Turning seasons

We are having a few pleasant days of Indian Summer right now and yesterday (camera less) there was a large raft of Canada Geese and assorted ducks in the bay opposite the campus. Later in the day I went better prepared only to find that the geese raft had diminished to a dozen birds way out in the river and the remaining ducks were four Mallards, one being a male on the edges of the short period of eclipse plumage. Such are the joys of birding.

Out over the river was a flying silhouette just right for me to test the mode-2 stabilizer setting on my big lens (the one for tracking birds in flight) and with some success. After blowing up the image and doing a fair bit of manipulation I think it is a rather common first year Ring-billed Gull because of the dark trailing margins to the wings which reduce the number of possible species to about three of which only one is at all likely around here.but I was impressed to be able to pull up the detail necessary to get even that far. According to my friend, Mark the bird Guru and Laridophile, however it could equally well be a second year Herring Gull because of the translucent patch in the wing. Gulls really are a bugger to identify. Certainly a young and spotty gull anyway.

Meanwhile, we still have young birds flopping around after a terrific breeding season … the picture below of a juvenile Northern Cardinal indicates just how scruffy a teenage bird can be. Hope he gets fully feathered and fir for the cold weather ahead.

Ring-billed Gull (first winter)
Far distant Ring-billed Gull (first winter) … or is it a second year Herring Gull?
The nucleus of a growing raft of Canada Geese
The nucleus of a growing raft of Canada Geese
Male Mallard during partial eclipse plumage time
Male Mallard during partial eclipse plumage time
Juvenile Northern Cardinal
Juvenile Northern Cardinal
Juvenile Northern Cardinal
Juvenile Northern Cardinal

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