Wednesday, January 7, 2009

pic #5000

If I hadn't been lazy, I could lead this post with a nice pic of a barred owl.  Unfortunately, I didn't carry the scope into the stretch of conifers I decided to walk in Riverside park after I didn't last long along the beach.  Since the 2 birds I thought I could find, long-eared or saw-whet owl, do not generally flush unless discovered by corvids (as opposed to great-horned which always flushes except when being mobbed) I figured I could always come back on the off chance I found an owl.  I was surprised when the large shape that flew out turned out to be a barred owl when it landed in the nearby deciduous forest since I'd never heard one in the park despite a fair amount of owling there.

I spent a little bit of time driving the Scottdale plains, finding only a few kestrels, including this bird which didn't fly when I turned around.  Light conditions were pretty rough with a lot of "heat" waves in the gusting wind so I just blasted away hoping probability would eventually leave me a useable image.  Somewhere in that series my camera fired image #5000.  I shudder to think how much that would cost if it were on film...
I'm not completely sure of the age and sex of this bird, I still need to get the Pyle guide that covers the first half of birds (or the Wheeler hawk book).  Based on the Sibley illustration the head pattern would suggest that this is a male since he doesn't show as much blue on the crown or as much buffy on the nape in his depiction of an adult female.  The flank and wing coloration is female-type so perhaps this is a first-winter male.  I guess I'm going to have to stop at more kestrels...

Since I'm sick of having to post photos taken in the ever-present winter overcast, here's a late summer adult male from Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park about 2 years ago:

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