Monday, September 21, 2009

The bird in question.

Blog buddy dguzman came down from Rohnert Park to Oakland on Sunday, and we went out on a little bird watching expedition. I first thought a walk around Lake Merritt would be a good choice, but on Saturday I took a bike ride around and the pickings were slim. So once she had driven all the way down here, we got back in her car and made the short trip from Oakland to Alameda to see what we could see down on the shore.

Delia likes the songbirds more than the shorebirds, but she did catch a few lifers over in Alameda, and then we drove down to a nice marsh near the Oakland Airport, where we saw a songbird new to both of us, a little black bird with a small crest on his head and a white diamond shape on his belly.

"Lark Bunting?" Delia wondered, but looking at this picture, we both agree that wasn't the bird we saw.

We guessed it might be a junco of some kind, but the pictures in the field guide dissuaded us from that. The closest match was the Black Phoebe. The bill is right, but this one had a little tuft at the top of his head and a lot less white plumage.

I went home and checked the website Delia had suggested. I thought the tuft of feathers might be the important clue, the website led me to the Phainopepla, which has a range in California, but usually not in the Bay Area.

Not a Phainopepla. Nowhere near that shiny and the crest wasn't as pronounced.

The best guess is a Black Phoebe that is more black than usual and having a slight bad feather day.

After our walk, Delia and I found ourselves in a bar, watching large young men run into one another at high speeds on the television. Given their markings and the habitat alluded to by the announcers, both Delia and I are confident those were the Cowboys and the Giants.

I want to thank dg for making the trip down to my neck of the woods. It was great fun spending the afternoon with her.


Fran said...

From both accounts, it sounds like you had a fine, fine time.

I am jealous but happy for you! How great for you two crazy kids to hang out and be friends.

CDP said...

That sounds like a perfect afternoon, especially since the Cowboys lost.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I agree with CDP.

Matty Boy said...

Gentle readers, let me remind you that one of the participants in the afternoon's festivities is a Cowboys' fan, and some deference should be shown.

dguzman said...

Amen to that, Matty Boy! And they lost on a last-minute field goal? Sheesh. Typical Giants.

I'm going with the Black Phoebe, Matty Boy. I just wish I'd gotten my camera out in time.

Thanks for the fun birding adventure, pal.