Well, there are some who would be ashamed to share this little story, but not me. This little Purple Finch pulled one over on me today. I spent over 45 minutes trying to get these pitiful pictures.
Here's how is all went down: I stopped by a familiar feeder this afternoon (on my second trip out today!) and found numerous juncos, goldfinch and a chickadee. While looking through my "new" binoculars, I spotted a bird with streaks. I looked and looked but couldn't get a full-body image.
What I did see was a small bird, not much bigger than the nearby goldfinch. It had a lot of yellow showing on it. The patch above and below the eye looked yellow. A rear patch looked yellow. Well, you can imagine I really perked up. I was turning that dial on my binos as if I were going to be able to bring the bird closer and turn it around.
I kept flipping between my camera and binoculars, trying so hard to tell what I had. Not only did it seem small, its behaviour was not like a Purple Finch. Most times I have seen them, they are bold, agressive at the feeder and act like they are in charge. Not this little lady. It only scooted out to the feeder for a brief moment and then rushed back again to hide behind the branches. I was sitting in my car so she was not afraid of me.
Finally, 40 minutes later, I got what I was looking for, a clear view of this mystery bird. Ah, it didn't have the dark malars that clearly show on a female Purple. Its beak looked big (new binoculars again). At one point it opened its mouth and it looked like a cavern.
The coloring around the beak looked different from a Purple. Hmmm.... is this a hybrid? Well, I was kind of glad when it vanished back among the branches again because I had spent too much time already. I hurried on home and downloaded two-weeks worth of pictures right away, just to get a look at this one.
Well, in this shot she looks bluish. What's up with this bird. I actually included this image because it was the only one where I could see the tail. It has a forked tail. After double checking all of the field marks of a Purple Finch, I came across this shot that showed the tail. That, I guess, is the clincher.
So how is it when I am 24 months into this sport, that I can't ID a Purple Finch with ease. I have certainly seen enough of them in my yard. It was the chase that got me. I saw something that looked unusual and I couldn't rest until I put a name on it ..... Funny Finch.