Monday, October 18, 2010

Campus Birds

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As it's fall migration at present, I'm trying to fit in a quick walk around the CyFair campus most working days.

Although last week was fairly quiet for birds in general, it certainly wasn't for Northern Mockingbirds. They were singing, fluttering about and chasing each other around all over the campus. Most days I saw a dozen or so; on Friday I stopped counting at twenty!



I looked for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker again on Friday and was surprised to find out that we actually have a pair rather than just a single bird.



Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue Jays, Brown Thrashers and Common Yellowthroats were still around at the end of the week, and our several Sedge Wrens had been joined by Winter Wrens. At least one Eastern Phoebe had arrived, too.

Lincoln's Sparrows looked as if they'd decided to stay for the winter.



When I was trying to photograph the Lincoln's, a bird hopped up onto a branch. I didn't look closely - because I assumed it was another Lincoln's - but I grabbed a quick photo. When I got home and uploaded the photo, I realized it definitely wasn't a Lincoln's.


I puzzled and puzzled over which kind of sparrow it was but I couldn't think of any that have a plain face, large eye, huge beak and wing bars. So I posted the photo on www.birdforum.net and asked for help with the ID.

I felt very silly when a couple of birders immediately came back with "female Indigo Bunting". Of course that's what it was - and I should have realized it as soon as I looked at the photo. After all, I've seen several other female Indigos lately and have not had any difficulty recognizing them. This time, though, I had been watching sparrows when the bird appeared and so I had assumed it, too, was a sparrow. It just shows how, once you've made a subconscious decision, it's difficult to open your mind again and think logically.
(Hmm. Does this explain a lot of the nonsense that is being said during the current election cycle? I'm sure it does!)
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2 comments:

Birdwoman said...

"Conventional wisdom" applied either to birding or politics is often not very wise!

Jeff said...

How right you are!