Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: LBBs the Reprise


Forgive me if you’ve already identified these. I am teh suck with Little Brown Birds. And these are too damned adorable not to post. I’ll have more interesting UFDs coming as long as the little buggers decide to cooperate.

These are from Sunday’s walk along North Creek. There were all sorts of birds around, some of which I even recognized, and I shall include them for variety’s sake.

The problem with shooting birds along the North Creek corridor is that there are so very many places for birds to hide. When the trees leaf out, you can’t see much of anything, and the birds pretty much sit within the foliage tittering at you and your wretched efforts to photograph them. Sparrows swoop overhead, too swift to catch an image of. LBBs give you a brief glimpse before popping off into the trees or deep in the tall grass, where your camera will never catch them.

But I noticed movement down by some rocks. There’s a little rivulet running through a corporate property, close to the levee, and something was down by it doing stuff. I couldn’t tell quite what. I was up on the levee, and the thing was tiny. Also, brown bird against brown rocks and brown detritus? Yeah.

Still. The camera managed a glimpse:

UFD I

That’s a pretty good testament to 10x optical zoom and a good crop, ain’t it?

The wee little thing bounced over to a rock and started messing about. After a bit of observation, I suspected it was eating grass seed.

UFD II

It had a seed head it was worrying away at. Very intent about it, too. And adept at catching the head and bringing it back down when it sprang back up.

UFD III

Of course, all of this was hard to make out from that distance. I could barely even tell it was a bird. So I hoofed it down a side path off the levee and tried to sneak up along the bank. I’m not very sneaky. I disturbed its lunch.

UFD IV

It looks a tad upset. But it did let me get rather close and stayed still for a bit before flying off, so there’s that.

After it abandoned me, I continued on toward the pond by 195th Street. I quite like that pond. I’ve spent lots of time there, but it’s never been quite such a happening place as it was Sunday. Usually, I just see ducks there, but this time, as I walked by the shore, an enormous blue heron flew past in a stately manner (but not stately enough for me to bring my camera to bear) and settled in for a bit of fishing. Hidden, of course, by a thick screen of bushes. Sigh. But when I climbed the hill on the other side of the pond, I caught sight of it, and decided to try a shot, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Blue Heron

I cannot stress enough how glad I am that I bought a camera with 10x optical zoom. That was a very long shot.

So up the path I went, taking the bridge over the creek and haring off towards the second pond, encountering some critters of interest I shall tell you about a bit later. When I reached the second pond, I discovered the place was packed with finches.

House finch

Five years, I’ve lived here. Five years, I haven’t noticed a single house finch, and all of a sudden, after Trebuchet identified the first one I saw, I see them everywhere. I’ve seen them in Briar, I’ve seen them in Snoqualmie, and now right here near home. Amazing how many ubiquitous things you never see until your readers start requesting mystery birds.

House Finch II

It makes me wonder how much else I miss. Suppose I’ll find out when you lot start requesting other mysteries.

After encountering the house finches, I walked along the lawn at the edge of the pond, which is a way I’ve never gone before. It doesn’t seem right to invade the building’s grounds on a work day, but it’s some sort of school district thingy and this was a Sunday, so I figured they’d probably not mind a silly woman with a camera trying to catch birds. I was hoping for a shot at one of the red-winged blackbirds I’d been hearing, but no joy. However, I did come across what seemed like an entire flock of LBBs congregated on a patio. They hurried off into the trees when they saw me coming. One perched on top like a Christmas ornament and allowed me to get a good snap.

UFD V

I can’t even begin to tell you whether that’s the same type of LBB as the first or not. LBBs are bloody difficult.

After that excitement, I caught up another part of the creek path that leads to the new bridge they put in on thirty-somethingth avenue. And standing on that bridge, I swear to you, I saw a kingfisher fishing. It wasn’t a heron – they don’t swoop out of trees and back up like that. It wasn’t an eagle or an LBB or anything else I’ve seen. But it was so far away, and so fast, I can’t be sure. And it was gone before I could try for a photo.

Another day, then.

And let me just take this opportunity to thank you. I never paid much attention to birds before you all got me in to them. Now I delight in them. I’ve come to recognize a few, and get excited when I see others, and have the occasional chat whilst one sings in my ear.

Sorry about the shaky cam. I was excited and worried it would fly away before I could record it, and the second video I shot, the camera didn’t realize we were supposed to still be focusing on the bird, so it’s all fuzzy. Ah, well. Pretty sound anyway, eh? It seemed so very happy.

Makes two of us, that does. Hopefully, now, more. You, my darlings, deserve all the happiness I can give you.

Comments

  1. rq says

    There’s something to be said for camouflage, but I’m pretty sure the first LBB (series) is a sparrow species, possibly a juvenile, they look a bit more spotty than the adults.
    Wild guess on UFD V that it’s also a sparrow, with that silhouette, but it’s a tough angle from which to identify.

    That is one impressive heron; it’s been several years since I’ve seen one, never mind up close; ‘stately’ is probably the best way to describe them.
    More birds! (Maybe I can send one in from Eastern Europe? It’s a pretty crappy shot, though…)

  2. Chrissa says

    Cool–now I know that at least one of the birds eating sunflower seeds directly off the blooms was a house finch.

  3. A Bear says

    The video is a song sparrow, identifiable by its’ song and the dark splotchy spot on its’ breast.
    The first series look to be a young song sparrow.
    Regarding the house finch; keep your eyes open for the very similar purple finch that also occurs in your area. The coloration is more of a raspberry red, they have a slightly more prominent eye stripe, and the stripes on the flanks are less prominent than the house finch.

  4. Trebuchet says

    What Bear said!

    And you didn’t even remind everyone that I MISidentified that first house finch.

    • kathyr says

      I believe the bird in the first series is actually a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.