"Who are those guys anyway?"
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
|Photo: Bufflehead, drab females and striking males, in winter plumage.|
I can identify a Barrow's Goldeneye on the water with some certainty, it's distinctive spots and yellow eye provide major clues. But a quick glance at a black and white pattern on a fast-moving bird in flight might make me think "loon" instead.
Cormorants have a distinctive shape, their silhouette alone identifies them in flight and at rest. There's no question who has claimed the red buoy below as their temporary hangout.
From a distance I still hesitate over some birds that should be easy to name. When seen through a telephoto lens, the vibrant coloration on the head and neck of this bird clearly shows it's a Bufflehead. Sigh. Identification isn't that easy when birds won't stay still.