Title Image

Title Image


This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We Suck at Birding

I gotta admit we suck at birding.  We spent a day arguing over a bird and trying to chase it down only to realize that it was two different birds and we were talking past each other the whole time. Maybe Mojave 2013 will require the presence of a real-life birder.

MacGillivray's Warbler, one of the birds in question

A couple of shots of a likely Crissal's Thrasher from a camera trap that was supposed to get ground squirrels, but only got this dang sunrise bird.

What's up?

Crissal's Thrasher?
Crop of above image: what looks like a light iris, white mustache, slightly more gray than brown.

Beauty of a morning

Thanks to Seagull Steve for suggesting the possibility of Crissal's, rather than LeConte's, but in no way hold him accountable if this is not a Crissal's. I sent him low-resolution images when getting his opinion and neglected to resend high-resolution images.

Occasionally, we were able to identify a few feathered friends.

Red-tailed Hawk in nest.

And yet there were still questions…

Gray Flycatcher? Migrating Hammond's? UPDATE: Or Neither Townsend's Solitaire

Cassin's or Western Kingbird. F! Update: Western it is

Because we suck at birding feel free to correct our IDs if needed. Birding by photography can be tough because you often don't have all the angles necessary to make a good ID later.

UPDATE: Some IDs fixed thanks to Seagull Steve in the comments


  1. Oh yeah, that looks very Crissaly now. The Gray Flycatcher is a Townsend's Solitaire, which are more common in higher elevations but not rare in the desert...Gray Flycatchers are quite small in comparison. The kingbird is a Western...it does kind of look like a Cassin's in the second photo, but you can still make out the diagnostic white outer tail feathers.

    1. Thanks man. The Townsend's Solitaire was seen around junipers heavy with berries so that makes sense too. Size was throwing me, but honestly we got stuck on fly-catchers and never left that corner of thought. Can add it to the pathetic Life-list though.

  2. Let's get ourselves a ranked birder next Mohave jam.

  3. As opposed to saying that we suck at birds, I much prefer to blame it on the birds themselves. I.e., if they would just stay still for a few moments, we might be able to get a good enough look (or photos) to sort their IDs. Sometimes they almost make you wanna re-adopt the old collection and IDing techniques (aka, the shotgun). ;)

    Gotta say though, that pic of the Solitaire is solid. Well done.