Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eurasian Wigeon Eyelid Exam, Rarish Flycatchers, and STORM WIGEON (reprise)

Snowy Plover, a male. Few other birds appear so fruit-shaped. Hollywood Beach, CA.

Let's face it...I am the product of Ventura County, CA. I'm still trying to figure out what that means. Some people call my hometown "Ventucky", which refers to the heavy white trash/bro factor that is hard to ignore. Some people think Ventura is a nice place. Some people think Ventura is a great place...which is wrong. Ventura County has good birding though, this I know.  I spent some time there last month, and these are some of the avian fruit that I managed to harvest. And let me tell you...I love harvesting avian fruit.

Snowy Plover, also a male, but not as sexed out. He's an old bird, give him a break. Alexis, here is your chosen one.  Hollywood Beach, CA.

My crushiest Red-throated Loon photo to date. It is also the crushiest photo of whatever fish species that happens to be.  Ventura Harbor, CA.

LETS KEEP THIS CRUSH TRAIN ROLLING!!!!  Eurasian Wigeon. Conejo Creek North Park, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Sibes typically are wary of cameras...after all, how many cameras do they encounter in Siberia? Most don't know how it feels to be crushed in this manner. This Eurasian Wigeon, pounded into the two-dimensional image you see here, will never be the same. 

Bah. Crushes. Lets face it, anyone can crush anything, just put a camera with a big fuck off lens in their hands. Whenever you show someone a crush, all you are saying is "Look at me. I saw X species of bird, and it was X feet away." That's pretty much it. Sure some photographers put a lot of time and effort into their crushing endeavors...but most don't. Do you want to know about the effort I put into crushing this wigeon? I walked right up to it, then knelt on the ground for a better angle. That was it. Crushing is easy, so easy. And now I know the color of a Eurasian Wigeon's eyelid.

My STORM WIGEON post is one of BB&B's most popular of all time.  These things must drive hunters fucking crazy, because I know it's not birders who are working up a sweat over them. So with that in mind, some of you will be really excited to know that lightening has struck twice...I found a second STORM WIGEON in the exact same place (literally, the same stretch of water) where I had found one the year before. Bubbling Springs, Port Hueneme, CA.

This STORM WIGEON is not as white and pristine as the bird from Y2K13, but I reckon it still counts. Compare this white-faced bird to your everyday normalwigeon below.

Typical. Very typical.

Self-found Vague Runts are the best Vague Runts, even if eBird does not flag them. This is the first Vermilion Flycatcher I've seen in the county away from the Mugu area. McGrath State Beach, CA.

Round Mountain Pond? No one birded this place back before I was #7....did it even exist? I finally birded it for the first time with Don Mastwell and Gareth Jones, where the highlight was this Tropical Kingbird. Don and Gareth (who are rapidly degenerating into depraved Ventura County listers) had been dipping on this bird for weeks, and had gotten pretty aggro about it. When it finally was where it was supposed to be, they were chuffed. This bird was ace. Brill. It was a blinding success. You get the picture. Round Mountain Pond, Camarillo, CA.

For whatever reason, California gets a number of Tropical Kingbirds wintering in the state every year. They are more common than Western Kingbirds in winter. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

California Thrasher...a mellow bird, despite the name. This is my first acceptable photo of one. Photographed at Round Mountain.

And now we have arrived at the inevitable Thayer's Gull portion of the blog post...I wish the lighting was more conducive to photographing these birds properly. Here is a bird from the dark end of the spectrum. Photographed at Bubbling Springs.

This bird, present in the same flock as the above bird, was drastically paler. Strikingly so, with a comparably faint tailband.  So although this is a perfectly good Thayer's Gull photo, I don't think it actually represents the bird very well. Does that make sense? Gulling is hard.

Same bird, still looking darker than it did in real life.  Oh well. You know what I didn't see last year? A Glaucous Gull. You know what I didn't see the year before that? A Glaucous Gull. I shouldn't even post another Thayer's until I see another Glaucous. I probably will...but I shouldn't. Right.


  1. Yes!! The chosen plover! :)
    And nice crushes!

  2. I was so excited about my kestrel-crushing from yesterday, but now I've read this and feel deflated. Don't be raining on my crush parade, bro.

  3. I think we saw the same birds Steve. I even spotted that Storm Wigeon remembering the one from Bubbling Springs last year or so. Did you get the Wood Ducks there too?

    1. No Wood Ducks (didn't know there were any), but we didn't walk down the canal very far.