Monday, August 3, 2009

Dreambirds of Fancy

My middle brother, Jarrod, teases me about being the obsessed birder I am. Typically, he asks if a certain species is on my lifelist - inevitably an absurd name he makes up. What he comes up with is hilarious, so I share the laugh. How downright goofy official bird names can seem reminds of a recent dreambirding first. All species I dreamed of were fantastical, made up... loosely based in reality. A bit ironic that only now are these dreams drifting away from reality, eh? Regarding these new "species", I'm going to let it all hang out and make up some names for them... where's Jarrod when I need him?

Slice of the Texas "Hill Country" - a common sight west of Fredericksburg

I was birding in the "Hill Country" of central TX with my long-time, real-life, friend Shawn Ashbaugh. The landscape was Live Oak savannah; a sight most prevalent west of Fredericksburg. I was in the open when Shawn called to me with a find. In the dream, this bird was a vagrant from northern Mexico. Nice going Shawn! Beautifully colored was this songbird, and like most others, very active - so not the best look. Head was probably green, though not brightly so. Back/scapulars were a cobalt blue, edging of the secondaries grass green and the rump an electric violet-purple. Tail feathers were also edged with green. Que linda! I'll call this one the - "Violet-rumped Leafbird". Of real-world species, it most resembled a mashup of...

Emerald Tanager (Tangara florida)


immature passerine from american tropics, yet to be re-identified

= "Violet-rumped Leafbird"

Time with this exquisite little one was all too brief, as it soon disappeared into the canopy for good. Immediately upon turning around, I spotted a second fantasy bird - perched nearby on a low branch. Resembling a European Robin, it looked much more like a Catharus thrush (e.g. Swainson's) with the robin's unmistakable auburn frontside. "Orange-breasted Confusing-Thrush" sounds about right to me.

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)


Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

= "Orange-breasted Confusing-Thrush"

The last bird caught my eye as it flushed from branches to my right. It wasn't "ugly", per se, but it definitely looked like evolution gone a little wrong. As with the other birds, the view was exceedingly brief. This guy gave the added challenge of being on the wing. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. This gem looked like the visual hybrid of a Worm-eating Warbler and a Short-eared Owl. I like the way "Short-eared Worm-eating Owl" sounds so I'll stick with that moniker.

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus)


Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

= "Short-eared Worm-eating Owl"

I dig the novelty of these dreamcreatures, if only because they're birds. Truth be known, though, the more bizarre a dream is the more unsettled it makes me. Feedback always welcome...


Anonymous said...

wow... I've never seen an owl fly like that, or such nice colors on those tiny birds. very nice work. how beautiful =)

Cami said...

I like the idea of the mashup. funny.


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