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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.


  1. Harris's Sparrow

    Harris's Sparrow

    This local rarity was first reported 11 February 2024 by Noah Eckman . This is arguably, the largest sparrow in North America. It is also one of most poorly known. They breed in remote regions of Canada and their nest was not described until 1932 when they were found breeding near Churchill...
  2. California Towhee

    California Towhee

    One of the most sedentary of our birds, they seldom wander far from their home territories. An unassuming, locally common and confiding species, this near endemic to California and Baja was formerly lumped with the Canyon Towhee and known as Brown Towhee. In fact recent studies have found the...
  3. Osprey


    The Osprey is a unique fish-eating raptor placed in its own family, the Pandionidae. This is probably a male based on its mostly white chest. The yellow eye indicates an adult. Ospreys lack the supraorbital ridge above the eye making them appear less fierce and more bug-eyed than most other...
  4. Orchard Oriole

    Orchard Oriole

    A rare migrant and winter visitor to California, they normally breed in the Eastern United States and winter in Middle America. Orchard Oriole is the smallest oriole in North America. Breeding adult males have distinctive black and chestnut plumage. First cycle males such as this resemble...
  5. Bald Eagle

    Bald Eagle

    Over Hidden Beach while we were searching for rare gulls. Exact ageing can be tricky, but this immature type is usually called "sub-adult II." It still has a dark head with some white mottling and a mottled belly. Note also the uneven trailing edge of its wings caused by a mixture of old and new...
  6. Laughing Gull

    Laughing Gull

    First found by Max Ferrero on 25 December 2023, I believe this is the 10th or 11th Laughing Gull record for Santa Cruz County. Similar to Franklin's Gull, Laughing Gull differs in its larger size, longer bill and having less white in its wing-tips. First cycle birds such as this differ in having...
  7. Ross's Goose

    Ross's Goose

    This is an adult. This species was formerly very rare but now a fairly common and increasing winter visitor to California primarily in the Central Valley. This one was first found last month by Gary Deghi along the immediate coast where it is still a rarity. They look like a small version of the...
  8. V

    1/18/24 Lake Elizabeth Fremont, CA, USA Duck ID

    Hello, I took photos of these ducks while walking around Lake Elizabeth and from what it looks like, most, if not all are domestic ducks. I was wondering if anyone here happens to know about domestic ducks identification? Here's what I think so far, but would like verification if it's correct...
  9. V

    ID bird help (Lake Elizabeth, Fremont, CA, USA) 1/18/24

    Here's some birds I found in California. I was told these were ruddy ducks and great tail grackles. For both, is there a way to tell if it's female or immature male? Thanks!
  10. Black-headed Gull

    Black-headed Gull

    Black-headed Gull ranges across Eurasia but is replaced in North America by the similar Bonaparte's Gull. A rarity in California, this is the first record for Santa Cruz County. First noted 27 December 2023 at the mouth of Aptos Creek by David Sidle. Today we found it north of the creek at...
  11. California Scrub-Jay

    California Scrub-Jay

    The California Scrub-Jay inhabits the west coast, spanning from Washington to the Baja Peninsula. Unlike its more aesthetically striking Blue Jay cousin, the Scrub-Jay's appearance might not be considered as handsome. Even its name, "Scrub-Jay," carries a somewhat unflattering connotation...
  12. Eurasian x American Wigeon

    Eurasian x American Wigeon

    This intriguing hybrid has apparently returned for its fourth winter to the same spot. Although closely resembling a molting Eurasian Wigeon, note the dark flecking on the face of this bird, visible at close range. This feature is typical of American Wigeon but not Eurasian. It also shows...
  13. Nelson's Sparrow

    Nelson's Sparrow

    I believe this attractive sparrow was originally found here in late October. They are scarce secretive, shy winter visitors to salt marshes along the California coast, primarily larger bays. Three widely separated subspecies are recognized with California records referable to nominate "A. n...
  14. Costa's Hummingbird

    Costa's Hummingbird

    An adult male. Scarce in most of Northern California, this is a denizen of arid deserts, quite out of place here in residential Berkeley. I think it was first found in July, but there are rumors it may have been present for over a year. Note the very elongated corners to the iridescent purple...
  15. Fandango739

    Palo Alto California - Whimbrel vs Curlew

    1) I am fairly certain that this a Whimbrel, but a bit earlier I saw 2) and thought that this was a Long-billed Curlew. In retrospect, the one Long-billed I had seen previously had a much longer bill and a bit more color. Now I'm not sure what #2 is? Is this an immature or...? Thanks!
  16. Video of Birds (,mammals & butterfly) of the Eldorado National Forest

    Video of Birds (,mammals & butterfly) of the Eldorado National Forest

    Beautiful morning hike in the Eldorado National Forest delivered some nice species! Species list is found in the description of the video and all species are tagged.
  17. Fandango739

    Orinda, California (USA) - Thrush

    Last of the this year's California sightings for me. Seen very high in a tree canopy in the late evening, during October. Thanks!
  18. Fandango739

    Palo Alto, California USA - last mix

    Seen in October in Palo Alto Baylands. 1 - 2) At first I thought the dark underwing spot was odd shadow play, but now I don't think so. Who has this? 3 - 4) I have been unable to find a clear ID match for this sparrow. At least it was willing to pose for the pics. 5) Dowitcher or...? Thanks...
  19. Fandango739

    California, USA - Gulls galore

    Palo Alto, California. Seen bayside. October. It has been way too long since I last visited coastal California. 1) Bonaparte's? 2 - 4) ? 5) Herring? 6) ? I know that's a bunch, but I am truly grateful for any help!
  20. Fandango739

    Mountain View, California USA - longshot sparrow

    Seen in late October, only a couple of yards from the Bay. I tried Birdnet twice; each time it could not give a certain ID, but suggested Brewer's Sparrow. The sound quality was so bad (vehicles, equipment, wind, waves, people, at al) that I am surprised that the app could make any suggestions...
  21. S

    Sandpiper ID

    Least, Western, or something else? A freeze frame from video shot in central California in May. Sorry for the poor quality. Thanks.
  22. Tundra Bean-Goose

    Tundra Bean-Goose

    Very tame hanging out near but not associating with domestic geese and Canada Geese. First found by Jon Feenstra near Lancaster 6 March 2023 and remaining in the area at Apollo Park through 8 July 2023 where it became quite tame. Dan Singer and I looked unsuccessfully for it on 10 July but it...
  23. Sage Thrasher

    Sage Thrasher

    Originally found here 16 October by Terri Williams and Nico Stuurman. Smallest of the thrashers, this is a rare, local migrant from breeding areas in the Great Basin where they occupy high sagebrush steppe. This species was originally called the Mountain Mockingbird by Townsend who collected...
  24. Bar-tailed Godwit

    Bar-tailed Godwit

    Originally found 01 October 2023 by Sam Talarigo, this juvenile was reasonably cooperative today, especially when the Marbled Godwits all flew off the mudflats to their high tide roost on a grassy area near the observation tower. I judged this one to be a female based on its relatively large...
  25. Dickcissel


    Erratic and unpredictable they are a scarce vagrant to California. This one is presumably off course on its planned trip to Northern South America where they winter. The dark triangle on its chest makes this one a male. Their name is onomatopoeia for their song. Currently classified with the...