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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Revised definition of a perfect day

Well, my best laid plans didn't work out as planned. The tank's water spouts were still spouting this morning so I had to wait them out. As I sat in the shade at the oasis, no wind, not too hot or cold, I thought the place had never looked more beautiful (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course). It dawned on me that by my definition of a perfect day the sky would have to have been overcast. But there were birds everywhere and taking photos is better with sun. So I redefined my definition of a perfect day. (My original definition was made when the oasis didn't have shade.)

As some of the water spouts quit oozing, I mixed some patching stuff and sloshed around in the muddy, snakey water doing my thing. (Snake in water near center of photo.)  It's just a harmless garter snake, of course.

It would sure be great if I could afford to have that wall sprayed with gunite or some plastic coating. I'm sure it'll always leak, just hopefully not as much. My plan (using that term loosely) is to finish patching in the morning tomorrow and pump the water back in during the afternoon. The dirt tank went down nearly 3" during the night so this is an urgent situation. Both tanks leak less when there's less water pressure in the tank, naturally.

Here is an example of the difficulty identifying birds. What species do you think the next three photos are?   (Answer at end of post.)

Here's a much easier bird to identify, a lovely Brown Thrasher. Hope it hangs around for a while.

OK, I don't think any of the flycatcher photos are empidonaxes. I think they're all of the same Eastern Phoebe taken with the same camera settings, same lighting conditions, and all taken a few minutes apart from the same spot. However, after looking at the photos, I'm not positive that last one isn't a different bird, though I don't know how that could have happened. If it is a different bird, I've no clue what it is. There was a Western Wood-pewee around but I don't think that's what it is.


  1. Last one looks Western Wood Pewee - the face just isn't quite as dark... sneaky flycatchers you've got!

  2. The first looks like a Black Eastern Phoebe Hybrid, the second looks like a Eastern Phoebe.

  3. That's what's weird. I'm positive the first two photos are of the same bird and I thought the last one was too.

  4. I'd say they are all Eastern Phoebe. The last one still has the large head and short wings of an Eastern Phoebe, and the first one looks dark because it's in the shade.

  5. Thanks for your input, David. I certainly THOUGHT I was photographing the same bird.