Valentine's weekend we were in Point Reyes and hiked the Tomales Point and Estero Trails. Cricket and I got our FOS Allen's Hummingbird on the Earthquake Trail in Point Reyes today. Also spent the weekend tracking down 4 different dialects of the "Nuttall's" White-crowned Sparrow song: McClure's, Barrie's, Drake's and Limantour. The last stood out as being exceptionally different.
Above, the apparent boundary between two distinct dialects of the "Nuttall's" White-crowned Sparrow song
(Z. leucophrys nuttalli) in Point Reyes, CA. On the left side of the bridge is the Drake's dialect of the song, while on the right is the Limantour dialect... We heard both, although the differences are subtle at best.
On Saturday morning, prior to our trip to Bodega Bay and Point Reyes, we had an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk in our backyard. So small, I thought it was a Morning Dove at first. Once in my glasses, the rounded head and central eye placement was obvious, as was the blunt tail. When it flew, the wing beats were "uncountably fast". Wrists forward, you know...
Patty McGann's Green-winged Teal at the Nob Hill pond in Redwood Shores looks pretty good for a pure "Eurasian". Bold facial pattern, more contrast on scapulars, tiny white crescent close to tail, course vermiculation... More images can be found on her site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattymc/
Last night's class discussion: — 3 subspecies of Merlin (Falco columbarius)— The recent "Vega" Herring Gull and the concept of "ring species" in Herring Gull complex (Larus argentatus) — Distinguishing wintering the two dark Ibis (Plegedis chihi and falcinellus) — 4 subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and what we usually see around here. Lots of fun!
Saturday's White-faced Ibis at Charleston Slough in Mountain View. There have been several frequenting the slough and nearby Flood Control Basin recently.