January 03, 2023

Genus Lacedo (Banded Kingfisher) Identification Guide

The Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella) is the only member of the genus Lacedo. In this guide, I will go over the identification, habitat, vocalizations, and range of this species.

The Banded Kingfisher (Laced pulchella) is 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) long. This species is sexually dimorphic, with the males being more colorful than the females. The male has a blue cap, and white belly. The male's face, cheeks, forehead, and nape are are chestnut; and the breast, flanks, and undertail coverts are rufous. The male's wings and tail are black-and-blue banded. The female is orange-brown above, with white underparts, white breast, and black barring all over the body. On some females, the orange-brown coloring extends onto the underparts and breast. Both sexes have a large, crimson bill, puffed-up head feathers, and a white throat. Occurs in lowland rainforests at elevations of up to 1,100 meters (about 3,609 feet). In Brunei, this species can be found at elevations of up to 1,700 meters (about 5,577 feet). Unlike other kingfishers, this species does not require a nearby pond or stream. Vocalizations: https://media.ebird.org/catalog?taxonCode=bankin1&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=audio. Range: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22726905/94935347. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=2685&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/bankin1.

Posted on January 03, 2023 05:48 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 01, 2023

Tricky Identifications: White-Tailed Deer vs. Mule Deer

Welcome back to Tricky Identifications, a journal series that highlights a few similar species and the differences between them. Today's entry will go over the differences between the White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and Mule Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Both species are distinguished from each other by their ears, tail, and, in males, antlers. In interior North America, Mule Deer typically have a thin, mostly white, black-tipped tail. White-Tailed Deer have thick tails that are dark above and white below, differentiating this species from Mule Deer. However in coastal Mule Deer (which have a similar tail to White-Tailed Deer), or when the tail is not visible, the ears can help determine the species, with Mule Deer having larger ears than White-Tailed Deer. In males, the antlers can also be helpful. Male White-Tailed Deer have antlers that consist of vertical tines (antler branches) branching off of one beam, while Mule Deer have tines that split in two as they grow.

Mule Deer: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/42220-Odocoileus-hemionus/browse_photos?photo_license=any&term_id=17&term_value_id=18

Mule Deer range map: https://muledeer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Mule-Deer_Ecoregions.jpg

White-Tailed Deer: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/42223-Odocoileus-virginianus/browse_photos?order_by=created_at&photo_license=any&term_id=17&term_value_id=18

White-Tailed Deer range map: https://nhpbs.org/wild/images/whitetaileddeermap.jpg

Posted on January 01, 2023 04:33 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Genus Sayornis (Phoebes) Identification Guide

The Genus Sayornis contains three species: the Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans), Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), and Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya). This guide will go over the identification, habitat, vocalizations, and range of each species.

The Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) is 6-7 inches (about 15-18 centimeters) long. This species has a mostly black body, with a white belly and white undertail coverts (the part of the underparts just before the tail). Juveniles are similar to adults, but have two cinnamon wing bars. Adults from Eastern Panama and South America are almost entirely dark, with white edges to the wing feathers. Like other phoebes, this species frequently pumps its tail up and down when perched. Often found near water, look for this species near lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. Can be found in urban areas, especially if water is nearby. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17013&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/blkpho.

The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is 5-7 inches (about 13-18 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 10-11 inches (about 25-28 centimeters). This species is brownish-gray above (darkest on the head, wings, and tail) with white underparts. On the breast there is a dusky wash, and freshly molted birds (usually in Fall) have a yellow belly. Similar to some species in the genera Contopus and Empidonax, all-dark bill, lack of wing bars, and lack of an eye ring distinguish this species from other non-phoebe flycatchers. Found in woodlands, farmlands, suburban, and urban areas. Often nests in bridges, houses, and barns. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observationsplace_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17008&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/easpho.

The Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) is 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) long. This species is grayish-brown above, with a lighter gray breast, black tail, peach undertail coverts, and a peach belly. Juveniles are similar to adults, but browner, and occasionally have a buffy wing bar. Similar at first glance to the Eastern Phoebe, but this species' peach belly distinguishes it from Eastern Phoebe. Found in dry, open areas, canyons, and cliffs. Perches on boulders, fences, and bushes. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Says_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Says_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17009&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/saypho.

Posted on January 01, 2023 12:06 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 30, 2022

Tricky Identifications: Eastern vs. Western Bluebird

Welcome back to Tricky Identifications, a journal series that highlights a few similar species and the differences between them. The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) and Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) are two similar North American species in the genus Sialia (bluebirds).

The Western and Eastern Bluebirds are often identifiable by range. However, where their range overlaps the two can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Both species have blue upperparts, pale flanks, pale bellies, and rufous breasts. The females of both species are grayer than the males. However, on Eastern bluebirds, the rufous extends onto the throat and onto the neck. Western bluebirds often have rufous scapulars (uppermost part of the wing), a rufous nape, and some rufous on the back.

Eastern Bluebird: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/12942-Sialia-sialis/browse_photos

Eastern Bluebird Range: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Bluebird/maps-range

Western Bluebird: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/12937-Sialia-mexicana/browse_photos?photo_license=any

Western Bluebird Range: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Bluebird/maps-range

Posted on December 30, 2022 10:52 PM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Genus Cyanocitta (Blue and Steller's Jays) Identification Guide

There are 2 species in the genus Cyanocitta, the Blue Jay (C. cristata) and the Steller's Jay (C. stelleri). Both species occur only in North America, with the Blue Jay being found East of the rocky mountains, and the Steller's Jay being found West of them. This guide will go over how to identify adults of both species, as well as each species' habitat, vocalizations, and range.

The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is about 9-12 inches (about 23-30 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of about 13-17 inches (about 33-43 centimeters). This species has pale underparts and blue upperparts. Blue Jays also have a black "necklace", white face, black barring on the wings and tail, a blue crest (not always raised), and a bold white wing bar. The beak and legs are dark. This species can be found in forests, as well as urban and suburban areas. Common at feeders. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=8229&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/blujay. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/sounds. Blue Jays also sometimes mimic hawks.

The Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is 12-13 inches (about 30-33 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 17 inches (about 43 inches). This species is variable, but is usually darkly colored on the nape, breast, and head. The wings, tail, back, belly, and flanks are blue. "Interior" form birds have a white "eyebrow" and white streaks on the crest. The "Coastal" form, found along the Pacific coast, has no white "eyebrow" and blue streaks on the crest. Some birds in southern Mexico and Central America are more blue, with shorter, blue crests. Found in forests at elevations of 3,000-10,000 feet (lower in Pacific coast). Range: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Stellers_Jay/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?locale=en-US&place_id=any&preferred_place_id=50&subview=map&taxon_id=8234, https://ebird.org/map/stejay. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Stellers_Jay/sounds.

Posted on December 30, 2022 02:41 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 28, 2022

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Trip: 11/23/2022

Observations from a trip to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. It was a nice temperature out that day, and a bit warmer than the last time I visited.

Posted on November 28, 2022 05:45 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Tricky Identifications: Longnose Dace vs. Blacknose Dace

Welcome to Tricky Identifications, a series where I highlight a few similar species and explain the differences between them. These journal entries will be much shorter than my other identification guides, as they will usually only highlight a few features. In today's entry, I will go over how to separate the Longnose Dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) from the Western (R. obtusus) and Eastern (R. atratulus) Blacknose Dace.

While similar at first glance, the Longnose Dace is differentiated from both species of Blacknose Dace by its snout. While both species of Blacknose Dace have mouths that either align or almost align with their mouth, Longnose Dace have a long, fleshy snout that extends well over the mouth. Longnose Dace also grow larger, with a maximum length of six inches, while both species of Blacknose Dace can only grow up to 4 inches. However, how far the snout extends is usually the most reliable way to tell these species apart.

Longnose Dace: https://www.flickr.com/photos/10362071@N03/4844668531

Western Blacknose Dace (Breeding): https://www.flickr.com/photos/nysdec/29831143882

Eastern Blacknose Dace: https://www.flickr.com/photos/64436841@N04/51500641019

Posted on November 28, 2022 05:10 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 08, 2022

Arizona Trip, 10/27/2022-10/29/2022

Observations from my trip to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. I got to see some lifers, as well as photograph my first mantis!

Posted on November 08, 2022 12:50 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 30, 2022

October 25, 2022

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Trip: 10/24/2022

A list of observations from today's (October 24th, 2022) birding trip. I saw 2 lifers! EBird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S121259982

Posted on October 25, 2022 02:10 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment