Thursday, April 30, 2009

Green-Morph Pine Siskin Lake Pauline Vt

I first noticed that one of the siskins had more yellow/green color on the back of it's head that went all the way down to it's tail back in late Dec when the siskins first showed up. Then in early January reports started to show up all over E-bird about green morph siskins. I wanted to photograph it but it was never around when I was in the house or it came when I was working, this when on all winter, I figured it was long gone. Then about 7:oc last night I saw the bird and was able to grab a few images, not as vivid color as on a gray winters day but you can see the yellow cast on the back. But as you can see the color is somewhat muted because the bird was preening and all fluffed up, it spooked before I could get any images of the bird showing the color better. Owell.....better than nothing.Sibley's refers to it as a Yellow Adult, it's also referred to as a Green-Morph Pine Siskin. Don and Lillian Stokes had this info about Green-Morph Pine Siskins :
In any case after looking at the images of the so-called Green-Morph siskin on the Internet I think the bird that has been coming here all winter fits into that group just fine as an example of a very average green-morph Pine Siskin.
These last two images come from Pat Folsom,(thanks Pat) who email me after last nights post to VT bird, wondering if my green siskin looks anything like the one she photographed back in March in her yard. These are great images Pat and show a very good example of how strong the color can be in some birds and really show how much the green morph can very from bird to bird.
I googled “green-morph pine siskin” and found more helpful information on the Zen Birdfeeder
, she had some good links to photos and other reports of the green morph siskin. If you are still curious check Boreal Birds I found this blog to be very informative and well written.

Anyhow one of the great things about birding is I'm always learning something new and I love that, each day birding has its own little surprise whether in your yard or out running the roads, it's birding at its best for me!


Thanks to Pat Folsom for the use of her images

All rights reserved © 2009 Peter Manship

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Long-tailed Duck on Lake Pauline Ludlow Vt

Today a Long-tailed Duck landed on Lake Pauline for about a minute or two visit. Lucky for me I was standing at the kitchen window when it did and my camera was on the table. Here are some of the photos. When the duck first landed, it kept looking up towards the sky which made me think that the duck was wondering just what had happened. (I was flying along nice and minding my own business, heading north and all of a sudden I'm down here on Lake Pauline Ludlow Vt.) Which after a quick check of its surroundings - was gone. After posting to VTbird I went looking for the Long-tailed Duck on the other lakes in the area. It was no where to be found. I received an email (thanks Betty) that reminded me about Murin and Pfeiffer's Birdwatching in Vermont which says that Long-tailed Ducks are most abundant on Lake Champlain, well out from shore during the fall migration but can also be seen on other Vermont lakes and ponds in small numbers. Anyhow, one very short but sweet moment of Vermont birding here on Lake Pauline in Ludlow.


All rights reserved ©2009 Peter Manship

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cooper’s hawk visit

I Looked out the window today and there wasn’t any birds at the feeders, well I mean 2 Chickadee’s a Junco and 3 Pine Siskins is not normal for around here . Maybe they moved on but there would still be the regular yard birds, something’s going on. About an hour later the answer flew by the window as I was working on my Uncle’s taxes, there in the maple tree 12 feet from the kitchen window was a beautiful Cooper’s Hawk lookin to pick up something to eat no doubt. The big surprise was the Chickadees didn’t fly away they just stayed safe in the thicket beneath the Coopers hawk, which was keeping an eye on them. ( Image below Coopers hawk looking down at the bush with the chickadees safely inside it ) After about a minute the Coopers dropped down under the pines to see if there was a different way to get at the chickadee’s who were still playing it safe. As the coopers moved out from under the pine it swooped out over the water and the mallard must have thought that it was coming after it and dove under the water as the coopers flew past and moved off out of sight.

All the images were take through the kitchen window. I was very luck on these or to put it another way the universe sent me a little treat for being a good boy and staying home trying to clear up some of my Uncle's tax papers instead of going birding on a beautiful sunny spring day!

See you out there


All rights reserved Images© 2009 Peter Manship

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Golden-crowned Sparrow Orwell Vt

Well it's another one of those birding miracles that you just have to wonder how it got here and thank the birding powers to be that sharp eyed birders recognized that it was different, and got in touch with someone that could help them confirm the ID of this way ward traveler. And then get the word out to the VTbird list. I left about 8:30 this morning to go see the Golden-crowned Sparrow, hopping that it was still there. As I drove along Rt73 in Owell Vt loooking for the house that the bird was at I saw some birders looking through there binoculars intently and I thought, it still there. I quickly joined the group and was shown the bird through a scope , as I looked at the bird I thought WOW what a bird and what a good day. Partly because of the bird and partly because the group of birders that I joined were all friends that I enjoy birding with . I was able to get one descent one image when the bird landed in a tree right in front of me cutting the distance by 2/3's. However the other images are good enough to help reference color, size. shape etc.

The Golden-crowned Sparrow was a great bird to see here in Vermont and a Big Thanks to the home owners for allowing the Vermont Birding community on their property to enjoy this rare bird.


All rights reserved © 2009 Peter Manship

Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Gray Owl in Durham NH

I went to Dame rd in Durham New Hampshire last Sunday the day after the Great gray Owl was found and like the thirty to forty other people looking for the owl no one was able to relocate it. The second try was magical, following the posts to New Hampshire Bird List on the Internet about sighting of the Great Gray Owl and looking at the up coming weather Thursday was the day to go. Thursday morning I dropped my son off at school at 7:30 and head for Durham NH hopefully to find the GGO. Driving down Dame road I came on a group of bird watchers and when I asked if they had seen the owl, the forlorn look told me what I wanted to know. Standing by my parked car trying to decide what to do, when a woman came out of the woods and said that the owl has been found. She lead the 15 or so birders and photographers to where the bird was. As I positioned myself to get a clear line of sight I marvelled at how these rare bird sightings happen in the first place after all we were 4 miles down a paved road another 2 miles down a dirt road and here's the kicker . A quarter mile or so out in a thick Hemlock, Oak and White pine Forrest that in places you could have walked by the owl and not seen it at all because it's coloring blended in with the surrounding . There on a small branch of a hemlock was the Great Gray Owl perch hunting and oblivious too all the on lookers, noise and camera chatter I was amazed by the whole experience. Twenty five minutes later the owl moved on to hunt somewhere else. I was happy to have seen it for so long and was sure I had gotten some nice images. Talking to one of the other birders there, he mentioned that the bird was right on time, that he had seen it move every 20 to 25 minutes or so and adding that he saw the owl get a snake a little earlier. Another person said that they were there all day yesterday and the owl had successful hunted 5 times that they knew of the day before and 3 times today including the snake. I would have loved to see the owl and the snake going at it, but they said the owl after killing it flew off to eat the snake in private . On a different note I read this interesting post on NHBird list about the owl ear disc's posted by Bruce Boyer , here's the post and link to more info;

[ I was struck by the fact that the facial disks on this Great Gray Owl appeared asymmetrical in all photos posted here. I then checked Google Images, and found that, amazingly enough, all the images seemed to show that the owl's right disk reaches higher on the head. Knowing that facial disks are supposed to enhance hearing in owls, and that owls have the right and left ears placed at slightly different heights to allow detection of the elevation of a target, I looked further. Lo and behold, the Great Gray Owl is known for having some of the greatest vertical asymmetry in ear location among owls, and the right ear is indeed higher. N.B.: Ear asymmetry occurs in a third of all owl species. In the great gray owl, the asymmetry is opposite (i.e., right ear higher), and the shift is seen not just in the skin but also in the skull [1612]. Bruce Boyer] Bruce added this a day later [ Pictures of Barred Owls posted on the Internet show marked asymmetry of facial disks also: next time you're viewing an owl, check out the height of its "eyebrows." You are seeing external evidence of a very remarkable anatomic adaptation. Bruce Boyer ]
This next group of images show the owl perch hunting........

These last two images are my favorites from deep within the woods of NH with the Great Gray Owl........ nice day !!!

I hope you enjoy the images and find the info from Bruce to be informative!

All rights reserved images© Peter Manship
P.S. someone asked about equipment and settings: Canon 40d EF 400 f/5.6 . Most of the images of the owl are as they came out of the camera using ACR to convert to Tiff.
Header image settings were ISO 400 1/160 F/6.3 Evaluative metering +3/4 stop , head held and this is about average for all the image that day. I take a test shoot and quickly check my setting by looking at the histogram, make any adjustments I need and then just make images after that. Unless something changes, then I do another test, adjust and shoot. Hope that's helpful!
Peter Manship

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sandhill Cranes in Clarendon Vt

I found the Sandhill Cranes early this morning about 8:30am exactly where the Vtbird report said they were in Clarendon Vt. Between the snow flurries and the distance from the road to the birds a scope was handy thing to have to get good views. I made a few images, but was way to far away to get anything good and sharp. However the photos do show the different colors which Sibley described as "rust-stained" and "fresh plumage" . Also the images show a difference in size, the gray bird being taller by about 6 inches. It's anyone’s guess as to weather these birds are Greater or Lesser Sandhill cranes. To me it looked like one Greater and two Lesser Sandhill cranes.these last three images are cropped 120% to show the color and size difference.

I would like to hear from anyone that can shed some light on whats going on and why.


All right reserved © 2009 Peter Manship