Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Brant aka. Brent Goose
Crown Point, San Diego, California, USA
February 2016
Member of the Duck, Goose, and Swan Family
§A Line of Geese§
★The Shortest Tail of any Goose★ (they can't all be winners)

{Etymology Corner} The name 'Brent' that this Goose sometimes goes by is reference to an old Greek waterbird, Brenthos. However, Brent is actually not his name, it's Brant, which, etymologically, appears to be more related to the sound of his honk. Somewhat mysterious, this etymology.

~true bird fact~ Well developed for his lifestyle of ocean living and ocean-plant eating, Brant has a special salt gland that lets him drink salt water without any ill effect. Why can't we have that? It would solve a lot of problems, for sure.

Reacts poorly to boundaries and rules
Doesn't like to get his hands dirty
Does NOT like that 'shortest tail' fact

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hermosa Beach Bird Pics + Marbled Godwit

Hey there Fanateurnithologists (fanateurnithologists is what fans of this website call themselves). It's been a while since I did a miscellaneous bird picture post, or a trip report, so I thought I'd combine them into one handy blog. Unlike many past birding destinations, today's locale is not a wildlife sanctuary or park or anything like that. Just a place I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at a little while ago. And like any birder on the road, I used that time to take pictures... of birds. Without further ado- Hermosa Beach.

Marbled Godwit (this guy has never had his own profile?? How incredibly disrespectful of me, let's fix that now)
Hermosa Beach, California, USA
February 2016
Member of the Sandpiper Family
§A Prayer of Godwits§

~true bird fact~ Many birds will flee their nest when approached, but these guys are so protective of their eggs that you can often walk right up to them and pick em' up. The amateurnithologist would recommend against you doing this, as it is a real jerk move.

Not afraid to get his hands dirty
Gets his sense of meaning from his work life
Believes in the afterlife

Foreground: Royal Tern (originally incorrectly identified as Elegant Tern, but with assistance from @TheBirdist on Twitter, this correct ID was made. Evidently, Elegant's bills are thinner. Very tough birds to ID)

Background: Ring-billed Gull


Foreground: Heerman's Gull 
Background: Western Gull

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer
Crown Point, San Diego, California, USA
February 2016
Member of the Skimmer Family
§A Scoop of Skimmers§

~true bird fact~Distinct among all North American birds because of his super unusual bill, which has a longer bottom than top. It's also super thin and sharp. A skimmer's main way of hunting involves flying just above the water with his bottom mandible dipping down, spearing fish at the surface. He fishes mostly by feel, enabling him to do this even at night.

Gets really into his hobbies and interests, talks about them without caring if the person listening is interested
Single-issue voter
Not in touch with his emotions

Friday, April 1, 2016


Phainopepla aka. Black Cardinal aka. Desert Cardinal (while inaccurate, you have to admit these are infinitely better names)
Joshua Tree, California, USA
February 2016
Member of the Silky Flycatcher Family (I guess)
§A Strand of Silky Flycatchers§

{Etymology Corner} You knew Greek had to be involved in this clunker, and you, dear reader, were dead right. The name literally translates to Shining Robe. Eh, I guess I see it, but it's a little lofty for this guy. This name gets a C+.

~true bird facts~ Ok, so this guy is really interesting and unique, so he gets a few facts. Deal with it, amateurnithologist purists. He has a really unique migration pattern, in which he spends half his year in the desert, and half in the forest. When he moves he changes his behavior entirely, going from very territorial in the desert to very communal in the woods. Even odder, this bird breeds twice per year, one time in each of these locales. FACT 2: He almost never drinks water, getting his hydration from the over 1000 mistletoe berries he eats per day. Lookout at Christmas time, this bird is just gonna ruin your decorations.

You know him for years and then find out he has this whole other side that makes you question not only all of your previous interactions with him, but also your base assumptions about other majors figures in your life
Big fan of those Sci-fi Channel low budget monster movies
Competent beyond your expectations
APRIL FOOLS! (he's just a bird, he doesn't have any of those personality traits)