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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birds in the City: From the Eagle to the Hummingbird

The other day I chased after a report of a Eurasian green-winged teal (also known as the common teal) at a local city park. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't find it, because then I would have had to decide whether or not to count it as a separate species from the American green-winged teal on the year list, an issue that is still hotly debated. Even without the Eurasian teal sighting, I was amazed at how many different species were using the relatively small park right in the middle of the bustling suburbs. All in all I saw 21 species there, including eight species of waterfowl.

Probably the most surprising find for me was a bald eagle. I was able to locate it because it was being dive-bombed by an annoyed group of crows:

After a while the eagle had enough and took off:

I also got a nice look at a northern flicker. We get the red-shafted (as opposed to the yellow-shafted) variety here in the western US, so in the flight the underwings are red. You can tell this perched bird is a male red-shafted flicker because his moustache is red, whereas it would be black in the yellow-shafted variety:

In stark contrast to the large bald eagle seen earlier was this tiny Anna's hummingbird, also perched at the very top of a tree:

Sorry all the pictures are practically just silhouettes today - that gives you an idea of the dreary gray weather we've been having! No new year birds were added to the list during the visit to this city park, but yesterday a walk around the neighborhood did yield a couple chestnut-backed chickadees (70). It looks like there is a clearing in the weather forecasted for this weekend so the plan is to head to the coast, where I should definitely be able to boost the year count while conducting another beached bird survey. Don't worry - only the live species observed will be counted on the year list!


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika

Tick that Teal! (Gotta find it first) Over here the definitive list has ours and yours deffo split see



eileeninmd said...

Great birds, sorry your weather is so dreary. I hope it brightens up soon. Great birding day!

Monika said...

Thanks for that Dave - now I'm going to double my efforts to find that teal! Interesting how one side is leaning towards same species and the other side towards split.

Eileen - Well, there was sunshine yesterday for the trip to the beach, but back to rain, rain, rain today! Spring has got to be just around the corner, right?