Tag Archives: Bewick’s Wren

Post Election Birding in Nanaimo

I made my first post-election birding trip yesterday.  A friend, who I’ll refer to by his initials LR, and I set our Nanaimo itinerary to take us on a loop including Neck Point, Pipers Lagoon, the Nanaimo River Estuary and Buttertub Marsh.

We should have known better as we only made it to Neck Point and Pipers Lagoon spending more than two hours at those two sites.  We did add the Linley Valley Drive Wetlands which is walking distance from our house.

As usual, I had both camera and binoculars at hand.  Birding was enjoyable and I did get a couple of nice pictures that I’ll share.

Neck Point

We arrived at Neck Point and had barely got out of the car when the buzzing (for an example play this recording of a Bewick’s Wren on Xeno-Canto) of a Bewick’s Wren was heard.  There was actually a pair flitting around near the parking lot and they were surprisingly unafraid bopping around in plain site.  Here is one checking me out:

Bewick's Wren at Neck Point, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

Bewick’s Wren at Neck Point, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

Note that I rely heavily on the auto-focus feature of my camera (Panasonic FZ-200).  When taking of pictures of fast moving birds, especially when they are in bushes the auto-focus does not always behave.  Here is an example:

Camera misfocus on Bewick's Wren.

Camera misfocus on Bewick’s Wren.

Apparently the camera liked the road-side pebbles better.

We saw a total of 14 species at Neck Point (eBird checklist)

Pipers Lagoon

Pipers lagoon was more productive producing a total of 23 species (eBird checklist).  The picture bird, a male Hairy Woodpecker,  was again located first by sound (here’s a recording of a Hairy Woodpecker on Xeno-Canto).  Here’s a picture that shows the long bill (compare with the shorter bill of its smaller look-alike cousin the Downy Woodpecker):

Hairy Woodpecker, Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

Hairy Woodpecker, Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

The final picture, while not of the highest quality because it was taken at full zoom, proved to be useful for the identification of a pair of gulls sitting on a small rock offshore.  The yellowish legs and plumage suggested a California or a Mew gull.  Studying the picture later suggested that it was a Mew Gull.  Check it out for yourself:

Mew Gulls at Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

Mew Gulls at Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, 2015-11-05

Linley Valley Dr Wetlands

A two minute walk from my house is a small wetlands  surrounded by housing developments in various stages of completion.  We spent about a half hour walking the path that runs along one side of the pond and saw some interesting birds (5 new species for the day) including a Hooded Merganser pair, Ring-necked Ducks, a Fox Sparrow, Chestnut-sided Chickadees (surprisingly not seen at the other two locations) and a Pied-billed Grebe.  The site total was 12 species (eBird checklist)


Amusing Image Search Screwup

Earlier today, I did a Bing ‘Image’ search for “juvenile Smith’s Longspur”.  While looking through the results when I came across the following item (the full page has been cropped around the item of interest):

Bing Search Goof 1/3

There are two problems with this result.  First, the picture of a Bewick’s Wren is mislabelled as a Clay-colored Sparrow. Second, why is this part of the results for a search for “juvenile Smith’s Longspur”?

Normally I ignore bogus search results but this double-goof got a hold of my curiosity.

The wren/sparrow image was associated with a URL at marymoor.org so the obvious thing to do was to check out that web site. Doing so led me to a page with the following section that I cropped from the full web page:

Bing Search Goof 2/3

The image above the wren picture is in fact a picture of a Clay-colored Sparrow and the caption is half-way between the sparrow and wren pictures. The Bing application that ‘scraped’ the images from this page clearly did not know how to find and attach the correct caption.

One puzzle solved.  That leaves the second question as to why the longspur search showed this picture in the first place.

Looking further on this page I found the following at the very bottom:

Bing Search Goof 3/3

Aha!  Clearly, having one picture of a Smith’s Longspur on this page causes every picture on the page to have an association with “Smith’s Longspur” in a search query.

Puzzle 2 solved and two thumbs down for Bing.