Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bird Quiz

My time off from work has flown by. I am shocked to realize I've been off for over a week. It's been a wonderful time and I feel quite rested even though I'm suffering from a cold, still. Today I'm driving up to Mooresville to have lunch with Jean. She's an American Idol buddy of mine and also a secretary at Michael's office. I think we'll allow Michael to bring a friend for lunch, too, especially if he agrees to pick up the tab! Jean saw "Dreamgirls" the other day and has much to tell me about it.

Yesterday I ventured to the mall to return a few things for Michael. It wasn't as crowded as I expected and I was able to leisurely browse around. After seeing Christmas displays in the stores for over a month, they are very quickly disappearing, only two days after Christmas. Spring fashions are at the forefront now.

In the afternoon, I took some time to play with my new camera.

These cardinals and juncoes were waiting for me to put those pesky dogs inside the house!

I couldn't resist this one. I'm having trouble centering my subjects with full optical and digital zoom working.

I haven't taken enough time to look this one up, but my first guess is a Song Sparrow or could it be a Carolina Wren?

It's not a good photo but might this be a Purple Finch? Will somebody please help me? I know, I know. I'll spend more time studying.

This last photo was taken just before sunset and I had trouble letting light in. I like it anyway.

There are so many different birds out there and it's very frustrating to see one fly by your face and perch ten feet away from you, especially when your camera is parked on the kitchen counter.


Anonymous said...

Mary, I wish there was some way to have a camera on my face at all times, so when I blink it would take a photo of what I see *at* *that* moment. I miss so many photo ops because the camera is somewhere else and nature doesn't stop for me!

LauraHinNJ said...

I wish the time at work went half as fast as the time on vacation.

On to your bird quiz - most certainly not a Carolina Wren - song sparrow sounds good from your pic.

I'd think House finch on the second pic. I haven't seen many purples, but their color is very raspberry and unlike anything else.

Bird books help, but can be so frustrating until you learn enough to tell the common birds apart and be able to see all the field marks the books talk about!

The best way to learn, I think, is to have a friend standing beside you to help you along.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation and the feeder birds!

Susan Gets Native said...

I agree with Laura: Song sparrow and house finch. House finches are interesting in that they are not actually native to the eastern side of the U.S. They were caged and sold as "Hollywood" finches and were released or escaped in the east. They have done very well, and they have moved so far across the country, their range now touches the original range in the west.
When you see a Carolina wren, you will know it. Orangy brown, with a dramatic white stripe above the eye. And of course that cocky little wren-tail sticking up. They are good to have around because they eat spiders.
Purple finches are definitely more "raspberry" colored. If you see one, you better get a picture of it to share with us!

Jayne said...

Mary, I have pics of some Carolina wrens on my blog entry today. They are amusing little birds. I've never seen a purple finch, so like Susan said, if you see one, GRAB the camera! House finches are the abundant ones. Glad you enjoyed your time off, and wish it could have been longer for you. BTW, I love the Stokes field guides and keep on on my kitchen table with my binos.

Anonymous said...

I find the easiest way to tell the Purple/House finches apart is by the females. They have some facial markings that are different and that makes it easier. I have seen both at my feeders.

I find that looking at pictures of birds on the internet can help me when I don't have that friend over my shoulder! :)

Glad you are starting to get into birds, Mary! It's fun! But, having that camera handy is SO helpful!

Mary said...

Thanks so much everyone! You are all great. I'm having a lot of fun (having a decent camera) and plan to take it to work with me, too, and hopefully get the bluebirds I see every day. The only guide I have right now is BOTB's Bird Watching for Dummies and it's loaded with info but I need more illustrations. I'm going to Wild Birds Unlimited this weekend and pick up a guide. Finding the time to research is challenging right now as I have three dog chins on my lap :)

LauraHinNJ said...

A good place to start might be with a smaller guide for beginners - to narrow down the number of birds you have to sort through. Stokes' makes nice beginner's guides, but I'm not sure of how nice the one for birds is.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I know this was a post from last fall but I am just now getting to read all of your past posts. You have a female Grosbeak!
I thought you might like to look back and see they were heading south and stopped in.
So glad I am getting to know you.