Thursday, March 20, 2014

Here's my NEW bird sighting, maybe two

I saw this bird in a leafless tree while Katie and I were walking.  I was sure this was a Northern Cardinal - I've never seen one before, and I snapped and snapped his photo until he flew away.  As I was putting the photos into this post, I did a second search through my field guides, and - well - I guess I've still never seen a straight-on Cardinal.  I was so sure, but now I believe this bird is a Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus.  I think this is a male because the guide says the female has a buff belly, and this guy has red on his stomach. 

Later I noticed one out the kitchen window and have seen some around the campsite.  I don't know why I didn't see any Cardinals when I was here last year, but it's sure fun to spot and photograph a NEW bird.

The photos taken in the sunshine turned out pretty well, but some of them were taken in the shade, and I tried to manipulate the colors to bring out the details.  They aren't that great, but I still like them, so here they all are:

So, birders out there, am I right in my identification?  Pyrrhuloxia?  A type of Cardinal? They look pretty similar except for their beaks.   And is he a male?  He's still a new bird for me.

Next is another set of photos of another new bird.  I just found them in my guide, and they are Lark Buntings.  If I'm right, the black and white bird is an adult breeding male, and the multicolored bird is a female.   They are all over the place here, and fly in flocks low over the cactus. A bunch will land on a cactus and then all fly away at once.  In the mornings I see large flocks of 40 or 50 birds almost looking like they are swarming across the landscape. 

They all look different, but I'm thinking they are molting or changing their look due to being in their breeding season?  Are these all the same bird?  Lark Bunting?  They all flock together like they are the same kind of bird.

And look who else we found, he was snacking on the greens:

It's been really windy here, on and off during the day and night.  The best part of the day is right before dusk.  By that time the temps are warm and the wind is gone so that's when Katie and I take our longest walk of the day.  We've had some beautiful sunsets.  He's the sunset from Saturday with the sun trying to shine through the clouds of dust and sand:

This morning we woke to a gorgeous morning, no wind and lots of birds in our site. 

Next time I'm going to post more birds. I guess it's that season.  There are so many different kinds of birds here, they've been keeping me pretty busy.  Yesterday I saw a large squirrel in the site, too, but I didn't have my camera handy. 

I hope some of you will leave me comments of confirmation on my IDs of these birds.  Or if I'm wrong, hopefully you can tell me the correct names.

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  :)


  1. You are correct about the pyrrhuloxia and the lark bunting, but I must inform you...the final creature is a bunny! Great sunset, by the way!

  2. I don't know birds but I sure do like your pictures of whatever they are.

  3. Great pictures of birds. You must have a lot of patients to get close-up pictures like those or a telephoto lens. My shirt pocket digital doesn't do too good of a job.

  4. You did good! And you picked up on one difference between the cardinal and the pyrrhuloxia... the adult cardinal has a red or reddish bill (the juvenile's is darker).. and the pyrrhuloxia has a yellowish bill. (Hazel's comment made me laugh ;-)

  5. Wow! I wouldn't know one bird from another, but I am beginning to like this birding thing!


  6. There are 2 Hazel's here! Not a common name. Hi Hazel! ;-)

    Yes, male Pyrrhuloxia (that my tongue cannot get around) and Lark Bunting but the little Sparrow? Maybe a 1st year White-crown?

    Isn't birding a great hobby?!

  7. I love the bird pictures - keep them up. Beautiful birds!

  8. The diversity in the bird world is astounding! Loved your photos and congratulations on your 'firsts'.

  9. Dang it. If I scroll up during a comment, have to begin again! I wonder if all the same birds swarming together is a murmuration? As I drive onto the island in th evenings (less common in the morning) there is a very large group of probably shore birds that move in unison--like fish do in the water. It's breathtaking to see this murmuration (I think that's what it's called). It's stunning to me that it happens in the air and in the water.

  10. Love the photos and only wish I could make sure I have my field guide with me when I see a new (to me) bird. I generally have to go back a read the book and try to remember what I saw. Oh, that's also because I see lots of things without my camera in tow!!!

  11. We are fortunate to have a plethora of pyrrhuloxia in our back area. When they fly from mesquite tree to mesquite tree, it is like there is a flash fire going across the sky! They come by for a few hours, and then are gone, reappearing in their own good time.

    Virtual hugs,


  12. Terrific pictures. I thought it was a cardinal too. Wish we could just order up cute birds to live in our backyard. Or maybe I should just keep moving my backyard like you do and I could see a large variety of birds.

  13. Awww! I can just imagine how wonderful it is to live in there and be surrounded with such gorgeous creatures. That Cardinal bird is so adorable, and I would love to see them personally too. Anyway, you’re so good in taking pictures, especially of those animals and the sunset. Thanks for sharing that, Barbara! Kudos and all the best to you!

    Randal Barber @ Poggis Animal House


Thank you for your comments - we LOVE them!