Monday, January 4, 2010

Icterids






Happy 2010!  It's been a while since I have written my blog--the reason is I moved twice across the continent within 2 months: first, from Arizona to New Jersey; then from New Jersey to Vancouver (via Arizona!).  All  of this has meant no time for birding or blogging, especially given that I have had erratic internet access.
You can appreciate, then, how fitting I found the two birds above--spied on one of my too-rare days at home in Tucson.  In the foreground, the two female Red-winged Blackbirds represent a species that lives in all my recent state and provincial domiciles.  Though the female of this species often tricks birders into thinking they're seeing some type of sparrow, the sure-fire way to identify them is the thicker bill shape, the pale, obvious supercilium, and the call that sounds like a rubber band being pulled while the bird simultaneously flicks its tail.  Then of course there's the size, though I often find size a tricky thing to judge when I am looking through binoculars.
In the background is a Brewer's Blackbird, which is rather rare in New Jersey but, according to Keith Taylor's British Columbia BFG, a permanent and common resident in coastal BC (our latest home-away-from-home).  Identifying this one was a little trickier as the female bird doesn't have a particularly distinctive plumage.  But that is precisely what made me think of Brewer's Blackbird.  And the dark eye checked out, too. 
Looking forward to having some time to explore our new area; I'll definitely be learning new gull species!

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