Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 9, 2014

Foolproof Empid ID

Filed under: Birds — richditch @ 8:39 pm
Foolproof Empid ID

Foolproof Empid ID

This wonderful chart arrived in this morning’s email from a friend in NJ, who was forwarding it after receiving it from another birder …

I can’t name the genius who came up with this, so if you can point me to the original source I’d be very grateful.

The chart cleverly distills the essence of the Great Empid Challenge; to a large number of birders these birds look so much alike that separating them from each other in there field based only on visual observation borders on the impossible. Instead, we hope the bird will give its distinctive call and we’ll be able to put the correct name to it. This worked pretty well for me in my NJ days, when we could travel to the appropriate habitat and obverse the bird on territory and listen to its call. But here in AZ my encounters are almost always with silent migrants and I end up leaving them unnamed.

I’ve posted about this problem in various forms her before:

But before we decide that this chart answers all our questions about Empid Identification, consider this question from another recipient of the email conveying it:

How do we know that these birds are correctly identified in the chart?


Update: The source is a Facebook entry by Paul John


April 6, 2014

Common Ground-Dove at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Filed under: Birds, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, favorite places — richditch @ 9:02 pm
Common Ground-Dove

Common Ground-Dove

I had a good time leading a birdwalk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum on Saturday, with a big enough group that we split it with friends Pete and Cynthia leading half of the participants. It is nice meeting old friends and new friends-to-be this way and talking about birds and birding in other locations. In addition, it is always good to have help from other experienced birders in the group in finding as many species as possible.

The most exciting bird for us was this Common Ground-Dove that was hanging out just down the slope from the gat to the lower parking area. Contrary to the “Common” in the name I don’t see this species very often in AZ, and these are the first decent photos I’ve managed of one.

I don’t carry my camera gear when I’m doing a birdwalk – too heavy, too bulky, and too clumsy to bother with. But I always have it with me in the car when I’m out at Boyce. Since I’d parked in the lower picnic lot it only took a few minutes to get to the car, set it up, and get back to the dove. There was only one position from which to shoot that gave a mostly unobstructed view.

Note the heavy scaled appearance on the breast and the bicolored bill (pink at the base).

Common Ground-Dove

Common Ground-Dove

Both images with: Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S lens with TC20E III (2x), Gitzo 1325 tripod, RRS BH-55 ball head, Sidekick.

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