Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Junco which?

Taking advantage of a break in the stormy weather Southern California has been experiencing lately (with more to come tomorrow) I thought I'd visit Legg Lake in El Monte to "document" the Red-throated Loon that was seen there yesterday. It is rather unusual for a seabird like a loon to be hanging out in a freshwater inland lake so the birding gurus in Los Angeles County would like to see a photo which, thankfully, I was able to get without any problem at all.

What got my attention though was the flock of Dark-eyed Juncos feeding by the picnic tables. As you know there are several "varieties" of Dark-eyed Juncos differing slightly in plumage coloration. What I noticed in this particular flock was that there were individuals that differ from the very common Oregon variety. Looking closely, I was able to pick-out what I believe to be the Pink-sided variety and a male and female of the Slate-colored subspecies! What boggles my mind is why these three different varieties all flock together. Aren't subspecies supposed to be separated geographically? Or does this "flocking" happen only during the non-breeding season? Moreover, the different "kinds" of Dark-eyed Juncos are quite distinct from each other that they should be elevated to a species status. I mean there are sandpipers that look so very much alike that are of different speciation. Why not then the Dark-eyed Juncos?

Oregon (female)


Slate-colored (male)

Slate-colored (female)

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eileeninmd said...

Great comparisons of the Juncos. I have only seen two of them.

mick said...

I like the Loon - looks like it is almost standing on water. Good comparison photos of the others.

Felicia said...

I've never seen that many kinds of Juncos in the same place at the same time; not sure how often that happens! It's great that you were there to get pictures!

NatureFootstep said...

well, have no idéa. But they look nice.

Johnny Nutcase said...

Great photos - so many different little juncos. Juncos always make me smile, they're awfully cute little birds :) - Glad you hear you guys had a break in the rain - we just got our sun today!

Rambling Woods said...

Love the loon photo!!! I know there was a discussion on the Project Feeder Watch email list about juncos. I only seen the dark ones. Michelle

Unknown said...

Aren't you a happy camper?
I really wish they would invent the "Scotty beam me up" soon.
That Loon is truly awesome, wonder if he got the name for a certain reason? :)
And I've never seen a Junco.
They look great as well.

Chris Petrak said...

In Arizona last Jan, I saw several varieties of junco - pink, gray, Oregon - sometimes around the same feeder, but I never had the feeling that they were really "together." But I don't have much experience with them - in the NE we only have the slate - this year lots of them. Nice comparison photos.

Kim, USA said...

Hello Bob, first of all I am so thankful you leave a message doon sa shout box ko I do appreaciate it much. Nice meeting you on air hehe. Naku marami ding pinoy bloggers dito. Nakahiligan ko ang photography because I like to commune with nature it is like a therapy to me. I like all your photos, you must have a good lens to capture the birds. I just got my first nikon dslr and I am still learning on it hehe.
Hope to bump you here in blogosphere soon. Regards to your family and God bless!

My Thurs-way

Larry said...

Nice shot of the Red-throated Loon Bob and a super comparison of the different Dark-eyed Juncos. I have never seen the "Pink-sided" subspecies. Very cool!