Posted by: jwhiff | February 26, 2011

A Little Help with Identification

I just wanted to post up a couple of corrections.  Yesterday, I thought we had seen Western Sandpipers, but in fact we had seen Dunlins.  Thank you to Rob Butler who read the post yesterday and sent me a quick response.  Here is the photo of the dunlins we had seen:

And here are a couple of links to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to help you see the difference:

Dunlins

Western Sandpipers

Plus, I mentioned that we had seen a hummingbird.  Ruth Foster responded with a thought that it was possibly an Anna’s Hummingbird.  It is a west coast hummingbird and supposedly its range extends from the Baja (where it can be found all year) up into the Alaskan Panhandle (part of its winter range, amazingly).  If it was an Anna’s Hummingbird, it was certainly a female.  Our hummingbird was metallic green in the sunlight…no sign of magenta.  Here is another link describing this hummingbird:

Anna’s Hummingbird

So, a question I have is how is it possible that the winter range of a bird that relies on flower nectar, small insects and tree sap extends so far north?  Could it live off of feeder visits and tree sap over the winter?  If I were a hummingbird, I would stick to California.

Last share: Quentin (my four year old) was the one who spotted the bird first.  I dismissed his sighting pretty quickly until I spotted a hummingbird perched on a branch about 20 minutes later.  Quentin is our champion bird spotter.  He claims that this is because he has eagle eyes!

Coming up this week, I think that I am going to get my students thinking about their own projects.  Speeches are done for the year and my schedule is starting to open up.  Plus, spring is on its way!  It is an exciting time to be observing the Inlet.


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