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Unknown bird zone

Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 27, 06 at 14:31

I saw this little "fella" for the first time this morning! I apologize for the quality of the pics, too. The scrub jays kept showing up at the feeders and scaring off the smaller birds, so I had to be quick. LOL

Anyway, he's larger than a sparrow, and he has a beautiful, mustard-yellow chest, with some of the yellow streaked throughout his wing area (when at rest, anyway). He has 2 white crown stripes, one over each eye, extending from the bill to the back of his neck. His bill is pretty chunky. I tried looking up just about every sparrow and/or finch, but nothing seems to match. Hope one of you can help me ID this beauty!

Brenda


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Cripes

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 27, 06 at 14:36

I have no idea why the first pic won't show up now. It's worse than the 2nd one, anyway. :D

Maybe it'll show up later.

Brenda


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RE: Unknown bird zone

It's a type of grosbeak - possibly a female rose-breasted, a great yard bird! We only get the migrants, would love to see a male in breeding plumage.


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RE: Unknown bird zone

I believe it would be a black headed grosbeak in California which has the buffy/yellow coloring.

Check out the male, what a cool bird!

Here is a link that might be useful: Black headed grosbeak


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Definately a grosbeak. I have sevaral pairs of Rose-breasted and their juveniles around my place. And my neighbor has at least 10 pair. Love those sunflower seeds! It does look like a juvenile or female, but I'm not familiar with the black headed.


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Yeah, I was thinking grosbeak, look at that "nose"


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RE: Unknown bird zone

The bird that looks like it was put together by a committee. LOL, Sandy


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 28, 06 at 9:17

LOL @ Sandy! That's so true! Debbie...I think she's the female version of Karl Malden. LOL

Jean, you're awesome! It sure enough is the female black-headed grosbeak. I've never seen one in my life, even though they're supposed to be pretty common here. I'm so excited!

Thanks so much for your help! Can't wait to find more. :)

Brenda


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RE: Unknown bird zone

????Karl Malden????


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RE: Unknown bird zone

brenda- off topic- i accidently clicked on your homepage. just want to let you know i love it. you put a lot of time into it!


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 29, 06 at 9:54

Thanks, FTM! Actually, the hardest part was getting together my plant list. Now, I just update it weekly with new plants (or removing dead ones), Farmer's Almanac stuff, and well wishes (or local weather gripes). :)

Sandy, Karl Malden has a famous schnoz. I think you'll recognize him.

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: Karl


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RE: Unknown bird zone

LOL! You are right. I am totally dense. Sandy


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RE: Unknown bird zone

lol- i had him mistaken in my head as "teddy savalas." pretty close actually, yet i didn't get it either! don't you just love short circuits that are actually functioning without your knowledge?


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 30, 06 at 16:12

Short circuiting can be fun...if there are no witnesses. :D

Ok, I have another unknown birdie! This one is so different. I saw it for the first time this morning, but I about killed myself trying to get the camera, and it was gone by the time I gathered my wits. :D

Anyway, it returned this afternoon, like a good sport! You can see the comparison with a house finch (cute little tum-tum) in the upper left of the pic. BTW, it never did feed, but it sure looked like it wanted to. I have 4 different kinds of feeders, so it's not like I'm teasing the poor dear. LOL

Hope you all can help!

Brenda


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Looks like a female or immature western tanager, although the beak looks rather long???

I've had a female scarlet tanager hanging around the last couple of days doing the same thing at the feeder, can't seem to decide if there is something tasty there or not.

Nice picture, Brenda!


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RE: Or maybe

Or maybe a summer tanager, but the bill looks too long. The other suggestion is an oriole, hooded oriole maybe???
I wish I knew California birds!


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RE: Scarlet and summer tanager

I don't think it's a tanager, compare the bills in your pictures to mine ... too long and more pointed

Scarlet tanager

Summer tanager ... orangier and larger bill than scarlett tanager

I'm thinking it's got to be an oriole....


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 31, 06 at 9:55

Once again, you got it, Jean!! Thank you SO much!

It's strange, because I was desperately looking up birds yesterday so as to find this pretty thing, and I did consider an oriole. But I thought, No way an oriole would visit my yard. DH's words - "Do we even HAVE orioles here in CA??" My thoughts exactly. And the pic on the Cornell site just didn't seem to match up to mine.

But I'm sure now that it's a female (possibly immature?) hooded oriole! There's just nothing even close, considering that loooooong bill. So, I put out some grapes. I hope they like those. If not, I may put out some sugar water just for them. After all, they're here to breed, so they need energy! :D

I'm just so excited to see all of this new action in my little corner of the world! Thanks again, Jean!!!

Brenda


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Unfortunately I think they will be migrating soon - at least I am thinking you are out of their winter range.

I copied this from the Birds of North America site ...

Short-distance partial migrant between sw. U.S. and Mexico. Populations in northern portions of the range (from n. Mexico north) are most likely to be migratory. Likelihood of overwintering in these breeding areas may have increased with a proliferation of hummingbird feeders and ornamental plantings (Monson and Phillips 1981). This tendency has been noticed in s. California and Arizona, and some members of the Kingsville, TX, population remain at feeders throughout the winter (Rappole and Klicka 1991). Am. Ornithol. Union (1957) cited Hooded Oriole as resident in s. Texas.

Fall

Most individuals depart n. California (Marin Co.) by early Sep and s. California by mid-Sep

You might try grape jelly - Sheepco has orioles feeding on grape jelly. I had a mating pair this year but despite my best efforts I could not get them to come to the feeder - I only got quick glimpses of them all summer. I did see a juvenile this week, high up in the trees. I tried fruit, jelly and even bought an oriole feeder but to no avail.

It is fun to see new birds, keep your eyes out for those warblers!


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 1, 06 at 8:44

I remembered Sarah trying the grape jelly, and since I didn't have any, she was served Smucker's 100% Fruit seedless blackberry. :D However, she must have either been too shy to show up for the blind date...or she already had dinner.

OR she might already be on the wing! I'll miss her. Maybe next year, she'll bring her DH for a visit. I can only hope. :)

Brenda


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Hi, That one has a much longer tail than our Baltimore and Orchard Orioles here, but I haven't looked up your CA type's yet - always more fashionable!

I still swear by grape jelly. I have a pair come every spring and they DEVOUR the jelly (ONLY grape - doesn't matter what brand), but they leave for greener pastures after their young fledge.

My neighbor has 10 or 12 pair of Baltimores and 4 pair of Orchard's (can't get those little Baltimore buggers to wear numbered jerseys so we can tell them all apart) and they bring their young to her jelly and sugar water. The juveniles look so much like their mothers it's hard to tell them apart but maybe I can get you some pix after this weekend.

My two cents - mark your calendar for the date you first saw them this year, and put out some grape jelly a few days before that date next spring. I actually wait 'til I hear them singing, but I probably miss atracting more than my usual pair.

Sarah


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Brenda, SO cool that you are getting these awesome birds in your yard!!!! Yesterday I saw an Oriole out our window and about broke my leg trying to run for the camera. Of course, it flirted in the window on the branch until I got there and then...*click*....no bird. lol


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Look what showed up this morning - a rose-breasted grosbeak! Same large schnoz! I believe this is a first year male, would love to see a mating male someday.


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jeanner, i would have never recognized that as a rose breasted grosbeak! great pics per usual :)

i have seen a male. how gorgeous. initially, the song sounded like a modified robin's, just prettier. anyway, the second time i saw one was sad. it must have flew into the office window. i wonder if it would hve been saved had someone noticed. i once had a wren fly int the house window. it was lying in the driveway (i assume it hit the window) it couldnt' stand but i propped it up. eventually i moved into the sun with it as it gradually gained its gripping. i set it down. like a light switched on- that suddenly and unexpected, it flew off.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 7, 06 at 10:55

What a beautiful bird! I've always had a thing for noses, not sure why. LOL Such a great pic, Jean, as always!

I saw that happen to a hummingbird a couple weeks ago, FTM. Ugh. She was on the A/C unit, just kind of twitching, while I was panicking, trying to think what I could do. I put on some gloves, peeked out the door, and she did just like your wren. She snapped out of it and flew off (in a straight line, even)! Whew!

I would love to see a male oriole, Andrea! Any kind, I'm not picky. :D

Here's a "DOH!" moment - I read Sarah's post about marking the date, and thought, Oh, I forgot already! Uhhh, it's right on my post above! DOH!

Brenda


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My eyes are tired. I just quit reading and started lookin' at the purty birdie pitchers.

Y'all are makin' my day!
:)


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I hate window strikes - and I get way too many of them. I put up those white static cling stickers. They don't really show, they are white, but it helps break up the reflections on the windows, I've had less window strikes since I put them up. I have had two deaths - a cardinal and a golden-crowned kinglet. It broke my heart when I found them. I also witnessed a sharp-shinned hawk that learned he could chase the birds at the back feeder into the window and get them once they were stunned. I moved the feeder to the side of the house were there weren't many windows and closer to the house (a tip I read on a bird watching site) so when they look up they aren't seeing a reflection of trees in the window. I would have moved it farther from the house, but then it would be in the ravine :^(

I did have a new bird today! A yellow-throated vireo. Looks alot like a goldfinch, although a little larger and has yellow "spectacles". They also forage more like a warbler so they are pretty easy to spot. I'll post a picture when I can get it uploaded (freaking satelite is being flaky again)


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RE: Pretty bird pictures

And here's the pretty yellow-throated vireo ...


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RE: Unknown bird zone

i would definitely mistaken that one, also. thanks for that specific tip in the id. i like to look out for stuff like that that tells a difference.

i am quite impressed with the hawk's prowess. i just can't help it. i have never seen these things that you can't see but break up the reflection. i find that appealing. is there somewhere i can see a pic/ad?


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FTM, the ones that I bought you can see, but aren't really noticable. Or maybe I just don't notice them. They are more affective on the outside of the windows but I can't reach some of my windows on the outside so I had to put some of them on the inside.

Here are the ones I bought ...
http://www.northwestnatureshop.com/department/Anti-Collision_Decals/Whispering_Windows/453.html

There are some that are really not noticable from the inside, it just looks like there is a spot that has that film used to darken windows, but on the outside it is really noticable. But these must be used on the outside of the window.

http://www.northwestnatureshop.com/department/Anti-Collision_Decals/Window_Alert_Anti-collision_Decals/319.html

I'm not sure they will help if the birds are fleeing a hawk attack and are in a panic.

I'm going to bed now, I have a date with the warblers in the morning :^)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 9, 06 at 12:34

Such a pretty little bird! I definitely would have confused it with a goldfinch, except for its size. The odds of seeing one of those specific vireos here are slim, but not impossible. I'll keep my eyes peeled, as always. :)

Have fun on your date, Jean! :D

Brenda


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thanks, jeanner. i might be able to get away with sneaking the second ones on the office window (and not being my office or building a/o)

as for today: hmmmm. finally after 6? years i have a bird feeding on my coneflower again. yipeeeee. got out the binoculars and i am stumped. i think i found it though. here i am thinking, only a goldfinch would be there, seeing also as i have a pair at my feeder usually...but it is brownish on top, and a dark line running from the back eye corner. lighter above the eye, but no spectacles as far as i can tell.

first thought- ask jeanner! i go to this site, thinking juvie goldfinch b/c jeanner is teaching me a lot. i do find someone similar, female alternate but not quite so yellow underneath. well, it isn't breeding season anymore, right? haven't they recently nested, though, to coincide with the thistle down. or, is that something else?

well, my main question is, what do they mean "alternate." is that after breeding season, or another phase like the light and dark phases in red tailed hawks? it didnt' quite match up to molting male.

Here is a link that might be useful: usgs


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hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

and i did think about migration but i am early in my search. it did have a white wing patch/bar. the lesser goldfinch female claims this....and there is a pop in wisconsin according to the same site. i dont know how, since the main pop in in the west adn southwest. interesting.

looking again that color of patch means the number of birds is one and below. unverified id?


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 9, 06 at 21:28

I think "alternate" usually means breeding plumage, but I'm not completely sure about that.

Just about every bird I've had visit my feeders lately (the usual crowd - goldfinches, house finches, sparrows, jays) has been pretty scruffy looking, like they're molting.

I've definitely had at least 2 goldfinch young'uns visiting with one of the parents in the last week (at least, I think). They're much fatter and more drab, with a fat crown/head...and LOTS of chattering! LOL However, after looking at a pic I tried to take of the parent feeding the young'un, I could see the eye line, as well as the bar(s) on the wings.

I'm not sure if mine are lesser, American, or what have you, goldfinches, though. And regardless, you'd not see what I have where you are, right? I'm stumbling here! LOL

(Ok, just looked them up, and mine are definitely American goldfinches.)

Brenda


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It sounds like a first year goldfinch to me, but the easiest way to verify is to look at the beak - goldfinches and old world sparrows have large chunky beaks. There are some first year warblers that have very drab markings too (compared to their adult plumage) but their beaks are slender. Also watch how they forage, goldfinches tend to stay on one plant for quite awhile while vireos and warblers would move from one to another quickly.

The adult goldfinches still have their breeding colors but as Brenda says, they are beginning to molt into their winter colors.

I thought I had a picture of a first year goldfinch but can't find one - I'll try to get one tomorrow.

Every year I have one baby that follows Dad around and chirps incessantly wanting to be fed. From what I read, the male and female usually will remain together for the season and produce two broods . But occassionally the female will mate with another male and leave the first brood for Dad to feed. And Dad doesn't seem to appreciate it from what I can tell!

My date with the warblers was rather disappointing. I had noticed a small flock of warblers in the woods last night so I was anticipating a nice turnout this morning. But I only had the regulars (tennessee and magnolia) and one first year bay-breasted warbler. I'm guessing they may have been flocking before their nighly migration. It's amazing how far these birds travel twice a year.


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RE: Hmmmm

I was going through the pictures that I took this morning of the first year bay-breasted warbler and thought, hmmm, it has similar markings to a goldfinch! Notice the beak, it is a telltale difference.

Heres a picture from Cornell's website of a mature breeding male, what a huge difference in coloring!


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wonderful behavior descriptions, jeanner! it lingered a long time on my plant, both of them. uou know how usually by the time you get your binos they have taken off? well, i went all the way to the car for them and had already been watching awhile. they definitely had finch beaks, tht much registered. one was also on my niger feeder, though i have seen sparrows trying to get at the stuff. i always thought females had a greenish tint. thta was years ago so it could have been a diff bird. oh, the birds were, shall we say, healthy looking.

brenda, you would be surprised at some of the same birds we have. i was, when in costa rica, there were red tailed hawks in may.

got to go to work!


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Definitely sounds like a first year gold finch. Heres a picture of a first year gold finch, it was taken this morning and we had heavy fog so the picture is a little dark.

Since I had to cut back all my coneflowers :^(, the finches have been really going at the niger seed, I've been refilling the sock every day. Must be getting ready for winter.


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that's the one! thanks jeanner :)

that's not a dogwood. right? what is it?


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Nope, that's a crabapple. The leaves are a plum color and turn to maroon in the fall. I wanted to plant a dogwood there but it is on the south edge of the woods so it would have gotten too much sun. I have planted 3 dogwoods and have several native ones - they are my favorite tree. I just wish the cultivars were as pretty as the natives.


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very pretty crabapple! i have never seen a crab around here with such colors.


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Did the disease that killed off so many or the native dogwoods get to your region, Jean? I miss them when we drive through the Appalachians in spring. Sandy


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 19, 06 at 12:10

Cripes, I've been visited by a goose! "He's" still in the neighborhood, too. The poor thing is tame; he came walking right up to me when I was out moving the watering hose. I tossed him some bird seed, and he pecked at it for a while.

Animal control doesn't consider geese "domesticated" animals, so the sheriff's dispatch sent me off to the Highway Patrol. The CHP guy said, "Why would they send you to us??" Oh, the bureaucracy of it all!

I just don't want this to end badly. The poor thing keeps honking all over the place (since at least 4:30 this morning, when I got up). Then, the little brat kids chased it on their way to the bus. At least, when their mom heard me telling a neighbor that it's a nice, tame goose which was merely lost, she yelled at her kids to knock it off. :D

It's down the street now, further away from the busy highway, fortunately. I hope someone comes looking for him soon!

Brenda


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brenda, are we talking canada goose??? if so, i would be worried, sort of. i don't think they are in full migration, but could be. this one could be young and may have become weak/tired and landed. i am guessing here, but the honking could be that it is trying to get its family's/flock's attention OR it is honking to tell everything to stay away.

canada goose that are used to people and used to being fed act tame. now, i did jump to conclusions and it doesn't sound like you are talking canadian, but i worried. what i would like to do to those kids...we all know what goose poop is like...have them scrub the streets.


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i can't help it! it just came to mind..."how loose is your goose? how loose is your goose?"

well, i will leave that answer up to you, brenda or brenda's neighbor :)


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Oh it doesn't sound good, I think it's unusual for a goose to be by itself. The geese here are just beginning to flock for migration.

According to BNA ...

"Breeders are monogamous, with life-long pair bonds formed usually during the second year. Offspring remain with their parents throughout the first year of life, traveling together in large flocks of family groups"

Their diet ...

"Canada Geese depend primarily on grasses, sedges, or other green monocots during periods of increase in lean body mass, primarily the growth period in summer (Sed-inger and Raveling 1984) and spring premigration and migration periods (McLandress and Raveling 1981a, Coleman and Boag 1987a). Postfledging and during fall and winter, most populations rely pri-marily on foods higher in carbohydrate, such as berries (Sedinger and Raveling 1984) or seeds, including agricultural grains (Joyner et al. 1987). Almost all populations of Canada Geese have readily adapted to use of agricultural crops, which predominate in diets of most populations during portions of annual cycle in which they are available. Canada Geese, primarily B. c. maxima and B. c. moffitti, have also become ac-climated to urban environments, in which they graze on domesticated grasses throughout the year (e.g., Conover and Kania 1991)."

Also, according to BNA, not all flocks migrate, some stay in the same area as they breed. The map shows all of California as their wintering grounds.


Sandy, I'm not sure if the dogwoods here were affected or not. I don't remember hearing about it but it could be. I believe that dogwoods here are not as prolific as the redbuds, nothing like the dogwoods that I remember in Virginia as a kid. I do have elm trees here, although they are young trees - I'm hoping they are related to the elm trees that were found just 40 miles from here that are dutch-elm-disease resistant and have now been cultivated. The birds seem to like the elms, ecspecially the warblers. I am worried about the ash borer getting here, my woods are full of ash with two large ones that shade the house. I will be very unhappy if I lose them!


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here's crossing our fingers until brenda signs back on!

what disease is this that is affecting the trees? i haven't heard. i also haven't seen any decrease here.


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Hey there, FTM.I'm kind of loopy right now (Pookie has taken a turn for the worse and I've needed to stay up with her) so I'll try to answer the tree questions. The dogwood blight is an anthracnose fungus that killed many native dogwoods starting back in the late eighties and early nineties. I have two in the back yard that were here when we bought the place and I've just about given up on them. They are downright ugly with gnarled branches and trunks. For a while it looked like the end of dogwoods entirely but a few have managed to survive. The spring just doesn't look the same to people who grew up with them. It did encourage the development of new varieties that are resistant such as Appalachia Spring. Dutch Elm disease killed of most of the native elms in this country. This one is spread even through the root systems as well as the typical infection vectors. It was fast and deadly. One factoid I remember is that it was the most common tree in the Americas when the pilgrims landed. The elms you see now are mostly imports from China and don't hold a candle to the original. Besides the lone spot Jean mentioned there is a newly discovered small grove in South Carolina (I think)and they are working to protect them and to clone them because they hope these have a resistance to the fungus that clogs up the phloem (Spelling?)in the cambrium layer. The Emerald Ash Borer has managed to force the destruction of thousands of Ash trees in the past couple of years. It is not certain if it can be stopped by quarantine and there is no chemical control yet. I was told recently new infestations had been identified only a few miles from here and more cutting of trees would likely start next year if a control isn't found. Oak decline hit around 1985 and continues to spread. It looks like the trash trees are the only ones that haven't been hit. I really hate Popple. Sandy


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 20, 06 at 11:43

Ok, here I am! It's so blustery outside this morning, I almost got blown away. :)

I got a couple pics of the darling goose. Good thing I did, because he's nowhere to be found today. He was honking off and on for most of the day yesterday until at least the early evening. He was next door with the chickens, keeping them corralled and out of my yard (yippee!).

In my mind, he has flown over to the river, which is within eyesight and just across the honeydew field to the west. None of the neighbors seemed to know if anyone nearby keeps domesticated geese, but the old guy down the road said he recalls a flock of them used to hang out year-round at the river years ago. A woman down the road has a couple of gray geese that she inherited from the previous owners, and their wings are clipped. :(

I can only hope that he's found happiness. I now present to you Sir Thomas the Thame! :D

Thanks for all of your helpful info, ladies! If he returns, I'll let you know.

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: Another pic of Sir Thomas


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One more thing!

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 20, 06 at 11:55

I meant to tell you that I sure hope Pookie gets better, Sandy! We'll be thinking about you both.

Brenda


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RE: Unknown bird zone

That is a really pretty goose!
Thank you, Brenda. I appears my all nighter had a good result. (For Pookie, I'm not sure about me.) Last night she was unable to walk more than a few steps and had no muscle tone at all. Too weak to eat or even complain. She didn't seem able to see much. When she did try to get up she would fall over and off the sofa so I set up a cushioned area on the floor with her heating pad. I started giving her thined fancy feast warmed in the microwave and she seems to enjoy that. It took about an hour to get her to understand about the new bed but once she did she relaxed and stopped trying to wander. She has been doing the wandering bit for the past several weeks and I had to block off the basement stairs because she fell down them three times and we would find her wandering aimlessly down there covered in cobwebs. I think her time is short now but I am glad she is more comfortable. Sandy


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RE: Unknown bird zone

What a beautiful goose! And here we were all assuming it was a canadian goose!

Brenda, I did a little research on your goose. And a word of warning - I know NOTHING about water fowl. SO my un-professional opinion is that it is an immature Ross's goose - quite a rare bird! Or it is a snow goose which is quite common. Or a possible snow/ross hybrid. OR someone's pet! But I am leaning towards a Ross's goose from the picture of the bill and the size.

I would post your pictures on the bird forum, someone there might know. If you don't get an answer there, I'm on another bird forum with several California bird watchers who might be able to help.

Sandy, I'm sorry to hear Pookie's not doing well. But she has you there with her and I'm sure that is important to her. I hope you both get some rest tonight.


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RE: Unknown bird zone

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 21, 06 at 10:37

Sandy, that is so sad! My Pookie's 13th b-day is coming up (young compared to your Pook!), and every year, I'm amazed how youthful she still appears. But I know that her day will come, and I can only imagine what you're going through.

Jean, you're a GREAT research assistant! LOL After looking at some pics of a Ross's goose and Snow goose, I think Sir Thomas is a domesticated, if only because he's such a beefcake. LOL I don't think I've ever been so close to such a LARGE bird before!

I found a great article on Cornell's site. What do you think? Should I still post on the bird forum or on yours?

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: Confusing Domestic Geese


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RE: Unknown bird zone

Hmm, now I'm sure I don't know!!! But I tend to agree with you about being domestic after seeing the beaks of the domestic compared to the beaks of a Ross's. Good link about the differences!


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