Saturday, September 25, 2010

Camera Critter #129

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.


EG Wow said...

I have never seen or heard of a Parasitic Jaeger before...or a long-tailed jaeger for that matter. Sometimes it really is hard to identify certain birds, that's for sure.

Misty Dawn said...

Neat looking bird, and really cool on the ID. It's awesome to see something that's rare for your area!

Lyndsey said...

How funny that you walked right past it. You got a good shot though! I've never heard of it before!

Kate said...

I have a feeling that you are a REAL birder with a wonderful knowledge base. When it's unexpected the pleasure seems to heighten.

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Never heard of the bird, but the shot is terrific.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Hearts content said...

That is a neat shot of the rare bird. Is it snowing in your area these days? I see a patch of white snow in your picture.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I've never heard of this bird but thanks for the info and beautiful photo. It has sort of a dreamy feel to it, just gorgeous.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Thanks for the information on the bird in your photo, always interesting to read about a bird that is not in my part of the world (Iowa).

BJ Roan said...

Very informative post. Love the shot. I have so much trouble getting birds to hang out long enough for me to get a good shot. It isn't one of my strong points!

onangelwings said...

Very quiet picture. Nice Shot