Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back in the Granite State 2009

We took the red-eye flight in from San Francisco and finally arrived home early Saturday morning at the Manchester airport.

I am posting some recent videos of more western species and some interesting behaviors I observed.

The Spotted Towhee is a close relative of our Eastern Towhee. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the Rufous-sided Towhee complex but they were recently split into different species. This video is of a male Spotted Towhee exhibiting "scratching" behavior among Acacia leaves and bark in Sonoma. This male is scratching the leaf litter for food. Scratching behavior is very common among many different groups of birds.

Spotted Towhee

This next video is of the Oregon race of the Dark-eyed Junco. This species is one of the most variable in North America with several recognizable and defined subspecies. The Oregon race is very different from our local Slate-colored variant or (currently) subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco. Although Junco populations vary morphologically from each other, they are still considered subspecies or races of a single species, the Dark-eyed Junco.

Oregon Junco

I like the Black Phoebe for some odd reason so I have included another close-up of this species from downtown Healdsburg near the Bear Republic microbrewery. It is reminiscent of our Eastern Phoebe that is a common breeder in the eastern US and Canada.

Black Phoebe

Here is another interesting species, the Oak Titmouse, that was recently part of the Plains Titmouse group. The Plains Titmouse was recently split into 2 separate species - the Oak Titmouse that breeds in western California and the more eastern Juniper Titmouse from the Great Basin. It is similar to our eastern species, the Tufted Titmouse.

Oak Titmouse

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