Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still so much to learn...

One of the neatest things at the bed & breakfast was the bird life. The hosts set a great table for the birds and they were there throughout the day. In addition to the collection of titmice and sparrows, we noticed a yellow bird on the feeder. Two wing bars, yellow-orange beak, about the size of a cardinal...what was this bird? My first instinct was tanager...but the wing bars? My best looks of the bird were without a camera at hand (of course) but I finally managed a couple of mediocre pictures.

Without good internet access and my field guide library, I wasn't able to figure out for sure what the bird was until I got home. Anyway, long story short...the bird is a female Western Tanager...and it doesn't seem to belong in coastal Texas. It's one of the fun things, and the frustrating things, about learning birds. Knowing when something is special, when it doesn't belong. And it's something that can only be learned with experience, with time in the field. Sometimes you get lucky and you get some documentation and you can prove what you saw, other times you don't know to get a picture or think to get one and the opportunity is lost. It definitely keeps you on your toes!

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