I heard a crazy bird sound outside my window earlier this afternoon (sort of a brrrrrzzzzzt -- like when you click the tines of a comb with your thumbnail -- and a few sharp chips), and I got inspired to do a little neighborhood birding today, and boy am I glad I went!
Mommy-the-birder and I went for a leisurely walk in the hot muggy afternoon, and I sweated about a gallon's worth. Birding down here is certainly going to be a lot harder than in the cool breezes of Pennsylvania and California!
We saw the usual squajillion White-winged Doves all over plus a couple of Inca Doves running away from us on the sidewalk:They didn't let me get very close. I really like these little guys, with their "scalloped"-looking feathers. They're everywhere down here. I keep trying to make one of them into a Common Ground Dove, but so far no luck. Apparently, the ground dove has black edging on the tail--these guys all have white.
We also saw this hummingbird of undetermined species (probably just a Ruby-throated) partaking of these beautiful orange-yellow flowers -- check out the blur of the wings:Speaking of hummers, that male Calliope Hummingbird--as well as all the other regular visitors to my mom's feeder--vanished. We've been watching every day, at all the usual times and whenever we pass that window, and nothing. Not even ruby-throats. I guess they've gone south.
As we walked back toward the house, Mom looked up and found these migrants!
I figured these were Snow Geese, but when I went home and checked the guides, I realized that the wings were wrong. I'm stumped and I need your help: What are these birds?
They looked to me almost like pelicans (Mommy-the-birder says I'm crazy), but pelicans don't fly in the wedge, do they? And do they even migrate down here? Still, looking at the guides, the black pattern on the wings matches American White Pelican... and my first general impression was that I was looking at a pelican--with the head drawn back, long bill, white with the black on the wings.... ? Look at them in isolation, cropped from the original two photos above (click all for huger):
These are not Snow Geese! Look at the black pattern on the wings.
Check out this guy in the upper right corner--crane? pelican?
What are these birds?
By the way, did you notice the little black specks in those photos? There were literally thousands of small butterflies in the air, headed for points south. I found a couple to photograph, one alive on a window screen and one, sadly, dead:
This guy wasn't too colorful, but look at this poor little half-gone specimen:
Everybody's migrating south -- even me, come to think of it.