January 2006 Field Journal

1.8 Black-throated Blue Warbler, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Below is a record shot of the BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, ©2006, Mark W. Eaton.

Unfortunately, there is a shadow directly overlapping the white at the base of the primaries, which did show in binoculars. Also note the yellow supercilium and sub-ocular crescent, just visible in the photo. Given the absence of blue in the bird, we can safely say that it is a female. Without a better photo, I reserve judgement on the age of the bird.

1.8 Male Summer Tanager, East of the Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Below is a record shot of the male SUMMER TANAGER, ©2006, Mark W. Eaton. We know it's a male because it's entirely red. :-)

1.14 Snowy Owl, Liberty Island Road, SOL
Luke Cole and I drove up this afternoon and were fortunate to find the SNOWY OWL at the location it was refound earlier in the day. Below are a couple of record shots of the distant bird taken in near-gale conditions, all ©2006, Mark W. Eaton:

1.15 Northern Parula, Julius Kahm Playground, City of San Francisco
The NORTHERN PARULA continued at Julius Kahn playground. Below are a few images, all ©2006, Mark W. Eaton:

Note the rust breast band and, perhaps more interestingly, the hint of chestnut on the sides of the breast above. Also, there is a greenish wash on the head and the green on the back is just visible.

A slightly different view showing some signs of staining on the forehead, likely from eucalyptus gum.

This shot from the 8th clearly shows the prominent green back as well as the wing bars. Note that the chestnut on the breast is not visible in this profile shot. Finally, note the wear and the greenish edges to the secondaries. Based on these field marks, I believe this is a first fall male individual.

1.15 Orchard Oriole, Community Garden, Fort Mason, City of San Francisco
Below are some images of the male ORCHARD ORIOLE at the community garden in Fort Mason, all ©2006, Mark W. Eaton. While both females were observed as well, I did not manage to get photos of them.

This shot shows rather nicely a few details of the bird including the bicolored nature of the bill, with only the maxilla and the tip of the mandible dark with the rest pale. Also, the black is not uniform on the throat; rather, it's much darker on either side of the throat and more olive than black in the center of the throat. The lower parts are failry bright yellow, some of which is likely attributable to the low-angle winter sun.

This photo shows the bird in profile, showing how short and pointed the bill really is and that there is very little curvature for either the maxilla or the mandible. The wing bars are fairly well-defined, though the wing bar on the median coverts is partially obscured by the twig in the foreground.

This dorsal view from the rear shows the wing formula. Even though the tail is coming more or less directly out of the photo, it's still fairly easy to see that it's short and fairly squared off or even notched. There is faint streaking on the scapulars, back and neck and there is definitely more olive in the upper parts than the under parts. The black bib and absence of any chestnut indicate that this is a first fall individual.

1.21 Blue Jay, Iwama Market, SOL
This morning, I drove back up to Solano county and more or less immediately found the BLUE JAY. Below are a few selected images, all ©2006, Mark W. Eaton. Identification would seem to be rather straightforward.

1.21 Sage Thrasher, Buckli Station Road, SOL
I ran into Calvin Lou looking for the bird. Calvin kindly put me onto the bird in the middle of the gravel parking area next to the vineyard. Below is a record shot, ©2006, Mark W. Eaton.

1.29 WA State
Steve Gerstle had a nice and relatively dry weekend. Below are some photo highlight,all ©2006, Mark W. Eaton. First is a RED-NECKED GREBE starting to molt into alternate plumage:

Now we have a goldeneye. Despite having an all dark bill, I believe this to be a BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, particularly with the strongly peaked head.

Of course, the male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE is easier to identify:

Some BRANT. These are the subspecies nigricans.

Two photos of SNOW GEESE, the first an immature, the second an adult. The staining is from the clay in the soil in the fields in which these birds were found.

TRUMPETER SWANS. Notice the all black bill, very long neck and bill appearing to extend all the way to the eye.

And two TUNDRA SWANS. Notice the bill doesn't appear to go all the way to the eye and the yellow at the eye in the adult bird. Notice also that the juvenile still shows some gray at the end of January.

A COMMON MURRE in basic plumage caught in flight. Any guesses about the other bird?

A MARBLED MURRELET in flight, showing the small bill, white collar, black breast stripe, white scapulars and dark underwings.

OK, so this is eye candy...

Cowering behind this piece of drift wood is a SNOWY OWL.




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