Sunday, February 5, 2012

Funny Finch

 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.

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