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Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






Not sure! I'm in georgia, so I see them pretty often in high heat.

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Cavauro
Jan 9, 2008



Had to tell a guy to stop freaking pishing several months ago because he was going to scare off a different bird. He got really aggro and weird about it, cursing at me in public. Then last week he comes up to me asking where to find a redpoll and I got to tell him what his poor manners were going to get him this time around. Not sure if he didn't remember me or if it was the mask.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Cavauro posted:

Had to tell a guy to stop freaking pishing several months ago because he was going to scare off a different bird. He got really aggro and weird about it, cursing at me in public. Then last week he comes up to me asking where to find a redpoll and I got to tell him what his poor manners were going to get him this time around. Not sure if he didn't remember me or if it was the mask.

Yikes. There are a lot of birding Karens out there, unfortunately.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



I left a Facebook group today because of weirdly aggressive people in it. I would have thought bird watching was like the chillest hobby there is, but it seems it is not.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

That sucks. Online groups can be great for getting help with IDs and learning good places to go. Birders are definitely not monolithic, and sometimes folks assume only their particular brand of birding is important. Add to that the traditional demographic of birders and Fox News viewers is pretty similar, and there's a recipe for occasional disappointment. There's much more one could say about that but I'd rather focus on actual birds...

...like I had a Golden Eagle almost from my yard at the end of last week, so that was cool. Only second time I've seen one from my neighborhood.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



BetterLekNextTime posted:

That sucks. Online groups can be great for getting help with IDs and learning good places to go. Birders are definitely not monolithic, and sometimes folks assume only their particular brand of birding is important. Add to that the traditional demographic of birders and Fox News viewers is pretty similar, and there's a recipe for occasional disappointment. There's much more one could say about that but I'd rather focus on actual birds...

...like I had a Golden Eagle almost from my yard at the end of last week, so that was cool. Only second time I've seen one from my neighborhood.

Thanks. Yeah I understand. It was just my first time reaching out for help. wanted to know what something was and it was a bit of knock to be yelled at for not being able to differentiate two identical looking birds. Felt like an avian helldump. my partner had a much nicer time asking on a webforum. perhaps my mistake was talking to a facebook group.

I saw three new birds yesterday, which was cool, but my highlight was seeing this little stonechat taking a lovely bath.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


There's definitely clique in birdwatching of old guys who like to show off, look down on newbies and mansplain. Sooner or later you'll come across some in bird hides. There's also a large cross over with people who see it more as a competitive collecting ticks game; there' not there for a nice chill in the countryside.

That said, I'd go with somewhere like Birdforum over facebook.

BeastOfExmoor
Aug 19, 2003

I will be gone, but not forever.


Tears In A Vial posted:

Thanks. Yeah I understand. It was just my first time reaching out for help. wanted to know what something was and it was a bit of knock to be yelled at for not being able to differentiate two identical looking birds. Felt like an avian helldump. my partner had a much nicer time asking on a webforum. perhaps my mistake was talking to a facebook group.

I saw three new birds yesterday, which was cool, but my highlight was seeing this little stonechat taking a lovely bath.

Your experience seemed really off to me, but given the bird you posted I wonder if location has something to do with it. Are you in the UK? My understanding from talking to UK birders is there's more of a culture of elitism there, especially regarding IDs. Apparently, for instance, it's a big faux pas to carry a field guide when out birding.

I've had good luck with this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BirdIDgroupoftheworld

There's another group run by the American Birding Association that's: https://www.facebook.com/groups/whatsthisbird
It's focused more on North America, but questions from around the world are allowed.

The only time I've seen people get a bit aggravated are when people get adamant about wrong-IDs or refuse to accept a correct ID.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/31/twitching-british-birdwatching-wild-side

This '96 documentary is about some of the same guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9K_KLueFR0#t=1s

It's fair to say that the Evans guy is a somewhat divisive character...

BeastOfExmoor
Aug 19, 2003

I will be gone, but not forever.


Pablo Bluth posted:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/31/twitching-british-birdwatching-wild-side

This '96 documentary is about some of the same guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9K_KLueFR0#t=1s

It's fair to say that the Evans guy is a somewhat divisive character...

The 2013 doc is on YouTube as well. It's...something.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tj0bxBC-TE

FWIW, I'm friends with many British expats and birded with more and they've all been super nice and chill so I've always assumed a lot of the bad culture is from a small portion of the birders.

waffy
Oct 31, 2010


BeastOfExmoor posted:

The only time I've seen people get a bit aggravated are when people get adamant about wrong-IDs or refuse to accept a correct ID.

Same here. I was also surprised by what OP described. Like, I can't really imagine someone just asking, "hey, what's this bird?" and getting aggression back. I could believe getting condescension from someone, since bird people can be jerks like anyone else (like, "heh, you really didn't know that?"), but in my experience it's not normal. In FB groups I usually see the opposite - lots of people eager to ID something, even if 20 people before them did already. Which is also consistent with my personal experience. I, and I think many birders, am a huge nerd and absolutely love when someone asks me what a bird is or how to differentiate different species. I have at times been intimidated around people much more experienced than me, and felt like I didn't want to say something dumb around them, but for me it's been completely self-inflicted by insecurity and not actually reinforced by how people have actually acted toward me.

Usually if I see people get heated in bird groups, it's due to one of these reasons:
1. Someone refusing to admit their wrong ID (like previously mentioned)
2. A debate over a more typical controversial issue, like hunting or birding ethics
3. Asking in a place not intended for that (like going into a group intended only for reporting rarities and posting about all the common birds you saw in your backyard that morning)

But yeah, facebook, who knows what you might run into. Just the other day I saw a post about bird feeding turn into an all-caps shouting match. Person 1 lamented seeing a hawk pick off a bird at her feeder and wanted to know how to shoo the hawks away. Person 2 said that the raptors need to eat too and that it's unethical to keep them away. Person 1 said it's their feeder, their yard, and they didn't want to see it. Person 2 disagreed. And from there, whoo boy, they sure got into it.

Lawson
Apr 21, 2006

You're right, I agree.

Total Clam

Depending on your own social inclinations, there is also always inaturalist.org where people will trip over themselves to identify any blurry bird picture with minimal socializing. Plants and bugs and other things too, but birds get instant attention.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



Yeah I'm in the UK. I posted a picture of a little brown bird, a decent picture tbf, and the group were pretty split on what it was.

One guy said it was one thing, another guy said it was something else and asked for more photos. I posted more photos and the first guy came back and said he already told me what it was and that if I wasn't willing to learn maybe bird watching wasn't for me.

I dunno. Prolly just that one dude, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Dumb Sex-Parrot
Dec 24, 2020

bird/bird


I've heard of people getting literal death threats for wrong IDs. It's a crazy birding world out there.

Enfys
Feb 17, 2013

i am a dragon


Lawson posted:

Depending on your own social inclinations, there is also always inaturalist.org where people will trip over themselves to identify any blurry bird picture with minimal socializing. Plants and bugs and other things too, but birds get instant attention.

My kind of group


Dumb Sex-Parrot posted:

I've heard of people getting literal death threats for wrong IDs. It's a crazy birding world out there.

Uh

Owlkill
Jul 1, 2009


Is it possible to get a camera that would be decent enough for zoom shots of garden birds for less than around £200 (roughly $275)?

I don't mind buying secondhand and I know that for that sort of money I won't be getting anything near professional results, but I was wondering if it's possible to get a step up from phone camera shots at that sort of price point.

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Owlkill posted:

Is it possible to get a camera that would be decent enough for zoom shots of garden birds for less than around £200 (roughly $275)?

I don't mind buying secondhand and I know that for that sort of money I won't be getting anything near professional results, but I was wondering if it's possible to get a step up from phone camera shots at that sort of price point.

The real budget option might be to get a cheap spotting scope (e.g. Celestron c90) and rig your phone up to it somehow.

Here's an example:
https://youtu.be/2pMoBcorGAI

Obviously there are issues with the setup there, but lots of the are surmountable. You can also get a £10 adapter to connect it to old Nikon DSLR bodies if you can get one cheap.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



Saw a Marsh Harrier today I'm pretty sure. Will check the pics later. Was really exciting. Watched it for about an hour probably. Think that was my fourth bird of prey this year, which is very cool, because before I started actively looking for birds I only ever saw one kind of BoP.

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Tears In A Vial posted:

Saw a Marsh Harrier today I'm pretty sure. Will check the pics later. Was really exciting. Watched it for about an hour probably. Think that was my fourth bird of prey this year, which is very cool, because before I started actively looking for birds I only ever saw one kind of BoP.

Wow that's super cool, I'm jealous. I've only seen kites in the UK since I started birding.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



pointsofdata posted:

Wow that's super cool, I'm jealous. I've only seen kites in the UK since I started birding.

I love the Kites. When I moved into West London, they were really rare, now they're everywhere. They're really exciting to watch.

Dumb Sex-Parrot
Dec 24, 2020

bird/bird



I'm a bit hazy on where I heard it, I think it was in an interview with a member of the Danish Ornithologist Association, https://www.dof.dk/en. He was part of a panel of experts that handles rare bird sightings which are published once a year. People can report sightings of rare birds, but in cases where the sightings cannot be completely verified, they are rejected. Some people do not take this very well.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Owlkill posted:

Is it possible to get a camera that would be decent enough for zoom shots of garden birds for less than around £200 (roughly $275)?

I don't mind buying secondhand and I know that for that sort of money I won't be getting anything near professional results, but I was wondering if it's possible to get a step up from phone camera shots at that sort of price point.

The digiscoping solution pointsofdata recommends is definitely a thing, and heck, maybe a good solution if you are always shooting from one window at a couple of feeders or branches (just make sure the minimum focus of the scope is short enough to actually view things in your garden). Most of the uses I've seen for that are for more distant slow moving or perched birds where you'd normally be using a scope anyway, things like raptors, shorebirds, ducks, etc. The magnification power of the scopes comes at a cost of portability and maneuverability.

I think there might have been some super sales for lower end dslr kits last holiday season that fit in your range? I'm not seeing those now, for example, the Canon t7 kit with the tele zoom lens is about twice your limit now. If you were careful you could probably get an old DSLR with a zoom lens that's 200 or 300mm at the long end. This would get you in the door, but if you get into bird photography more than just birds in your garden it's likely you'll outgrow this.

Another option would be a used bridge/superzoom point and shoot. Compared to the low end DSLR and (relatively) short zoom, you'd get more zoom/reach this way but the image sensors in these older cameras will be a step down.

Not sure what I'd recommend under this price constraint.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


Owlkill posted:

Is it possible to get a camera that would be decent enough for zoom shots of garden birds for less than around £200 (roughly $275)?

I don't mind buying secondhand and I know that for that sort of money I won't be getting anything near professional results, but I was wondering if it's possible to get a step up from phone camera shots at that sort of price point.
I think it'll have to be second-hand. I'm not aware of anything going at that new that has the telephoto nature in the price-range.

Option one would be a user DSLR and lens setup. However you will be hitting the limit of what is possible; mainly because of the lens. You can get an early DSLR body for not very much (a 2008 Canon EOS 40D is now 89. It's only 10 megapixels and it's features don't compare to modern offerings but people used them to take great photos back then and you can still use them to take great photos now). However longer telephoto lenses haven't fallen so far. A Canon EF 75-300 which is the very entry level telephoto option is still 275. However they do have a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS, Canon EF Fit for 149. So You could do a 40D + Sigma 70-300 for 238. There would be absolutely nothing fancy about that setup but you'd be on the journey of becoming a bird photographer.

Superzoom bridge cameras have come a long way and I think they actually make more sense for birders who want record shots of distant birds. People tend to think that 'big cameras' like DSLRS are better for 'zooming in on distant objects' but they're actually more about better quality at near or middle distances. It's easier for small-sensor cameras like bridge-cameras to provide high levels of magnification in a camera that doesn't weight so much you leave it at home. One of the problems with bridge cameras ten years ago was a tendency to offer headline specs but provide an underwhelming user experience (slow CPUs etc) and weak quality (lenses that had a lot of magnification but poor quality, and poor low-light sensor performance). If you go that route I'd definitely research user reviews on the specific model you're looking at.

There's not such a big second hand market but you could try to track down something like a Fujifilm HS50EXR
https://www.flickr.com/groups/2155651@N24/pool/

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



I'm not an expert, but you could easily pick up a second hand DSLR body and off-brand second hand 300mm lens in that budget. in the UK check https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/ and https://www.camerajungle.co.uk/



My second hand sigma 500mm was just 300 and I love it. It's not going to win me any photography awards, but I get some nice stuff out of it.

Tears In A Vial fucked around with this message at 18:52 on Feb 4, 2021

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


Tears In A Vial posted:

My second hand sigma 500mm was just 300 and I love it. It's not going to win me any photography awards, but I get some nice stuff out of it.
Which sigma 500 goes for 300?

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



Pablo Bluth posted:

Which sigma 500 goes for 300?

I got a second hand Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG, Canon EF Fit for 310 in January 2018.

Is that unusual? I'm not hugely knowledgeable.

Edit: It was from MPB.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


Tears In A Vial posted:

I got a second hand Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG, Canon EF Fit for 310 in January 2018.

Is that unusual? I'm not hugely knowledgeable.

Edit: It was from MPB.
No idea, my knowledge of sigma lenses and their resale value is limited.

BeastOfExmoor
Aug 19, 2003

I will be gone, but not forever.


Owlkill posted:

Is it possible to get a camera that would be decent enough for zoom shots of garden birds for less than around £200 (roughly $275)?

I don't mind buying secondhand and I know that for that sort of money I won't be getting anything near professional results, but I was wondering if it's possible to get a step up from phone camera shots at that sort of price point.

The Canon/Panasonic/Nikon superzoom cameras are all perfectly capable of this. Feature increases have been fairly minimal in recent years, so a model a year or two old can take pretty similar photos to this years model.

BetterLekNextTime posted:

I think there might have been some super sales for lower end dslr kits last holiday season that fit in your range?

I didn't consider DSLR, but if you were able to find a cheap used Canon body and a cheap EF-S 55-250mm STM lens, that's also an excellent combo that might come close to your price range and give you more flexibility for upgrade in the future.

waffy
Oct 31, 2010


For what it's worth, I have a superzoom camera (Canon Powershot SX60) that I bought refurbished a few years ago, and I've been happy with it. That type of camera is never going to deliver the same quality as a DSLR, and it's never going to be the most compact thing either, but I still think it makes sense as long as it matches your priorities. For me, I wanted to take documentation shots of birds that I could go review later, or attach to eBird checklists, and I wanted something flexible enough to get me a lot of zoom without being unwieldy and annoying to take places. I don't usually spend time trying to get the best quality shot possible or messing with adjustments, and I still end up with some that I find surprisingly good even without trying, at least to my fairly untrained eye. I'm sure they'd be even better in the hands of someone who cares more and has the photos as the main goal.

Although, I'll admit I haven't kept up to date the models and pricing of these. I suspect that all the suggestions here would be great for your use case as long as you can find them in your price range.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



Caught a Meadow Pipit in a superhero pose



And after checking the pictures, I'm happy with the Marsh Harrier identification yesterday



Tears In A Vial fucked around with this message at 13:32 on Feb 5, 2021

Owlkill
Jul 1, 2009


Thanks to all who responded with camera advice. On consideration I think I'm leaning towards a secondhand/refurbed superzoom/bridge for the moment as it would also be handy to have something to take out and about to get shots for IDing later - I don't tend to bother much with birds in flight even with my binoculars so I'll be mostly shooting stationery or birds on the ground/water.

Perhaps if I get the bug I'll look at something a bit more advanced but for now I think that would suit my purposes fine!

Enfys
Feb 17, 2013

i am a dragon


I've made myself sad trying to work out when the last time I saw a greenfinch in the garden.

Even 2-3 years ago I'd still get a few but not anymore

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Enfys posted:

I've made myself sad trying to work out when the last time I saw a greenfinch in the garden.

Even 2-3 years ago I'd still get a few but not anymore

I've noticed a big dip in American Goldfinches at my house. Used to be more common than the Lesser Goldfinches but now it's pretty unusual for me to see one. Now there's salmonella that's hitting the irruptive siskin population . I'm not feeding this year but if I were I'd take down my feeders.

In happier news, this is a heads up for the Great Backyard Bird Count coming next weekend (Feb 12-15). It's an easy citizen science project to get involved with to help monitor late winter bird populations. Does not have to be literally in your backyard, just wherever you have a few minutes to look for birds.

Counteresperanto
Jun 14, 2007

Achievement is its' own reward. Pride obscures it.


BetterLekNextTime posted:

I've noticed a big dip in American Goldfinches at my house. Used to be more common than the Lesser Goldfinches but now it's pretty unusual for me to see one. Now there's salmonella that's hitting the irruptive siskin population . I'm not feeding this year but if I were I'd take down my feeders.

In happier news, this is a heads up for the Great Backyard Bird Count coming next weekend (Feb 12-15). It's an easy citizen science project to get involved with to help monitor late winter bird populations. Does not have to be literally in your backyard, just wherever you have a few minutes to look for birds.

Do regular eBird checklists count towards the Backyard Bird Count? What about events like Big Days, Christmas Bird Count, Feederwatch or others? It seems to me that ordinary checklists count towards some special counts but not others, and I can ever seem to keep it straight.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Counteresperanto posted:

Do regular eBird checklists count towards the Backyard Bird Count? What about events like Big Days, Christmas Bird Count, Feederwatch or others? It seems to me that ordinary checklists count towards some special counts but not others, and I can ever seem to keep it straight.

As far as I know any complete Ebird checklist of at least 15 minutes in length made during the GBBC period will be automatically included in the GBBC dataset. You don't need to do anything special to become included.

All ebird checklists have the potential to be used in any research using eBird data, although it's more likely if it's a complete checklist with all numerical counts for the species.

The Christmas Bird Count predates eBird and GBBC by many decades, so it's kind of a separate thing, although more and more people are using eBird mobile as a data collection and compiling tool to record CBC data. So I guess potentially the same ebird checklist could become part of the eBird dataset and be folded into a CBC count circle. But if you're just birding outside a circle, or even inside a circle but not coordinating with the CBC compiler, then your ebird list does not count towards the CBC. CBC circles have set routines that they follow to try to ensure people are spread out and covering different areas, so they don't have to figure out of the 8 checklists from a park or hotspot that day how many total birds were there.

Great Backyard Bird Count is an independent winter bird-finding event that can be done anywhere, not just in the predetermined count circles. It's more or less just trying to synchronize as many people to count on the same weekend. Global big day is another one of these, and there are plenty of other more local/regional ones too. Basically "wahoo, let's go birding y'all"

If you're already entering eBird lists then you're way ahead of the game.

BeastOfExmoor
Aug 19, 2003

I will be gone, but not forever.


Tears In A Vial posted:

And after checking the pictures, I'm happy with the Marsh Harrier identification yesterday





I'm no expert on European birds (haven't even ever set foot there, sadly), so grain of salt and all, but I'm getting more of a Buteo family vibe off this one. No obvious facial "disk" like Harriers have, wider wings (front to back), and shorter tail are the field marks I'm seeing. Looks like Common Buzzard is the buteo most likely to be seen in the UK in winter so I'd compare with that, especially if you have more photos.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



BeastOfExmoor posted:

I'm no expert on European birds (haven't even ever set foot there, sadly), so grain of salt and all, but I'm getting more of a Buteo family vibe off this one. No obvious facial "disk" like Harriers have, wider wings (front to back), and shorter tail are the field marks I'm seeing. Looks like Common Buzzard is the buteo most likely to be seen in the UK in winter so I'd compare with that, especially if you have more photos.

Thanks, I'll double check. My partner did compare with the buzzard, but went with the MH in the end There are definitely MHs in the area, so it's not impossible, but we will go back to the photos. Cheers

Owlkill
Jul 1, 2009


BeastOfExmoor posted:

I'm no expert on European birds (haven't even ever set foot there, sadly), so grain of salt and all, but I'm getting more of a Buteo family vibe off this one. No obvious facial "disk" like Harriers have, wider wings (front to back), and shorter tail are the field marks I'm seeing. Looks like Common Buzzard is the buteo most likely to be seen in the UK in winter so I'd compare with that, especially if you have more photos.

Just to chime in as a UK-based frequent buzzard looker-atter this does look quite like a Common Buzzard to me. The colouring on the head and the white on the underside of the wings are what make me think that but happy to be wrong. Beautiful shots nonetheless though. Whereabouts were these taken?

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



We've gone back to the tape and you guys are right. Thanks for the ID! I'll update my list.

Little disappointing, but still a new one this year.

I'll post some more photos when I get back in

I'm in Kent.

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Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


What sort of habitat terrain where you at? Even though vagrants are always a possibility, range and habitant is an important part of narrowing down to likely candidates. Marsh harriers are primarily a wetland species whereas buzzards are more widely distributed.

ebird, BTO's BirdTrack and the BTO's Mapstore (eg Marsh Harrier maps, I find relative abundance the most useful) are all useful resources for understanding range, moreso than the maps typically found in fieldguides.

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