Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Still Fiend For Vague Runts, But I Can Actually Look At A Common Bird (And Enjoy It)

Hey buddies. Felonious Jive (The Great Ornithologist) and I have just not been good bloggers lately. We've hardly been birding, to be honest. Between work and raging super fucking hard various social obligations, life has been pretty eventful, but not in any avian sense. In fact, I've been birding so rarely of late that I can now actually look at a common bird and enjoy it. Like today I looked at avocets and was able to appreciate them, instead of wishing they were a different shorebird species that were more apt to have rarities associating with them. Of course I still fiend for Vague Runts, but in time, my urges will be sated, once again. Thank Christ that goddamned pipit is gone so I don't have to think about it anymore; the Brambling doesn't hurt nearly as much.

That said, let's start this post with a Vague Runt Tropical Kingbird. Tropical Kingbirds are not unusual in late fall up and down California, generally a low-level rarity along the coast, but we don't get tired of looking at them...especially when they are vomiting. Lake Merced, San Francisco, CA.

Did you think I was being cute or something? That UFO on the left side of the photo came out of the kingbird's mouth. Look how far away the kingbird was able to fling it! Talk about hurling.

This female Black-throated Blue Warbler spent some time at Mendoza Ranch on Point Reyes last month. I know this isn't really a crush, but bear with me...it was really dark under the canopy and my ISO was set at something like 50,000, so it's amazing that anything is visible at all.

Also amazing is how confiding members of this species can be. It always astounds me...for whatever reason, they just don't seem to give a fuck. A bird on the Dry Tortugas brushed me with it's wing. This bird was feeding at eye level, less than 3 feet from my face. If you want to suck someone into birding, arrange for them to have a meeting with a Black-throated Blue Warbler. They will be hopeless bird junkies after that.

I said I would give you common, so I'm going to give you common...here is a Common Raven having an aerial tangle with a Red-shouldered Hawk. Photographed at Lake Merced.

The same two birds. I would imagine that if you are any sort of bird of prey larger than a Sharp-shinned Hawk, you would hate ravens. They are relentless in their harassment of raptors, and apparently impossible to kill. Anyone ever see a bird of prey get a good whack at a raven?

Not common, but Tricolored Blackbirds are to be expected on outer Point Reyes. This male is showing off that long bill that can often be of great use in distinguishing them from Red-winged Blackbirds.

Here are a pair of female Tricoloreds, wallowing in shit. Don't feel bad for them, they love it!

Golden-crowned Sparrows are horrendously abundant this time of year, but they are still fun to encounter by eye and ear. Even though the bird is sitting on an "artificial perch", I'm kind of into how intensely brown this photo is. #Shadesofbrown is the new #Shadesofgray. Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland, CA.

Although I've met a number of Common Loons that seemed pretty fearless, I don't meet Red-throateds very often that lack their species' usual disdain for humanity. Photographed at Arrowhead Marsh.

Brown Pelicans are truly charismatic birds, being capable of both inspirational majesty and baffling clumsiness. I honestly think this is a species that nonbirders (with the exception of some fishermen) appreciate more than birders do, since they are huge, abundant, highly visible, and prefer to fly awesome routes in tasteful formations. Photographed at Arrowhead Marsh.

Raptors aside, I can't think of another bird in the bay area that is more fun to watch while they are feeding. Photographed at Arrowhead Marsh.


  1. Pelicans are phenomenal, like not even real birds but some sort of bullfrog wombat creature that found a magic lamp and asked for wings.

    The TRKI spewing powers are impressive; I had no idea. I have once seen a raptor getting the best of a Raven. It was above a dune outside of Florence, CO. The Hawk gutted the raven with one precise swipe-of the talon, and the raven plummeted from the sky with entrails streaming out of its belly. The eviscerated bird resembled a WWI plain spiraling earthward with smoke billowing from the tail. It hooked me in no small way on birding, as a matter of fact.

    1. Really? That's incredible. Red-tailed? Something else?

    2. Dull as dishwater Red-tail...more like Red Baron.

    3. The down side is that now I'm doubly disappointed whenever I see raptors acting like little bitches with corvids or Mockingbirds harassing them.

  2. Ah, the fairest lady of them all, the female Black-throated Blue...or at least she is IMO.

  3. Does the bean goose hurt? Eh? I'm a fan of the shades of brown, as well as the kingbird hurl.

    1. The goose hurts, certainly, but luckily it is outside my geographical scope of intense pain. It is the subject of one of my worst dips though, so I do have to get right with that bird someday.

  4. I like how TRBL heavy BB&B has been of late. Stoked I got that bird up there; although would've liked comparable crushes.