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°°°°°2020 The Year of the COVID-19

°°°°°The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the breaks on birds trips of all kinds, especially foreign trips. We were restricted to our old southern California faithful’s.
°°°°°The year started on with a January trip to La Jolla Cove for the Brown Pelican in breeding plumage and Torrey Pines Nature Preserve for the wren-tits. Then Maui, Hawaii in February, where we barely made it home before the pandemic struck. This left:
°°°°°Back yard Costa Mesa
°°°°°Back Bay Irvine
°°°°°Bolsa Chica Reserve
°°°°°San Joaquín Reserve
Orange County Zoo
°°°°°Crystal Cove
°°°°°Torrey Pines Nature Preserve
°°°°°La Jolla Cove

°°°°°Even then it was rough going. Both the Reserves were shut down for months at a time. The birds even seemed to sense that something was remiss. Once the reserves reopened there just were not as many birds as in the previous years. All of which left us pining for the development of a vaccine to allow us to travel once again.
°°°°°Those birds for which there is only a single photograph, have been placed into a Single Birds folder. Also, there are a number of non-bird photos, in the Non-birds Photos folder. Plus, our adventures trying to photograph the Neowise Comet. Check them out.

°°°°°One really neat thing I did discover during these shut in times was the existence of a marvelous app called iBirdPhotoSluth. It commandeered the marvels of AI (Artificial intelligence) to identify bird photos. It was necessary to have the photos in the photo section of my iPhone 10. The iPhone does not have telephoto lenses so that would seem to be a problem. It was not. I simply took an iPhone photo of my Sony Mark 10 IV (with great telephotos to 2,800 mm) displayed on my computer screen. The app gives a percent probability for three possible species. Usually one is 99% (wisely never goes to 100%) and xx to 0% for the other two.
°°°°°There were a couple of surprises. There was a photo that just did not seen to be right for what I thought it was. With a 99% certainty iBirdPhotoSluth said that is a Spotted Sandpiper non-breeding. Also, there was a woodpecker on my backyard tree that I was trying to decide whether it was a Downy or a Hairy. iBirdPhotoSluth said you dummy, that is a Nuttall’s. And finally, Barbra Robeson, a bay area back yard photographer like me, asked anybody what a certain bird was. I did not know but iBirdPhotoSluth said it was a Hermit Warbler, a bird I had never seen before. I recommend this app or those of us who are good birders but definitely don’t know everything.

Heermann's Gull-152xSpotted Sandpiper non-beeding-152xRed-Crested Cardinal 152x