Friday, October 30, 2009

Bonaparte's Gull #313

I observed a Bonaparte's Gull in about the same plumage as the photo above at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The seem to be moving through the region this time of year as they have also been reported at Dry Lakes in Nampa, Idaho.

Monday, October 12, 2009

White-throated Sparrow #312

Thanks to Lew Ulrey in Boise for letting me come over and see this infrequent to Idaho bird in his back yard. It was feeding along with the Juncos.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Northern Shrike #311

Photo by Terry Gray

While I was putting out more seed to lure in birds for the Big Sit! I saw this bird fly over head and I knew immediately it was different. It landed on a tall snag in the creek which gave me great views for several minutes...enough to make these notes and drawings. I'm still trying out that field-guide-less observation which is really tough, but probably for the betterment of my birding skills. When I got back to my office I went to my Sibley's and National Geographic field guides and I became afraid to admit what I think it was. So I sent my notes off to Idaho Birders Linked Electronically and they unanimously confirmed my observation. A Northern Shrike.

Sorry for the sloppy handwriting and awful drawing, but hey, my fingers were freezing. Here is the translation with post-note clarifications in parenthesis:

In flight dark/wht contrast pattern (on wings), Solitaire-like, Shrike-like, Big hook on bill, calls with kay-kay, About size of a Kestrel, head browner than body, Black line at eye level, slightly below - white at top/back of eye (the black arch I show on the drawing indicates boundary of white near the eye, not a dark mark on the bird), Black wings with white showing, Light tan/gray body, long tail white edges, faint wavy breast, other birds terrified of it, House Finch attacked it.

Other behavior notes - flew over head, perched on snag for several minutes, dove into large shrub after other birds, came back to perch for several minutes, dove into large shrub. I never saw it again.