Friday, October 05, 2007

A warm fall day with a side of birds

The weather's rather warm for this time of year--low 80s--but it was still a beautiful day.
Morning to the left of me:

Morning to the right of me:

Another beautiful day in Central Pennsylvania!

Saw the first white-crowned sparrow of the season:

He didn't let me get any closer, so I'm on full zoom, which is a bit fuzzy. I just don't know what to make of my photographs sometimes. I wonder whether I'm expecting too much of the camera. It seems like even when I only use the optical zoom (not the digital), I still don't get what I would consider a sharp image. Is that just caused by hand movement, or is it just the nature of optical zoom? I knew digital zoom was making up pixels as it zoomed and thus was by definition a bit blurry, but I thought optical zoom was better quality. Anyway...

After work as I drove downtown to pick up Kat, I saw this character on the side of the highway:

He's so beautiful. I'm guessing adult red-tailed, but Stokes isn't that helpful in distinguishing age. I know from Birdchick's and Susan's blogs that some raptors' eye colors change as they mature, but I can't remember whether red-tails fall into that category, and again my Stokes doesn't say anything about eye color. Besides, it's hard to tell from these photos. It seemed reddish gold to me from the ground through the binocs. Perhaps someone can confirm age and who knows? maybe even sex? Come on, you raptor goddesses (read: Susan).

For some reason, as I pulled into the parking lot behind Kat's building, I had a strong craving for Mexican food. Sadly, this is the kind of place that passes for a Mexican restaurant in Central PA:

Apologies for the rear-view mirror reflected shot (traffic was heavy--home game for PSU), but honestly--it is pretty backward when you've got a taqueria that serves espresso. Gees, get your "ethnic" thing straight, people.


Mary said...

Delia, cameras can sometimes infuriate me. You know.. I understand. I use my optical and digital zoom a lot but I don't get what I want.

What we both need is a x200 or 400 lens!!!!

I guess a red-shouldered. It's a buteo and that's my guess. Susan will nail me if I'm wrong :o)

FranIAm said...

Oh how you made me laugh!

Susan Gets Native said...

Delia, I love that people take an extra look at raptors, especially when they puzzle over them because of my posts.

Eye color in RT's: It's not an exact science aging RT's by eye color. The "young" ones have light gray eyes (quite beautiful when seen up close) and as they mature, the eyes gradually turn to a deep rich brown.
Best way to age them: Tails. First year birds have a brown striped tail. Second year birds can have both brown striped and solid red tail feathers. Third year birds and beyond have the solid red.
All I can tell about your RT is that it is an adult.

And thank you for calling me a goddess.
: )

dguzman said...

Mary, I've seen you complain about your camera, but your photos are GORGEOUS! We definitely need big-girl cameras, but Kat gets touchy when I talk about wanting a new one, as she picked this one out for me... It's a point of contention....

Fran, always glad to amuse you!

Susan, I knew you'd be able to tell me more. I saw in Stokes that you have to view the tail, but I just didn't see it. He pooped after the last photo I got then flew away, and I lost my balance (because I was standing on my car seats with my head poked out the moonroof) and didn't get any shots of his take-off or his tail. Dangit! But you have definitely piqued my interest in raptors; I can't wait to do the hawk ID workshops and the banding at Cape May. Thanks for the info, Raptor Goddess!

Susan Gets Native said...

Mary, Mary, Mary...
Have I taught you nothing?
Head, belly, tail.
Red-shouldered hawks have a banded tail (black and white).
And no belly band.
But you knew it was a buteo. Good girl.