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  1. Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)

    Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)

    These squirrels were introduced locally into both Northern and Southern California from the East. They are the largest of North America's squirrels and highly variable. Some gray morph individuals can be confused with native Western Gray Squirrels. However Fox Squirrels are much more likely to...
  2. My Hermie

    My Hermie

    Hermit Thrush The hermit thrush is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican russet nightingale-thrush. The specific name guttatus is Latin for "spotted".
  3. American Avocet

    American Avocet

    This attractive species has been increasing and expanding its range in San Francisco Bay. These are in non-breeding plumage showing a gray wash on their head and neck. Note the sharply upturned bill tips. I believe the two birds on the bottom right are females, but the one above is a male with a...
  4. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

    This nervous, flitty species has been increasing and expanding its range in California in the last decades. Nevertheless, I rarely encounter these birds in the winter. I saw this one here last week and returned today hoping for better photos. This individual was singing so it is presumably a...
  5. One of my Tufties

    One of my Tufties

    Tufted Titmouse The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family. The black-crested titmouse, found from central and southern Texas southward, was included as a subspecies, but now is considered a separate species,
  6. Greater Scaup

    Greater Scaup

    This diving duck has increased markedly in the San Francisco Bay region at the expense of the formerly more common Lesser Scaup. Greater Scaup is the only circumpolar member of the Aythyini tribe. This is an adult male showing greenish face (varies with the light), rounded head and triangular...
  7. Baltimore Oriole

    Baltimore Oriole

    Female Baltimore Oriole dealing with the cold temps as the sun sets
  8. Tufted Duck

    Tufted Duck

    This is an immature male. Adult males are strikingly black and white, with a long head tassel, but immature males such as this have retained juvenile brown smudging on the flanks, breast and scapulars with only a rudimentary tuft. The broad black bill tip extending well beyond the nail is a...
  9. Piney

    Piney

    Pine Siskin ( I love their scientific name )
  10. Greater Yellowlegs

    Greater Yellowlegs

    The smudgy, relatively unstreaked breast and gray mantle indicate nonbreeding (Definitive Basic) plumage. However, we can see a few new black streaks showing up on the flanks and neck indicating the beginning of a change to breeding (alternate) plumage. This species prefers inhospitable...
  11. Mallard x Mexican Duck (Anas platyrhynchos x diazi)

    Mallard x Mexican Duck (Anas platyrhynchos x diazi)

    This odd duck caused some confusion at first, but the dust seems to have settled and the consensus is that this is a hybrid between Mallard and Mexican Duck. Mexican Duck has a rather tortured taxonomic history, formerly being classified as a separate species but then lumped with Mallard...
  12. Fly over

    Fly over

    Great Blue Heron
  13. Red-Tailed Hawk

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    In the backyard resting for awhile. Not in the tallest tree though where bald eagles set.
  14. Blackburnian Warbler

    Blackburnian Warbler

    This species is a very rare migrant in California mostly in the Fall with only occasional winter records. They normally winter in the mountains of northern South America. This immature female was discovered in this small hilltop park on 9 January. Note the gray rather than black eyeline combined...
  15. So sleek and beautiful

    So sleek and beautiful

    Cedar Waxwing a medium-sized, sleek bird with a large head, short neck, and short, wide bill. Waxwings have a crest that often lies flat and droops over the back of the head. The wings are broad and pointed, like a starling's. The tail is fairly short and square-tipped.
  16. Coyote (Canis latrans)

    Coyote (Canis latrans)

    On the prowl, this is the race "C. l. ochropus," sometimes called the "California Valley Coyote." It is a more golden or ocher color, slightly darker and less gray than other races. It also averages slightly smaller. They remind me of African Jackals and are sometimes called the American...
  17. Another arrival

    Another arrival

    Dark-eyed Junco Also considered as New World sparrows. Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a white belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage details
  18. Blue-winged Teal

    Blue-winged Teal

    This is a male. Scarce but possibly increasing in the Far West, Phelps Slough is one of the more reliable places to see Blue-winged Teal in San Mateo County. Formerly included in the genus "Anas" but moved to "Spatula" to preserve monophyly of "Anas."
  19. Way, Way, Early

    Way, Way, Early

    Great-crested Flycatcher I went back over my dates for this Flycatcher and the earliest I had one arrive was in the month of March. and it's not like it's warm down here but perhaps it was colder from where it originated from.
  20. Bald Eagle - Imm-2

    Bald Eagle - Imm-2

    Up against two adults in this feast.
  21. Willet

    Willet

    This common shorebird looks uniformly drab gray in non-breeding plumage until it spreads its wings offering a very different appearance. The Willet is a strictly North American breeding bird with two populations. This is the larger "Western Willet" (T. s. inornata) which breeds inland in the...
  22. Not  so common around my yard

    Not so common around my yard

    Common Yellowthroat
  23. Long-billed Curlew

    Long-billed Curlew

    This is the largest North American shorebird. It is largely a grassland species breeding in the western plains and wintering primarily in Mexico. However it is not uncommon in the valleys and coasts of California in migration and in the winter. These birds are highly skilled at manipulating...
  24. Eurasian and American Green-winged Teal

    Eurasian and American Green-winged Teal

    The bird on the left is the Eurasian form (rare here) while the bird on the right is the American version. These are adult males. The females are almost indistinguishable. Many authorities regard these as two different species because of strong genetic divergence, but the AOS and eBird still...
  25. Dark-eyed Junco

    Dark-eyed Junco

    Formerly split under the name "Slate-colored Junco" this nominate race is an uncommon migrant and winter visitor to California. This one has been visiting our backyard off-and-on for the last week. It differs from the expected "Oregon Junco" group in lacking a defined dark hood and in lacking...
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