Friday, June 27, 2014

Google Street Maps Birding

I've created a monster.  A nerd monster.  (Instead of terrorizing cities he sits in his mother's cave and plays Basements & Humans).

Occasionally I pass the time slowly scrolling along random streets captured in Google Street View looking for birds.  I'm not proud of it, but as far as Things To Do go it's better than a heroin addition.  I've been able to find a bunch of birds and it's allowed me to travel All Over The WORLD!

There are other images of our world out there on the internet, and one reader, Greg of the Greg and Birds site, has started to find birds in them.  In Google Maps.  Overhead, satellite, far-away images of teeny-tiny birds.  I don't know how he did it, but Greg zoomed way into a lake on the southwest side of Indianapolis (here are the coordinates: 39.851657,-86.302702) and found a ... bird.  I'm not exactly sure what it is.  I captured a screenshot:

Greg suggested Great Egret but the structure doesn't look right.  Maybe its head is tucked up.  The wing shape looks to me more like a gull, but I don't know.  Guesses welcome.

Thank you Greg for this opening up incredible, pathetic new frontier.  God help me when I lose my job for spending the day scanning the backgrounds of real estate photos trying to identify passerines on feeders in the neighbor's yard.  It's an odd world, my friends.


Reader Urs Geider sent in a comment with a link to this screenshot showing 38.872515, -90.172794 (the Riverlands area in Missouri, across the Mississippi from Alton, IL). Looks like American White Pelicans to me!  Awesome!  Thanks, Urs.


John B. said...

I would guess it's a gull, but it's hard to get anything definitive from that image.

Greg M. said...

Thanks for the best/worst plug ever! In my defense, I was actually looking up directions and decided to zoom in on the bird-looking dot on the map. Okay, back to Basements and Humans!

Urs Geiser said...

You can see a flock of large white waterbirds, most likely American White Pelicans, taking to the air at 38.872515°, -90.172794° (Riverlands area in Missouri, across the Mississippi from Alton, IL).

There used to be a V of flying birds visible over Lake Senachwine (Putnam Co., IL), but they recently updated the imagery, and the birds are gone.

NickL said...

Intruiging, Urs! I don't see the flock, can you post a screenshot?

Urs Geiser said...

You have to zoom in to almost maximum to see them. Here is a link to a screenshot.

NickL said...

Awesome! Great work, Urs! I agree that they're probably White Pelicans.

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