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Back from the Indian sky

Posts have been thin on the ground around this site recently. One reason is that I’ve been away for nearly a month, traveling and though not entirely disconnected with the internet, at least without a way to get photos off my camera to share. I was lucky enough to spend about three weeks roaming northern India — a country I’ve long wanted to see — just looking, and looking and looking — from the excellent vantage point of open jeeps, trains, tuk-tuks, cycle rickshaws, and a bouncy bus.

There’s no short way to record impressions of any country, but India defies summary even more than most places. So I’m intending to take nibbles of sights and thoughts I carried away with me and present them delicately like morsels of meat offered by a raptor parent to its chick — small pieces easily swallowed, or stored in the crop for later digestion.

And where better for Three Star Owl to start than with OWLS?

spottedowletsIt turns out that India is full of OWLS, and they are often easy to see. The explanation the experts offer is that they are neither hunted for food nor persecuted by the people, so they feel secure in daytime roosts, out in the open. The smaller species (often named “owlets” because of size, not immaturity) string themselves like grapefruit-sized beads on the branches of acacias or rhododendron trees in fields and forests, pressed together in an owly lump in batches of two or several, squinting in the sun and pretending they can’t be seen.

Above are some Spotted Owlets (I believe, although they may be Jungle Owlets — if you know, please chime in!) in eastern Rajasthan, the yellow of mustard fields (grown and pressed for oil production) in the background. (Photo A.Shock)

Posted by Allison on Feb 20th 2014 | Filed in birding,birds,field trips,India,natural history,owls | Comments (2)

Always look for the Mockingbird

Big excitement around here yesterday! While looking for a Mockingbird that had been singing loudly all morning but was anomalously out of sight, I found a thrilling visitor in our yard: a Long-Eared Owl. It was perched in our back yard acacia tree, just about 9 or 10 feet up. It wasn’t hard to see, once my eyes had accidentally fallen upon it. Despite the thin screening of fine foliage it was relying on for coverage, the blue sky behind gave away its owliness (see photos below).LEOWedit

Long-Eared Owls are not something you see every day. It’s not because they’re rare in the Western U.S., people just don’t spot them very often.

>> Artsy edit of yesterday’s owl, keeping an eye on me keeping an eye on it. Very thankful for a long lens, so I didn’t have to get too close! (photo A.Shock)

This is because for the most part, they’re very hidey creatures, even for owls. Good camo — including spectacular “ear” tufts that are more centrally located and longer relative to its head than those of Screech Owls or Great Horned Owls, plus a bark-like bar-spotted belly pattern — is one reason Long-Eareds are seldom seen. They have great trust in this camo, and yesterday’s bird showed this confidence. It knew I was looking at it, but it held still and didn’t shift, except to open its eyes briefly. The same strategy of motionlessness worked on the local songbirds as well. They knew it was there — I saw lots of them come in to check it out, woodpeckers, hummers, finches, thrashers — but their behavior and vocalizations never became anything as frenzied as a “mob”. The owl sat quietly, and the scene didn’t escalate. I’ve seen Cactus Wrens and Verdins pitch bigger fits over an Elf Owl, a bird which is a fraction of the size of the Long-Eared.

It spent the afternoon dozing and swivelling its head occasionally — I could see it from the safe distance of the back porch, with binoculars — its magnificent cranial tufts wafting slightly in the breeze. At twilight, it spent some time preening, bending its head over its back to align long primaries and tail feathers. At full dark, it gave a raspy bark and flew out into the night.

Like many birders, I’m sometimes asked how to spot an owl.  This is one of the best ways: be sure you always look for the Mockingbird. Not literally always a Mockingbird, of course. But one of the biggest joys of birding (or any sort of getting outside activity) is that you may not find what you’re looking for, but there’s always something to see.

And, also: a dark owl shaped blob in a tree is pretty much a dead giveaway!

LEOWinsituLong-Eared Owls are considered a “medium-sized” owl: bigger than a Screech Owl, but smaller than a Great Horned Owl. If you want to read more about this species, click here.

For the record, here are a couple of less-tweaked images of the owl in situ. Be sure to click to enlarge! (All photos A.Shock)


Posted by Allison on Oct 6th 2013 | Filed in birding,birds,close in,natural history,owls,yard list | Comments (1)

Orton’s ladderback — remedial photoshop strikes again

I heard a sharp “pik” in the backyard this morning, so I grabbed the long lens and went out to look for the male Black-headed Grosbeak I’d heard and briefly glimpsed at dawn from the comfort of bed (birdwatching from bed is one of the things I love about the big sliding door in our bedroom — I should keep a bed-list: Harris’s hawk, Cooper’s hawk, three species of hummers, two owls heard, Gray fox, raccoons, etc, etc. Really, it’d be a pretty good list for mattress-based observation). Unfortunately, later in the day, no Grosbeak could be found.orton'sladderback

Instead, the generator of the “pik” call was a male Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) being shown the door by a Gila Woodpecker. Because the squabble was moving swiftly west across the yard, I managed only two or three shots and none of them were great.

The subject birds were in the shade with a brightly lit background, and because of the action, low light, and distance nothing was terribly sharp. But the Ladderback had perched fetchingly on a saguaro skeleton, and I decided to try to salvage the shot.

The result is above, a manipulated photo-based digital image, “overedited” for sure but pleasing nevertheless, with a painterly quality that captures the gist of the little woodpecker and his eponymous barred back.  Not to mention his hilarious spiky red chapeau!

Below is the undistinguished original image for comparison, with the Gila Woodpecker off to the left:


The process was hit or miss, and I don’t recall each step.  But I started by cropping the shot heavily, then I ran it through a few filters (including the canned Orton filter effect) and stopped tweaking when I liked the look.

(Photos A.Shock)

Posted by Allison on May 20th 2013 | Filed in birding,birds,yard list | Comments (0)

Old bird, new spelling

Wood-peweeUpdated and corrected 6 pm

Apparently, it’s spelled Wood-Pewee. And, no, it’s not that the American Ornithological* Union has changed its mind (although that’s been known to happen) — it’s that after decades of birding, I just learned how to spell “Pewee”.  All this time I thought it was “Peewee”.

That’s a good thing about birding: refresh, reset, renew.

Even if it’s only orthographic renewal.

>> right, Migrating Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus). Below: same bird with a bee for lunch. (Photos A.Shock, digiscoped with a 65mm Zeiss spotting scope and my ancient Canon G7 point-and-shoot)

And speaking of needing refreshment, this little guy (or gal) has come from his winter home in Ecuador (or elsewhere in northern or western South America) to rest in our yard for a day, and to tank up on flying insect fuel.  He’s on his way to his woodland breeding grounds north and uphill from here, and he could be almost there if he’s headed to Arizona’s Mogollon Rim.  Or he could still have a long way to go, if his destination is inland Alaska.  I asked him where he was going, but he was too polite to answer with a beakful of bugs.

All the way from South America!  I think we can spare him a bee or two.

*Oh, and by the way, it’s “American Ornithologists‘ Union”, not “Ornithological“.  Apparently, spelling pewee isn’t the only new thing I learned today.


Posted by Allison on May 8th 2013 | Filed in birding,birds,close in,natural history,yard list | Comments (0)

Finding Birds in Paris (Spot the Bird, Île de France edition), Part 2

Our recent visit to Paris was shaped to some degree by the insistence of April on barging into May: cool temperatures and showers persisted for much of the trip.  We were prepared, and rain is not a problem that sweaters, umbrellas, and sturdy footwear can’t handle — except on the one morning we had determined to devote entirely to birding.  That was pretty much a washout, since the rain was heavy and steady.  Birding in significant rain offers specific challenges: wet, fogged eyeglass and optics lenses, using binox with one hand while juggling an umbrella in the other, soaked field-guide pages, and draggled birds whose plumage colors are impossible to determine, for instance.

<< The pine plantation at the northern end of le Bois de Boulogne was recommended for conifer-loving species such as Firecrest; however, the rains had rinsed the pines clean of birds the morning we visited (photo E.Shock).

We stuck with it because frankly it was such an outré experience to have the huge Bois de Boulogne to ourselves, except for a dogwalker leading at least a dozen dogs, the occasional die-hard jogger, two working women still on the job well into daylight, and a very few very wet birds, including what must have been a female pheasant daintily treading around condom wrappers along an obscure side-trail we’d stumbled on.  No sun = no bearings, and we walked in soggy circles until lunchtime, finally heading for the Porte Dauphine exit to search for a café (a goal that oddly matched the difficulty of finding birds in the park in the rain).

>> Sometimes you have to set aside these guides for Michelin’s Guide Vert, or the equivalent.

The weather made real birds a bit harder to come by than May sunshine would have done (see part 1 here, concerning real birds), but fortunately there are many birds to be found in a city as ancient and well-stocked with ornament as Paris.  The unexpected female pheasant above provides a good starting point for our sightings of grouse-like and ground-loving birds who weren’t driven to shelter by a few raindrops.

It’s not always possible to positively ID species in artwork, but it’s clear the four sturdy birds shown below are intended to be Red-Legged Partridges (Alectoris rufa), Perdrix rouge en français. Prominently displayed in the Cluny Museum, the panel is stained glass, separated from its building, where it was probably once the lowest element of a church window in Normandy, dated to “around” 1500 CE.

I’ve read that the partridge is common in medieval Church iconography on account of certain aspects of its lifestyle, as asserted by early chroniclers of natural history.  They believed that the female partridge steals eggs from other hens, and will incubate them with her own clutch.  Little good it does her, the story goes, because upon hatching the purloined chicks recognize the voice of their real mother and run swiftly back to her, making partridge life-history an optimistic allegory for the Devil stealing souls who flock faithfully back to the Church.  Odder still are the old beliefs that the mere passage of air from a male partridge’s wings onto a hen could cause her to be impregnated, and that male partridges forced vanquished rival males to submit to sex. These morally slack tendencies, along with the oft-repeated etymology of the word Perdix from Greek perdesthai (πέρδεσθαι) “to break wind” referring to the birds’ clapping wing-noise, were enough to brand the species as impure by experts such as Isidore of Seville (<< left, perhaps relying on Pliny the Elder for his natural history), and are said to explain why partridges appear in religious art as emblems of reprobate behavior.

In an admittedly brief search through modern ornithological resources, I couldn’t find much evidence for any grouse habits that would give rise to these beliefs, except perhaps the fact that a Red-legged partridge female lays fairly large clutches — on average about a dozen eggs — which might look to some like the result of theft stemming from matronly covetousness; or that the wing-clapping, oddly vocalizing lek behavior of male grouse of many species (see Capercaillie link below) might account for the air-born insemination story.  However, according to modern ornithologists, Red-legged partridge are among the most monogamous of the gallinaceous birds, and longer-term pair-bonding has been observed among these partridge pairs than in other notoriously promiscuous members of the grouse clan.  You would think this gap between nature and natural history might limit the usefulness of the species as a bad example, except no doubt the clergy, through instructive sermons and eye-level stained glass panels, was able to ensure that their version reached the popular ear.  Nevertheless, I suspect Partridges were of interest to the pragmatic people of the Gallic countryside less for their christian symbolism than for their tasty flesh.

People’s abiding enthusiasm for the succulent aspects of France’s fauna is made plain on this building, at 134 Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement (photo E.Shock, click to enlarge). >>

Rain may have caused us to set aside our bird guides, but not our binoculars — I carry my small ones on trips like this because they’re handy for getting good looks at architectural detail like frescoes, stained glass on high, and gargoyles. With them I could see more clearly the partridges and other game animals found perched on flourishes and vegetal motifs in the ornate painted façade on the residence above what is now a celebrated cheese shop.  Originally the ground floor shop was a charcuterie-traiteur run by Facchetti, a butcher, who commissioned the frescoes in 1929 from the Italian artist Eldi Gueri.  He depicted bucolic pastel scenes of country life between the windows of the first floor, while the upper floors bear elaborate brocade-like brown and white patterns in the “style of the Italian renaissance”. They show game animals, including a pig, wild boar, deer, and a variety of birds, perhaps reflecting the varieties of saucissons and charcuteries Facchetti offered.

Among the birds are woodpeckers, pheasants, and grouse, including what must be a Capercaillie (upper bird to right >>) — a showy, giant, black grouse of Old World coniferous forests, depicted here with his tail fanned in courtship display, like his North American relative the Wild Turkey.  Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), le grand tétras en français, although a seriously excellent bird (check out its absurd courtship display here), is not now — nor ever was — native to the Paris metro area, except for the two mirrored images dwelling here in tinted plaster as idealized icons of the tasty abundance of the woods.  And the lower bird? — it has me stumped: perhaps a wood pigeon, with its longish tail and straight bill.  It’s not unlikely: one wood pigeon would make several meaty pies.  It appears to be paired with the bird below it (only partly visible in this edit) which is a dove, perhaps a turtle dove, to judge by the scaley pattern of its dorsal feathers.

On the same façade, the balcony birds look like woodpeckers, especially the one on the right with its crested head.  Are woodpeckers included here because they are a jaunty, spirited design presence, or does it mean they were considered fair game for the table?  I haven’t been able to discover an answer to this, although ornithologists and conservationists have for decades been working to diminish the long-standing Continental tradition of song-bird consumption by humans. These painted images are the only woodpeckers we saw on the trip, except for one quick glimpse of a real pic vert — the Green woodpecker (Picus viridis) — the Eurasian equivalent of our Flicker except largely green.  (Perhaps the green ones taste like mint?)

I remember from earlier travels in France that woodpeckers can be hard to find; they appear when they appear, or not — like woodpeckers anywhere. But unexpected sightings are one of the joys of birding, like this one: a two-foot tall street-art roadrunner.  Popularly known in France as “Bip Bip” after the familiar Chuck Jones cartoon character, the roadrunner’s French common name is Géocoucou, a more accurate handle than the folksy English name “roadrunner”, since phylogenetically the bird is actually a ground-dwelling cuckoo.

We wondered why a street artist had wheat-pasted the photo-image of a southwestern bird to a wall under the half-timbered shelter of a medieval Parisian alley.  No explanation was evident (to us) as to why it was posing among the sprayed graffiti.  As with ecclesiastical stained glass partridges, a viewer would just have to know what it meant, or be told.  But no St. Isidore of street art proposed to illuminate it for us.  How odd that of all of the bird imagery we’d encountered, the most recent one was the one whose significance I least understood. Still, I was happy to have spotted this bird.  It was as far from the desert as we were, yet it had found a home — even a temporary one, until the rain melted the soluble wheat-paste, or someone painted over it — in the heart of Paris.

(All photos A.Shock except where noted)

Etymological note: Choate, in his Dictionary of American Bird Names, primly avoids the earthy perdesthai etymology twice: first, in his entry for “Partridge”, by releasing nothing more airy than a fussy list of spelling variants in various European languages over time, and then again under the genus name “Perdix”, by reciting the tale of the youth of that name, Daedalus’ too-clever nephew, whom the craftsman nudged off a tower as unwanted competition.  But the boy was saved by Minerva (according to Ovid), who turned him into a bird — in fact, a partridge — just before he hit the ground.  Choate diminishes the force of this explanation by quoting MacCleod (of The Key to the Names of British Birds fame) who commented that the youth was more likely named after the bird than vice-versa, which seems to leave us inescapably with perdesthai, “to fart”, as the source for perdix, the Greek and Latin word for partridge, after all.

Finding birds in Paris (or Spot the Bird Île de France edition) Part 1

Let’s deal with this straight away: if you’re a birder tuning in to learn where to find birds in Paris, then, despite its clear title “Finding Birds in Paris”, I’m afraid this two-part post will disappoint.  It is not intended to offer technical advice about how many species of mésange you might see in the Bois de Boulogne (I’ve read that it’s seven, by the way, but personally I haven’t seen more than three), or where to find Tawny owls (I’ve heard le Cimitière du Père-Lachaise, but again, personally, I’ve only heard the soulful cries of Jim Morrison mourners there).

<< Nature is everywhere in the city: signs in the neighborhood parks explain this.

So, this isn’t an advice column.  This is because I’m no expert on the subject — I find Paris both easy and difficult to actually bird on one’s own, and the only advice I have is not news: keep your eyes and ears open, seek appropriate species in appropriate habitat (finding the habitat is usually the trick), and don’t expect to find anyone else with binoculars around their neck nearby to answer questions about where to find bullfinches.  Also, bring an umbrella.

Furthermore, there are no hard-to-detect feathery forms hidden in the photos: this post is only a Spot the Bird in the sense that I declare that Birds are easy to Spot in Paris, especially in May.  Some birds are so common they are virtually unavoidable: you’ll soon tune out the constant, frantic twittering of swifts overhead, the clap of feral pigeon wings (above), and the chirping of crumb-seeking sparrows.  Gulls abound on the Seine and soar calling above parks like le Jardin des Plantes which sit on its banks. Plane trees in the same parks host hungry families of great, blue, and long-tailed tits, as well as singing chaffinch. Leafy poplar tops may sport a magpie, une pie bavarde, or two.

>> Great tit, mésange charbonnière, (Parus major) foraging for nesting material on a stone wall in le Jardin des Plantes.  Yes, it’s primarily blue and yellow, a treat for us norte americanos who are used to our chickadees’ mute gray and buff body plumage, with only their jaunty black-and-white headgear to mark their alliance with more colorful old world family members .

Surrounded by pedestrians and traffic, mallard couples paddle in monumental water features like la Fontaine Saint-Michel, unruffled that Duret’s archangel looks like a cuirassed girl compared to the manly serpent-tailed Satan he’s so righteously vanquishing.  And underfoot, geometric, manicured lawns are studded with starlings, carrion crows, and huge lumbering wood-pigeons (left).

Most obvious in all of these urban niches is the ubiquitous merle, or blackbird, which like its close cousin the American robin, hops foraging in the green blades of parks and gardens, and whose melodic phrases ring through the gray-walled rues from rooftop chimney pots and aerials even before sun-up.

>> Blackbird, merle, (Turdus merula).

Unlike their less closely related namesake the American robin, small european Robins, les rouges-gorges, glide up to perch on low branches and garden walls, keeping a buttonlike eye — somehow keen and blank at once — on everything.

<< European robin, rouge-gorge, (Erithacus rubecula).  E shot this at Giverny, but we saw them in town, too.

But look closely — there are less common species, too.  One of those coots in the park pond may be a moorhen (below, right), one of the sparrows on the lawn a dusky Dunnock.  And check the glowering gargoyles overhead, perched in the involved stony heights of Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and Saint-Sulpice: one may be a kestrel, looking down like a sharp-winged, keen-eyed angel (or, according to the chittering swifts, a quick taloned little demon).

Less forthcoming are the flashier birds, the specialty species: golden orioles, firecrests, black woodpeckers, and others.  These require more time and more amenable weather than we had to do a proper search.  Next time!

Fortunately, Paris has other birds to find.  In Part 2 of this post are a few of them — stay tuned.

Special note: many thanks to E.Shock, his zoom lens, and his willingness to share his images!  All the photos above are his, except the billing feral pigeons (which my less effective zoom could handle, since the birds were virtually at my feet).

Posted by Allison on May 18th 2012 | Filed in birding,birds,field trips,spot the bird | Comments (5)

A sketchy bird list

Not keen on enacting the Mad Dogs and Englishmen scenario, E and I lounged for a couple of hours during the heat of the day in the shade of a wild palm grove last weekend.

<< Southwest Palm Grove, Tierra Blanca Mountains, Anza-Borrego State Park (photo A.Shock)

This is a well-known oasis, and not terribly remote — but a destination doesn’t have to require too much hiking before you can expect to have the place primarily to yourself, especially if it’s slightly uphill. With only occasional others wandering through, we ate lunch and waited for the heat of the day to subside so we could march back across the desert to our campsite in the low sun.

E doesn’t sit still very well, but he was amenable under the circumstances: just feet from the moist green calm of the grove, the white desert glared through dark trunks, reminding us of the hot, spiny, and hard path home.  He read, and poked around the substantial grove with his camera.  There was plenty to look at: like windmills, palm trees have a quality which readily vacillates between stateliness and creepiness according to wind, light, and the observer’s mood.  At noon on a calm day, these palms seemed merely sleepy and obliging, providing shade and coolth to travelers, both human and animal.  I sat on a rock, choosing this outlier palm to scratch into a small Moleskine sketchbook with an excessively-finepointed pen, fussing over capturing the complicated but orderly rhythm of shadow and light on the pleated, fringed fans, and considering how to show the blackness of the trunk without losing the way the sun picked out its checkered texture. Slatted shadows wheeled around us as the sun rolled across the afternoon sky.

Sitting still is a wonderful way to see birds, especially at a frondy desert oasis with high perches for cawwing ravens and low cover for furtive Lincoln’s sparrows and simultaneously sneaky and showy Common yellowthroats.  Instead of keeping a list in a notebook, I wrote species’ names as they manifested in the palm’s portrait. It was possible to use a cramped scrap of background for this because bird diversity was low — the list was quite short, even with non-avian species like ants and butterflies included, and the few words provided the perfect coarse-textured, mid-range value for the desert beyond the grove.

<< Look closely, this isn’t just a landscape, or a portrait of a stately middle-aged California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera), it’s a bird list (click, twice, to enlarge).

Normally, previous years’ fronds cloak the trunks of Washingtonia palms to the ground, giving them a mammoth-legged look: sturdy, shaggy and brown.  But this grove had burned sometime in the past few decades, leaving the surviving older palms bare-legged and carbony black, smooth and manicured like well-behaved resort palms.  Little palms grew up around them, a decade or two old themselves, and bearing all their previous fans on their trunks naturally, indicating they’d sprouted after the last fire.

>> glowing spines (photo E.Shock)

We timed the return trip well, and eventually hiked back to camp with the low sun behind us.  It back-lit the cholla with a golden haze, and ignited the early Scott’s orioles perched on red ocotillo tips into melodious yellow flames.  But the orioles wouldn’t hold still for a photo, and there was no time for a sketch; darkness falls abruptly in the desert.

Posted by Allison on Mar 31st 2012 | Filed in art/clay,birding,botany,drawn in,field trips,natural history | Comments (5)


Tens of thousands of Sandhill cranes winter in the fields and wetlands of far southeastern Arizona each year, and they have their own festival: Wings Over Willcox, held in mid-January by the historical community of Willcox, AZ. This year is the 19th Annual WOW Festival, and it’s part of SE Arizona’s celebration of the state centennial.

>> Dawn pinkens sandhill cranes standing in the icy waters of Crane Lake south of Willcox, AZ (Photo A.Shock)

There are tours to the local hotspots, not just for crane-sighting, but for other winter birding specialties in the bird-rich, high-desert grassland in and around the Sulphur Springs Valley: the Chiricahua Mountains, Whitewater Draw, Lake Cochise, and more.  Not all of the outings are bird-related: there are historical, agricultural, gastronomic, and archeological tours, too. Check availability for tickets here. There are also seminars by local experts on anything from photography to astronomy to more birds and birding, which I believe are free.

If your tour of choice is sold out, don’t despair. The cranes can be viewed (and heard!) flying in v-formation overhead often, but you can also visit places like Crane Lake (above) and Whitewater Draw at dawn and dusk to see flights of cranes leaving (morning) or returning (afternoon) to and from foraging in the agricultural fields during daylight hours.  Driving the public farm roads south of town at any time of day, you can luck into hundreds of cranes moving in a group through a field, or a fierce bird of prey like a Ferruginous hawk patrolling the skies or perched on a wire over the field margins.  Loggerhead shrikes are fairly common, as well: check out a previous post of mine for more photos.

<< three Sandhill crane magnets by Three Star Owl will be available at WOW for $16 each

Three Star Owl will be at the Nature Expo portion of the event, held in the Willcox Community Center, which is the headquarters for the festival.  The Nature Expo will be open from Thursday afternoon until Sunday, check my Events page for more specific hours and a link to a map and driving directions.  If you’re in the area, please stop by and say Hello — admission to the Nature Expo is FREE!

A word of advice to those planning on visiting: although sunny winter days in this part of AZ can be comfortable, Willcox is at 4200 feet above sea level, so night-time temps usually dip well below freezing this time of year, and if it’s windy or overcast, daytime temps will be brisk.  So if you plan to get out into the world on your trip here, dress for the weather!

Posted by Allison on Jan 6th 2012 | Filed in birding,birds,Events,field trips,natural history,three star owl | Comments (1)

Spot the Bird!

Me: reminiscing about our trip to New Zealand a while back.  You: trying to Spot the Bird.

It shouldn’t be too hard, but here’s a hint: you’re looking for a parrot.  Now don’t go clicking on the photo to enlarge it right off the bat, you’ll make it too easy!  (And, by the way, it’s a giant file, so if you click twice, you’ll get a very large image of a partially obscured parrot on your screen.)

And on the subject of New Zealand ornithology, if you enjoy a nice kiwi, click here and watch the video.

Update: photo key is here.

Posted by Allison on Nov 6th 2011 | Filed in birding,birds,field trips,natural history,spot the bird | Comments (1)

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