On the morning of Sept. 9, I hoped on my bike and headed out to the sewage ponds north of town.
When I arrived, I began walking around the perimeter, looking to see what I could see and photograph. There were a few critters, and I snapped off photos of them as I saw them.
At one point, I pulled out my pocket binoculars and scanned the waters. There on the other side were several Northern Shovelers. I really like the looks of the shovelers, so I continued my trek along the shore in the hopes of getting good shots.
As I rounded the northwest corner of the pond, I looked down the shoreline and was pleased to see the shovelers still there. I kept my eyes on them as I approached and walked directly towards the birds. Suddenly, they spooked and flew off.
I continued on my way and noticed a group of people standing near the entrance to the ponds. As I approached, I realized they were members of a birding group, some of whom I knew. When I reached the group, the first thing they asked me was, “What is that large, dark bird on the shoreline?” My surprise at the question was followed with them telling me I walked right by it…but I didn’t see it.
Well, I had to redeem myself, so I walked back to the area of the bird, got low, and scrunched my way as close as possible to it and took the image below.
The bird is a juvenile Parasitic Jaeger, a rare visitor to this area. When I went back to the group, they were discussing what they thought the bird was. At the time, the consensus was that the bird was a Long-tailed Jaeger, another rare visitor to this area. Pleased with our sighting, the group went off to another area, and I got on my bicycle and headed home.
After looking at the photo, I began to think our initial identification was possibly incorrect. The Long-tailed Jaeger looks very similar to the Parasitic Jaeger, except it's bill is thicker and has black covering almost half the length. Whereas the Parasitic Jaeger has a thinner bill and black only about one third the length. As you can see on the image above, the black does seem to cover only a third of the bill.
Misty Dawn’s Camera Critter Meme is a great way see critters the world over. Go to the homepage here to see more. Then join the fun and add your own.