never seen a Least Bittern before (never seen an American Bittern before; hitherto I’ve been completely bitternless).

A few days ago Will Knowlton found a Least Bittern skulking in the reeds at Lake Los Carneros, and since then a number of people have spent time looking for it, the lucky folk catching occasional glimpses of the super-shy, super-tiny heron. I’d tried a couple of times, but had struck out so far. Then, as I was watching this morning, I got a quick glimpse of the bird; it was hidden back in the reeds but I could make it out with the spotting scope. I wanted to share the view with the two birders standing next to me, but had to lower the telescope for them, and while I was doing that the bird disappeared into the reeds.

I felt good that I’d seen it, but it wasn’t the most satisfying view, and I felt bad about being unable to share it. So we kept looking, and a half hour or so later (after some other birders had also arrived), I was looking at some swallows that were flying by the reeds when suddenly I saw the bittern in my field of view, flying. I abandoned the swallow I was looking at and shouted excitedly to the other birders, and several of us were able to watch it as it flew for a few seconds before landing in the reeds and disappearing again.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173299247421.

northwestnaturalist: Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana)…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) Scolopacidae

Seal Rock State Park, OR
June 11, 2015
Robert Niese

This Tattler was certainly wandering! It’s breeding season for most shorebirds this time of year, but this lone Wandering Tattler is hundreds of miles away from its typical breeding grounds in NE Russia, Alaska, and NW Canada. What’cha doing here, buddy?


Reading the blog from Glenn Kincaid’s 2015 Santa Barbara County “Green Big Year” was a big part of what got me excited about keeping a county year list this year. Mine isn’t remotely green (I feel fairly conflicted about all the fossil fuel I’m burning), but reading Glenn’s account of the different species he was able to find and the places he found them made me want to do some of that. Glenn hadn’t been birding much in Santa Barbara County this year (he was traveling, I believe), but he’s back and entering eBird lists, and yesterday he reported two Wandering Tattlers from the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwater.

I headed out there this morning and walked to the sandspit at the end of the breakwater. There were lots of cool birds; loons and Black-crowned Night Herons and a huge flock of Elegant Terns. But no Wandering Tattlers. I was philosophical about it. They’d probably continued their wandering. No big deal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I turned around to walk back off the sandspit, and… there they were. Three of them. I know I say they’re all cool birds, but these ones were really cool. Nothing like an unambiguous shorebird, right there in front of you.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173297945671.

oceanodroma:A lil pollen dusted Yellow-rumped warbler in a…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


A lil pollen dusted Yellow-rumped warbler in a cherry tree eating all the little bugs he can find. 

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173293329731.

Western Wood-Peewee (Contopus sordidulus)Photo by Flickr user J….

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Western Wood-Peewee (Contopus sordidulus)

Photo by Flickr user J. N. Stuart


Hard to miss when they’re vocalizing, which this one was as I was walking along Refugio Road this morning. Another summer visitor added to the list. 😃

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173273270398.

philly-state-of-mind:Common Ground-DoveBellflower, CAJuly 10,…

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


Common Ground-Dove
Bellflower, CA
July 10, 2013
Taken with a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS


Uncommon and declining in Santa Barbara County. 😞

I know them from when I was a kid birdwatching in Florida, and have seen them a couple of times in Carp, but not recently.

So I set the alarm and headed up this morning to Farren Road on the other side of Santa Barbara, where a few have been seen lately in an avocado orchard. I didn’t see any, but heard two of them clearly enough to count.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173271685621.

peregrineskye: in memoriam–downy woodpecker, ?/?/??-4/13/18,…

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


in memoriam–downy woodpecker, ?/?/??-4/13/18, killed by window

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173260949396.

surfbirds:Elegant Terns (winter) (Santa Monica State…

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018


Elegant Terns (winter) (Santa Monica State Beach)


This afternoon I headed to Goleta Beach County Park, where some early Elegant Terns had been hanging out with Royals and Caspians. It was just what I needed to further my tern education: all three species hanging out together where I could study them in the spotting scope.

I’m definitely getting more comfortable with all three. 🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173215634516.

mostlythemarsh: Love is in the Air

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018


Love is in the Air

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173207229567.

debunkshy:White-crowned SparrowCalcasieu Parish, LA3-9-18 A…

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018


White-crowned Sparrow
Calcasieu Parish, LA

A week ago they were everywhere. Today I saw one (1) and felt lucky. Spring migration is about arrivals, but it’s also about departures.

Good luck in the tundra, little zebra-stripey brown jobs. I look forward to hearing the subsong from your new family members next winter.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173203545046.

boy-warbler:A recently arrived song sparrow from my walk along…

Saturday, April 21st, 2018


A recently arrived song sparrow from my walk along the Don River on Saturday. This sparrow was singing up a storm. (at Prince Edward Viaduct)

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173175292091.

Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii)Photo by Flickr user Amado…

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii)

Photo by Flickr user Amado Demesa


There are some decent-sized holes in my birding knowledge. As I was discussing in connection with terns yesterday, there are certain groups I’ve tended to avoid in the past as requiring too much work.

“Little olive jobs flitting in tree canopies” is one of them. Until recently I haven’t really put in the effort. As a result, until this morning I’d never (knowingly) seen a Cassin’s Vireo.

But with the year-list obsession I have no excuse. People started reporting them around here few weeks ago in eBird, and I started keeping my eyes open. And this morning I was successful! I was looking at migrants in the willows at the Greenwell Preserve; the sun had just come up and the trees were full of singing. At one point I thought I heard what sounded like the Cassin’s Vireo recordings I’d been listening to, but it didn’t repeat, and I gave up looking for the singer and went back to all the awesome Orange-crowned and Nashville Warblers. And then there it was, plain as day! Spectacles, gray head, wing bars… I even got a glimpse of the yellow edging on the secondaries.

A very stylish bird. 🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173130874996.

photosofsouthwestmt: Making WavesA Wilson’s phalarope I found…

Thursday, April 19th, 2018


Making Waves
A Wilson’s phalarope I found swimming in a flooded field, near the Bloody Dick Creek Road last spring.
Nikon D7100, Manual Mode, Tamron 150-600mm VC, F/6.3, ISO-400, ET 1/800, Focal Length  600mm, Hand Held Vibration Control on


One was reported yesterday at the Coal Oil Point “dune pond”, not far from Devereaux Slough, so after seeing the Caspian Terns I headed over to see if it was still there. It was!

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173106349960.

buddhabirds: Caspian Tern Traverse City, Michigan #243I’d been…

Thursday, April 19th, 2018


Caspian Tern

Traverse City, Michigan


I’d been seeing these for a few weeks, I’m pretty sure, but I hadn’t seen one well enough to be confident of the ID. Terns are one of those groups that I’ve tended to avoid in the past as “too hard”, which of course creates a self-fulfilling prophecy: not knowing the bird = avoiding the bird = not knowing the bird. I’m addressing it now, but I’ve needed an unambiguously close view to be sure of my identification.

Devereaux Slough is where they’d been reported most frequently lately, so this morning I got myself up before dawn and headed up there. There were a few tern fly-bys that seemed pretty good for Caspian, but not good enough for me to be sure. I’d resigned myself to going without them yet again when a group of four flew in and landed in the slough. They weren’t as close as I would have liked, but I got the spotting scope on them and cranked up the magnification and… yes! They had the dusky tip on the beak that was the feature I was looking for.

I present to you one of the worst photos ever of Caspian Tern:

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173105371736.

hiimlesphotos: The Eyes

Monday, April 16th, 2018


The Eyes

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/173000089616.

debunkshy:Yellow-rumped WarblerSt Marks NWR, FL2-18-18

Sunday, April 15th, 2018


Yellow-rumped Warbler
St Marks NWR, FL

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/172969453137.

birdsandbirds: Greater Sage-grouse lekking! Crowley Lake, Mono…

Sunday, April 15th, 2018


Greater Sage-grouse lekking!

Crowley Lake, Mono Basin

Lee Vining, CA

I saw them on this lek a couple of weeks ago! I was farther away (just off 395), so I didn’t have this nice a view. Thanks for sharing it!

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/172963591091.

renatagrieco: May 25, 2016 – Lawrence’s Goldfinch (Spinus…

Saturday, April 14th, 2018


May 25, 2016 – Lawrence’s Goldfinch (Spinus lawrencei)

These finches are found only in a small range from California through northwestern Mexico. Though migratory, they tend to move east and west instead of north and south. They eat mostly seeds, which they pick from plants while perching, along with some insects. Their cup-shaped nests are constructed from leaves, grass stems, and sometimes lichen. Females do all of the incubation, while males bring them food and both parents feed the chicks. Males’ songs sometimes mimic parts of the songs of other species.


Seeing these felt really special. We saw a bunch of them when we scouted Jameson Lake for the Christmas Count last fall, before the Thomas Fire. Then, when we went in on the rescheduled count day (January 5), there weren’t any. They’re considered “fire followers”, and in a couple of years we’ll hopefully have a lot of them because of the new growth that will appear, but so far this year I hadn’t had any unambiguous sightings of them.

I’d had a few ambiguous hearings, though. On my hike last week up the Franklin Trail I thought I heard them a couple of times, but never saw one. I didn’t feel comfortable listing them based only one what I’d heard; I’ll do that for a bird with which I’m very familiar, but for this bird, and especially for my county year list, I wasn’t willing to list it.

In the past week I thought I heard them a couple more times; once at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh and then again at the Carpinteria Bluffs, but each time I wasn’t able to see the bird.

Guy (our Sedgwick tour leader) to the rescue yet again! He pointed out their calls several times as we did the tour, and toward the end we got great views of a pair of them feeding on a grassy hillside. Such a beautiful bird.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/172945686935.

debunkshy: Chipping Sparrow, The Arb, WI, 5-3-17 #241I know…

Saturday, April 14th, 2018


Chipping Sparrow,

The Arb, WI, 5-3-17


I know Chipping Sparrows are considered common, but for whatever reason I’ve never become very familiar with them. I think it’s a combination of having always lived places where they’re not especially easy to find, and having been a fairly casual birder when it comes to certain “hard” groups (like sparrows).

No more. One of the things being list-obsessed has given me is new motivation to get out there and find all the species I can. I knew Chipping Sparrows had been seen at Sedgwick recently, so I asked Guy, our trip leader, where they’d seen them. Unfortunately it was in a place we weren’t going to visit during the public tour, so I reconciled myself to not getting them for my list today.

Hah! The universe came through again! (And so did Guy, who actually found the bird in a tree near the end of the tour and pointed it out.)

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/172944189501.