Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Bird on Shipshape, on the Nest, and CCD Artifacts

The color of the bird's head in this photo taken November 7th, really made me wonder exactly at which hawk I'd been looking earlier in the day. I'm used to the wonder of hawk feathers changing rather radically depending on the light but this was extreme. Had it been Lola after all?

This photograph was taken a few moments after the one above. There was no switch made. With the number of people at the Hawkbench, we would have noticed without a doubt.
The bird is Pale Male in two photos taken in bad light November 7th, 2006.

Photograph by Lincoln Karim
This is a photograph identified by Lincoln on his site as Lola in The Ramble.

This is the naked eye view of Shipshape from the spot where the falcon photographs was taken.
At this distance and particularly if an image is backlite when digiscoping there is a tendencey towards a blue purple aura.

A reader wrote,

"The bird perched on the corner looks large. Are the Rufous back and blue wing ccd artifacts? Great sighting! Wish I could've been there. "

As this reader did with a bit of whimsy, some of you may have noticed that the "Peregrine" on the antenna of Shipshape in the entry of 11/07/2006, is a very strangely colored Peregrine. She is crow sized or I never would have seen her go behind the building, and does have the black head and thick black "mustache" of a Peregrine as opposed to the slighter mustache and paler head seen on Kestrels. I give it to you, Kestrels do look more the color of the bird in the photographs when it comes to back and wing.
Though their bellies are not nearly that rufous usually but have more of a blush on cream at the top. Also in not one of the photographs did the bird look to have a rufous tail, which it should were it a kestrel. Nor did any of several experienced bird watchers who came by the Bench while she was there and looked through the scope, dispute the general consensus. Were we all deluded? Fooled? Maybe. The whole thing is weird.

Well, I knew a weird color phenomena and even the appearance of strange shapes was something that digital cameras tended to do sometimes. And my baby Nikon, larger more advanced models don't fit the scope attachment, does it particularly when subjected to creating images with the contributing factors of low light, distance, and shooting through the magnification of the scope. I wasn't aware of what it was called. Now after the reader's question and looking it up to make sure we were talking about the same thing, I know the phenomenas name, CCD artifacts.

CCD stands for charged-coupled device. A device made up of semiconductors arranged in such a way that the electric charge output of one semiconductor charges one next to it.

Artifacts in this case are things you didn't see in the first place but appear in the photograph due to chip defects, bad pixels, cosmic rays, or including possibly, an enhancement function of my camera or computer program that makes the photograph "better" before I ever see it. But why better in that particular way?

Is the camera picking up some underlying pigment and then amplifying it? Maybe. Look at the photo of Pale Male from the same day. Do you see how dark his head is? When I downloaded the photos of the two birds from tuesday, PM and the Peregrine, I really began to second guess myself. I began to wonder if I hadn't been looking at Lola and a Kestral but had misidentified both in the field. I brought up some past photos of Lola and as I remembered, her bellyband is much more distinct than Pale Male's. Look at the bellyband in Tuesday's photos, it isn't nearly as broad or contrasting. It is Pale Male.

Whew, that was a relief. As all I've really been looking at when it comes to birds in the last good number of years has been Red-tails and particularly Pale Male and Company. To mistake Lola for Pale Male would have been dreadful.

Donegal Browne

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why Rat Poison Exists. Reason No. 10

Why Rat Poison Exists. Reason No. 10

3:00PM Black plastic trash bags, easily ripped or chewed open, full of restaurant garbage awaiting pick up.

9:35 PM After trash "pick up".

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Guess the Thrush, and Blogger Access Issues

Can you ID this bird's species from this angle?

Give it a shot in the comments section. And yes, you can happily be anonymous on this one.

And no, this is not the same individual who walks across the street instead of flying. There were three Thrushes hunting and eating the small fruit on November6th.

Which brings us to access issues...
Obviously, if you're reading this, it hasn't happened to you this time but I've gotten a number of emails telling me that access is currently impossible for some people. But one inventive individual found that if he used the link on Sam's site, that it got him here.

To tell the truth, I'm having a good deal of difficulty posting at the moment, having photos disappear from the draft box, and comments evaporate from the comments section, to name but a few of the mysteries of the moment.

So if something doesn't work the first time through my friends, try, try, again.


Donegal Browne

Monday, November 06, 2006

How about some birds?


A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hard at work in his pantry within the traffic circle.
Below, our mascot, the Oven-bird. After all it is the Hell's KITCHEN Bird Park.

This is a Junco, honest. See the slate gray back with the slightly darker head? They've been around but haven't been cooperating by giving me photo ops.

hose who don't know, he pecks little circular holes in the tree, in neat rows, which fill with sap, and in turn entrap insects. Which he returns to periodically. Having captured something toothsome, or rather beaksome, he eats it.

After a nice piece of dry bread, one could really use a drink.

It hasn't rained lately, the bowl is almost empty. And just between you and I, not very clean.

Have you written your letter, sent your email, made your phone call, sent out this blog's address to caring friends, shown your public support, and asked that the Bird Park be reopened? We're all going to be pretty thirsty in here pretty soon. You have? EXCELLENT! How about another one.

Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association(HKNA)
454 West 35th St.
NY, NY 10001

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mrs. Hermit Thrush Update and Vote for Dogs on Leads

Guess who? Yes there she is, Mrs. Hermit Thrush, trotting BACK across the street from the traffic circle late in the day.

I caught her just as she was about to take off to fly over the fence. If I'd not been there I'm sure she just would have kept walking, right on through the fence and into the Bird Park.

Also a new sighting for the BP, wonders of wonders, a Northern Shrike was seen flying out and landing on a fire escape across the street.

Now on to the opinion poll about dogs: On vs Off lead.

NY1 is doing one of their snap polls, the question under consideration- whether dogs should be kept on leads. Though it probably will make no difference to the powers that be currently, it's still an extant statistic for future use by the winner.

The real problem of course is dog owners who do not properly train their dogs to heel. but that doesn't help the wildlife injured, maimed or killed by them every year. Last Spring, a Mallard Hen was killed by a dog while protecting her ducklings. They of course did not survive without her. That is just one example of the problem.

Here's the link to vote.