Sunday, January 16, 2011

How very Sibley of Me....

Among my many bad birding habits is the one where I (in the heat of an exciting moment) will call a bird by one name when clearly it has another name. 

This proves to be very frustrating to Cute Husband.   For example, once when we were on a field trip with our bird club and I called out "Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker!"  As the entire group scanned the area, Cute Hubby says, "Is it to the left or to the right of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker?"

Ummm.... maybe he is hiding directly behind the Red-Bellied Woodpecker....

Or the time during spring migration when we were at the famous Maintenance Yard at Rock Creek Park, when I said (very softly), I think I just heard a Yellow-Breasted Chat.  Of course, my little whisper was overheard by one of the best birders in DC, who said, "A Chat, wow, I'm not sure we ever get them here...." Complete disbelief was written all over his face and the next year, during spring migration, he actually remembered me as the "Chat Girl". 

Or, take for example, today.  Cute Husband and I made a second go for a Harlequin Duck.   We drove up and there it was!   All these birders had just walked away and my Darling Husband ran after them to inform them that the duck was showing.  I set up the scope and informed everyone that the bird had just dove, but was to the right of the rocks.   Cute Husband says, "Well, I see a female Ruddy Duck.....".

We did get the Harlequin (and have the pictures to prove), but there are two ducks I can always ID (beside Canada Goose and Mallard!).  In fact, Cute Husband never trusts my sense of direction (if I say, I think we should go right here, he knows we must go left or be hopelessly lost), but he does trust by ID of Lesser vs. Greater Scaup.  

The two ducks look almost identical and in fact, they often like to swim together.  But, for years, I have always been able to tell them apart.  For me, it is the Lesser Scaup's Ring-Necked Duck peaked looking head that makes them stand apart. 

See my sloping non-peaked head?  I am a Greater Scaup!  Lisa proclaims confidently!

See my peaked head?  I am a Lesser Scaup!  Lisa proclaims confidently! 

From this picture, I am not completely confident if this is a Lesser or a Greater Scaup, so I will choose to remain silent on the matter.   

And, just call him a Scaup with an itch.


Kathie Brown said...

LOL! Lisa, you and I are too much alike when it comes to directions! I alway know what I mean but freguently say the opposite. I blame it on being left-handed and too many car accidents (I've had 3). Believe it or not, I am the family navigator but my hubbie always knows to ask when I point right and say left he says, "You mean your other left?"

As for the birds, I have been known to do the same. My youngest brother sent me a pic of an Ovenbird seen in New York City. He asked me what it was and though I thought "ovenbird" I typed "orange-crowned warbler" into the email response. For some reason it bugged me for days 'til I went back and checked. When I saw what I had done I was horrified as he is not a birder and trusts me to know what I am talking about! I quickly sent him a new email with the correct information and an explanation! So, you are not alone and I commiserate with you!

Nice job with the scaup though!

Dave said...

For itchy Scaup, try Head and Shoulders!

Cubicle Survivor said...

I understand. Larger birds, and birds with very distinct coloring, I'm OK with. Small brown birds are all sparrows to me. I'm like the the ichthyologist that calls all tiny fish minnows.

Dawn Fine said...

Hee hee..great post..been there done that a zillion times..I try and keep my mouth shut..
Once I found an owl while with a guided birding group..I almost had the guide convinced...It was a beautiful looking Wood Owl:)