Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
||Thread Tools||Rate Thread|
|Tuesday 24th January 2006, 09:49||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: sailing vessel, Peregrine
Yesterday, after four or five sightings, I finally put a tik next to the picture of a Stonechat in my slender Egyptian bird guide. I know from being on this site that the Brits and the Europeans will be amazed that someone would have such a difficult time with so conspicous and 'common' a bird. "Hey, mate, isn't this the dim bulb who recently asked for help id'ing a 'common' kestrel?" "Yeah, Peregrinator. Think she comes from California." "Ah, well, then." (Yes, it took four hunting expeditions to find and finally see the dark claws on Ms. K before deciding between Lesser and Common.)
Please! Let me 'splain myself.
First, these birds are not common to me. The first time I'd heard of them was after arriving in Egypt and buying a small guide.
Second, I've never seen such wary birds in my life as those that I see (glimpse) in El Gouna. Even the doves take off if you get too close.
Third, my eyeglasses need replacing, and I'm out of right eye contacts.
Fourth, my bins are Bushnell Custom Compact 7x26 circa 1967.
Okay, enough. On with the Chat chit-chat and what made this bird so hard for me to id. When I first saw the bird, it was at a pretty good distance (first saw?.. how about ALWAYS saw at a pretty good distance...birdy made sure of that), I thought WOW, now there's a distinctive bird, even I should be able to id it! By the time I dropped my sunnies, got the bins up and focused, I had about 30 seconds to see the bird. It took off as soon as I focused. At first I thought I'd seen a little shrike. I saw an orange red breast and a mask, and a white collar.
I saw it again in the same site the next day. I had looked in the guide the night before and had decided the Stonechat looked the most likely candidate. Except what I saw had more of a mask than the bird in the guide. When I saw the bird again for the next 30 seconds, I saw a mask and what I took to be an eyebrow. I was able to follow the bird this time for about a half hour. He'd fly to a perch, flick tail, and I'd get into minimum bin range. I'd get focused, he'd know, and off we'd go again. I was convinced that the bird was a Stonechat, but I couldn't tik it. What about the mask and the eyebrow? I'd seen honeyeaters in Oz that had differences of a few extra yellow feathers on the face, I might be jumping to conclusions. This was a chat, but which chat? I knew my guide wasn't complete. I might be seeing a bird that wasn't even listed.
I got home that evening, and as usual, turned on the new toy and went to my entertainment: BF. a. dancy had posted a photo of a Stonechat. I asked about an eyebrow. He advised me about Whinchats. He also suggested I look at a Stonechat image put up by DOC. I did. I also looked at ALL 23 pages of Stonechats on the gallery. Then I went to Whinchats! CHIT!..... now I was really confused. Nearly every Stonechat in the gallery looked different than the other one to me. I looked on another internet site to find a text description, and found that...."resembles Whinchats.....but Stonechats........above all, they have no eyestripe to break up their generally dark heads." Oh Yeah! How about adehinch's Oct. 1, 05 entry in the gallery or, stevo's male stonechat of Dec. 9, 03, or greypoint's March 10, 05 (pg 19 his gallery)! Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but I think those look like eyebrows.
The main difference, in my eyes, between the Whin and Stone was the white chin and the curvature of the collar. (although a few of the gallery Stones had white under the chin)
Anyway, to finally put this positive ID thread to an end, I went back, armed with my sharp eyed husband, and found the bird again (after HOURS--hard with an impatient man). The little blighter (bird, not husband) perched close enough for even an old bat like me to see, with the sun behind us, and showed us himself in all his Stonechat glory. No Doubt! Then a paler female showed up.
Next day, I went out to see what I could next find to give me a weeks worth of Id'ing. Everywhere I looked, I saw a Stonechat. They were so close they were almost on my shoulder. I don't know about the rest of you, but that scenario has happened many times with me.
|Rate This Thread|
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Chat room problem||Mickymouse||Computers, Birding Software And The Internet||6||Sunday 17th April 2005 23:44|
|Cetti's chit chat||monkeyman||Your Birding Day||3||Monday 12th April 2004 14:55|