So my addiction continues, I did take a nice easy trot today. And again, I found some critters to see!
I’m pretty sure I saw one or two snow buntings in a few places along my trot, and on the return trip I saw a larger flock. I’m not sure when they put on their white plumage, so don’t expect to see a bunch of snow white birds with a few black accents, at least yet. Maybe I’ll still see them later if I still jog in the snow. Hm.
This time I did get a video of them flying, it’s not long or amazing but it’s still interesting to watch how they move within the flock.
And one of one of them that flew up and landed quite close to me…within 15 feet or so (I’m horrible at putting feet distance labels on things!). It and a buddy swooped swooshed over, landed, and then noticed me… and one flew away. This one must have thought “wellll, maybe she doesn’t see me, even though she’s facing me and round eye like things are looking at me… hm… maybe if I hold still ….”
I also saw something super cute and quick and furry scurry across the path, and into the grassy stuff along it’s edge. I was amazed to see it hadn’t zipped into a known hole, and had been stuck just hiding in the vegetation. I’m not sure if it’s a mouse (rodent) or a shrew (insectivore, I think), or a vole (related to moles I think… so insectivores?)…anyway. It was one of those small scurrying mammals that make ….easily freaked people shriek and jump up on chairs or whatever and then scream “A mouse (or rat if it’s big or they’re unobservant) KILL IT KILL IT” even when it’s just chillin’ on the ground not menacing them at all, and it might not even be a rodent, let alone a mouse!
I got a picture of it’s cute little tushy after it decided hiding close by wasn’t working, and it scurried for a more distant and probably better functioning hiding place. I thanked it for letting me see it. Ok, confession: I tend to thank critters that let me see them or picture them, or spiders for not like crawling on me if they’re close by, or (and especially) yellow jackets that just let me chill while I let them chill…like the one that scrutinized my face today while I chilled my foot after the jog (picture of foot later, not of the yellow jacket). I don’t know why but I am super proud of the picture of the critter’s tush (not that I’m obsessed with it’s tush, I just like how the picture turned out). I cropped the original photo (bottom right at current picture orientation, sorry if they get adjusted later) so it’s easier to spot the critter, and realized that’s actually what the photo was intended to capture (currently the upper right photo).
I also saw a bunch of junco’s. I’m sorry, my junco friends. I can’t remember what the current state of your species status it. There’s a bunch of different variations, and occasionally scientists decide they’re all one big bunch of species, or a group of a few species, or a bunch of different species…. like clay colored and dark eyed and oregon…. Anyway, I remember learning these as Dark-Eyed Juncos but that might not be the most scientifically accurate name right now. It’s a starting point for those of you who are interested in these birds. I usually see them in flocks when the seasons change from hot to cold or cold to hot, they’re grey with really obvious white lines along the outer edges (not tip) of their tails. They hop around on the ground and make old-school-esque video game noises to one another. They have light undersides, and darker tops. Here’s a picture, it’s not great, and you’ll have to zoom in. They’re one of those reassuring birds for me, it would be an odd fall or spring if I didn’t see them.
To see the junco (and maybe spot some of it’s pals in the grass and shrubs but I doubt they’ll be anywhere near in focus enough to be seen, or have enough contrast).
Here’s some really blurry pictures of a brown creeper. It’s a small bird, roughly (maybe a tad bigger than) the size of a golf ball if you exclude the tail and head, but not shaped like one. It fidgets its way up trees, tail downwards and head upwards (in contrast to nuthatches which fidget down trees, head down) and winkles little nummies out of the crevices. They’re brown (yep) and white and have white speckles. It’s REALLY REALLY hard to spot them ’cause they’re small and tree colored… which I suppose is the point.
I took this set of pictures (and the next set) from in the car while on the phone with Ryan, so I didn’t get to stalk the birds, but I also didn’t really freak them out ’cause I was in the car and the car was parked and nothing interesting had happened with the car in a long time.
In the above pictures, in addition to cropping some down so it’s easier to find the subject, I had to mess with the contrast, brightness, and color settings to make it easier to see the bird. It was a rather dreary day, so everything is grey, and the light from the sky behind the tree and bird make it hard to get any definition beyond silhouette. I also did so, to a much greater extent in terms of color, contrast, etc. adjustment.
I know I saw 3 tiny birds flitting around, darting from branch to branch, and occasionally darting out to flutter in place and grab something off the bottom of a leaf or other surface, then darting back to perch. They were tiny. They were overall grey, but seemed to have a white line along the cheek? I kept getting glimpses of what suggested a yellow line above the eye, but never got any great looks at them. They moved around in front of the car for a while, and then disappeared. I took a LOT of pictures, but because of their size, speed, and refusal to hold still, plus the general lighting and the fact that they probably would get eaten if they were easy to spot, I didn’t get any great pictures. Here’s what I have. I think they might be kinglets, possibly Golden-Crowned Kinglets.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse/shape/Chickadees is where I started looking for identification but it’s hazy ID based on quick flashes in my memory and a really blurry bunch of pictures!
I have seen other kinglets in the past. I never get good pictures, and I’m not sure what these are, but that’s what I suspect the little maniacs might have been. Here’s where I was looking at kinglets for ID: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crowned_Kinglet/id
Here’s a few pretty pictures from the recent past.
I didn’t actually wade, just chilled my feet a bit after the jog. It has been in the 30’s the previous day and it’s previous night, and we had snow for probably 30 something hours (not snowING, just snow on the ground especially in places shaded in the afternoon) until this morning, and it unexpectedly (compared to the weather forecast website I visited) warmed above the 30s into the 50’s but I’m not swimming at this time by myself in this weather. I’d like back-up 🙂
Later, I spotted a few skeins (it’s a flying V or V ish shape of geese, not just yarn!) of geese, which weren’t too unusual except for the 1 bird on one of the trailing tips of the V, it was stark white with big bold black markings on the wings, and I think I caught a glimpse of more black markings maybe on the head. I’m thinking maybe a snow goose? Or maybe a Ross’s Goose? https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snow_Goose/overview and the corresponding Ross’s Goose page suggest it was probably a whole flock (because they come in several color patterns, dark ones or light ones, called “morphs” which has always confused me… Why in the world do they call it a ‘morph’ if it doesn’t ‘morph’ from one to the other… it’s just that’s what it was born like and that’s what it stays like. Black morphs of grey squirrels don’t eventually become grey colored… Doesn’t work like that in geese either… there is breeding and non breeding plumage, but that different, a morph has a typical of each usually, I think. aaaannnyway…). Based on migration routes, I am going to tentatively guess I might have seen a snow goose or a bunch… I’m not sure if they “flock crash” with Canada Geese (Canada goose is a species name, Canadian goose is the goose’s nationality… so you could have a bunch of different species being Canadian if they lived there…). Reading through a bit of the page on the Snow Geese, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole flock was the same species, because you can get partially colored ones, and I think I did see a slightly mottly looking one before I lost sight of them… I was driving, so I really didn’t have a lot of head space and attention to spare, but a white goose in a V of dark geese is noticeable.
Thanks for visiting and hope you enjoyed a few of the pictures!
Oh, p.s. I formalized a personal decision today, I’ve wondered what my favorite color exactly is… I like blue… but deep blue? Or more like indigo? Or… bright blue? Or sapphire blue? … nope. My favorite color, if you make me choose is ‘water’ because it’s all of those blues at times, and sometimes it’s Caribbean greenish blue… or anything else. Don’t make me pick favorites or I’ll get crafty!