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Old Dec 26, 2004, 8:46 AM   #11
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These are very nice shots. I've been thinking about getting a portable hunting blind myself. Looks like they can work out very well.

You are right that a geared head is not the best for animals. They are too slow. The best is a ball head. They come in a variety of sizes (and costs.) Bogen makes some that a friend uses and likes. One big difference is that he doesn't use such a large lens (he does landscapes and macro.) The bogen ball heads I've seen probably wouldn't support a 400mm well.

But on to the Bird! I'm basing my comments on The Sibley Guide to Birds.

I agree with Geoffs, I don't think this is a a Grey Vireo. There should be a touch of white infront of the eye and the wing bars are too prominant. And the color under the throat (best in #2) shouldn't be there. But that beak does look like a Vireo beak.

I wondered if it was a type of flycatcher, as they have beaks like that and can have wingbars. But I just scanned through them and didn't really find a match.

So I guess I can't help too much on what it is (I hate that.)

Either way, these are very nice shots. Well done.

Eric
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 10:00 AM   #12
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eric s wrote:
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I agree with Geoffs, I don't think this is a a Grey Vireo. There should be a touch of white infront of the eye and the wing bars are too prominant. And the color under the throat (best in #2) shouldn't be there. But that beak does look like a Vireo beak.

I wondered if it was a type of flycatcher, as they have beaks like that and can have wingbars. But I just scanned through them and didn't really find a match.
I couldn't find a good match for this bird either, Eric. It being winter can make things very confusing as birds' non-breeding season plumages often aren't well represented in the bird guides.

I'm not usually at a loss for NA bird id, but on this one I am. This is one for birdforum...
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 4:48 PM   #13
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eric s wrote:
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I agree with Geoffs, I don't think this is a a Grey Vireo. There should be a touch of white infront of the eye and the wing bars are too prominant. And the color under the throat (best in #2) shouldn't be there. But that beak does look like a Vireo beak.

I wondered if it was a type of flycatcher, as they have beaks like that and can have wingbars. But I just scanned through them and didn't really find a match.
Thanks Eric,

I have a real heavy Bogen tripod that I purchased at the same time as the geared head. Had to have something to support the Meade ETX-90 that I have. The set-up works great for that.

I saw some more of that bird at the feeders in the backyard today and there was also a lot of Yellow-Throated Vireos out there at the same time. Could itbe that this bird is possibly a female Y-T.:idea:.


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Old Dec 26, 2004, 4:54 PM   #14
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Houston, I just can't see this bird being a Y-T Vireo. There's not much sexual plumage variationin Y-T Vireos and that coupled with the complete lack of any yellow-tinged feathers or any spectacling around the eyes makes me want to believe this more a flycatcher than a vireo.

I' d love to have answer too. Why don't you go to birdforum.net and register and post this picture on their id forum. You'll get some very knowledgeable answers in a day or two.
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 7:46 PM   #15
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geoffs wrote:
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Houston, I just can't see this bird being a Y-T Vireo. There's not much sexual plumage variationin Y-T Vireos and that coupled with the complete lack of any yellow-tinged feathers or any spectacling around the eyes makes me want to believe this more a flycatcher than a vireo.

I' d love to have answer too. Why don't you go to birdforum.net and register and post this picture on their id forum. You'll get some very knowledgeable answers in a day or two.
Hi Geoffs

Me again. I've been going thru my book some more and now to me it looks more like a young Northern Mockingbird than anything else in there. I thought this at first but it was too small for a Mockingbird but, there are a lot of young birds out there today. There were two very large Mourning dove's and two very small young ones running around with them in the yard today. Could it possibly be. Would anyone agree on this. :?

I'll try the birdforum also. I want to post a few more that I took today also.

Houston

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Old Dec 26, 2004, 8:02 PM   #16
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Yes, I'll admit that Mockingbird did cross my mind but it is tough to get a sense of scale in this picture and when you mentioned vireo I just naturally assumed you were talking about a smaller bird. I need to be a little more skeptical from now on.

In the field the difference between a Mockingbird and a Vireo is unmistakeable. That is the problem with trying to id birds from a closeup pictures such as these - you lose all sense of scale and don't get the behavioral cues as you would watching them live.

If you believe that this bird was larger than a vireo now, then I will agree that this bird seems to best characterize a Northern Mockingbird.

One thing I have to expound on - you will not see passerines at this time of year that are wildly smaller than others of their species. By this time they will have grown to be an adult size even though their plumage may not yet be that of an adult's. Sure, there can be individual variation in the adult sizes but nothing so dissimilar as to cause a Mockingbird to be Vireo sized.
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 11:04 PM   #17
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I looked up Northern Mockingbird in Sibley's.

This is almost a dead ringer for one.
The only strike against it, and its explainable, is that the breast is described as "faint spots on breast held briefly; otherwise like the adult". There is just the faintest hint of spots on the upper breast (where it should be) but not as much as I'd expect in a full juve.

But that color on the throat, the white on the wing (including the splotch on the edge of the band) and the black legs that are long and spindly.

I've never seen a northern mockingbird, but at least from this book I'd say we have a winner.

Houston, I've got a pan-tilt head for my spotting scope, but I also have a ball head for my smaller lenses. There is nothing stopping you from having multiple heads for different purposes. Look into a ball head and I bet you'll be surprised by how easy they are for birds.

Eric
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 5:59 PM   #18
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Hello again everyone.:-)

I registered on birdforum.net and posted a couple of these pics there. Within 10 minutes I had 5 replys. All of them say it is definately a Northern Mockingbird and that size will be deceptive.

(Still looks too small for a mockingbird to me though)

Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to help me with this. I have a folder for Birds and have them sorted by names. Now (finally) I can move them into it.

Houston
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 6:23 PM   #19
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eric s wrote:
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I looked up Northern Mockingbird in Sibley's.

Houston, I've got a pan-tilt head for my spotting scope, but I also have a ball head for my smaller lenses. There is nothing stopping you from having multiple heads for different purposes. Look into a ball head and I bet you'll be surprised by how easy they are for birds.

Eric
Hi Eric, Look at my last post on this.

I will definately look into a ball head. Thanks
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 10:56 AM   #20
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Great shots Dad! I liked these a lot.. Looks like you've got more camera equipment to look into too. :-)
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