Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Embarrassing, But Worthy of a Post...

Snow started falling late this afternoon, but only in very brief spurts. So before I went back home to my office, I decided to stop off and scope the river. Bad weather almost always equals good birds. It also means terrible photos, but these things can be edited later.So I took a look at this GREATER SCAUP and it's friend. I thought... look at that eye ring. Hmm. And the slope on the head. Interesting. It's not a GREATER or LESSER SCAUP, and it is certainly is not a RING-NECKED DUCK. I decided to blow out the exposure on the photo. Well, now I am left wondering what this bird could possibly be...I'm looking at all sorts of field marks, and for whatever reason, I never once consider the obvious. So what do I do? I email a friend and highly-respected birder and ask for his opinion. A REDHEAD, he (probably while holding back some laughter) replies. Sure enough, turn the page in nearly any field guide to REDHEAD and it's this bird. Oh damn, I thought to myself. Now how will anyone believe me the next time I find a rare bird?Excuses? Sure, I could make a million. First off, let me just say that (from now on) REDHEADS should only be male. ;) Wait, no... my mind was distracted with furniture quotes for my schools. Uhm, how about... our home is getting an offer put on it any minute? I was tired? What if I said that it was snowing and that made it kind of dark outside? No, seriously, look...Well I'm here to tell you that I have got no good excuses, only the thought that I need to slow down, think clearly and be absolutely thorough. These are three steps that I'll continually work on while birding, and in all aspects of my life. Identifying birds, for me, is a welcome challenge.But please... don't even get me started on THIS goose.-Dan

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