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Tags bird watching , birders , birds , ornithology

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Old 23rd May 2012, 07:47 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Kotatsu View Post
Enormously jealous. I have wanted to see this species for years, but I've never had the opportunity to be in the area where it lives...
I'm not positive that it was a Heermann's. It was an unusually dark gull, but I couldn't get near it; the pictures I took were backlit so it's hard to judge the beak colors. Going through Sibley's, the Heermann's gull looked like the most likely match, and I am in their range, so I can make a decent case for it, but I can't be certain like I am for most of the others.
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Old 27th May 2012, 11:39 AM   #122
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Here's a picture of some Mute Swan cygnets seen today in Hampshire, UK
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Old 28th May 2012, 12:34 PM   #123
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I don't really know anything about birds but I just set up an automatic bird camera in my backyard yesterday and had a couple of decent pics this morning. I'd never spotted one of these in the neighborhood. Is that a cardinal? I'm used to them being redder and having the pointy crest. Maybe this is a female?





Here is the feeder/camera setup.
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Old 28th May 2012, 12:59 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Zax63 View Post
I don't really know anything about birds but I just set up an automatic bird camera in my backyard yesterday and had a couple of decent pics this morning. I'd never spotted one of these in the neighborhood. Is that a cardinal? I'm used to them being redder and having the pointy crest.
It sure looks like a cardinal to me. The wings and back are often a bit more drab than the front. I think the crest is merely folded down

Quote:
Maybe this is a female?
No, this is a male. The females are mostly brown.
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Old 28th May 2012, 03:33 PM   #125
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He is molting on his head as well, which might be part of why his crest isn't so cresty. At least he isn't one of the ones whose head feathers all drop at once (or one with mites), leaving a disgusting, vulture-looking songbird. With a sunflower seed feeder, you'll be seeing him plenty.
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Old 28th May 2012, 04:19 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
He is molting on his head as well, which might be part of why his crest isn't so cresty. At least he isn't one of the ones whose head feathers all drop at once (or one with mites), leaving a disgusting, vulture-looking songbird.
Like these?


Taken a few years ago in Ohio. It seemed like all the cardinals in the area were affected. Fortunately, the population seems to have recovered.
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Old 28th May 2012, 05:38 PM   #127
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Yep. Apparently it can be caused either by mites or by genetics. There are some birds that lose all of their head feathers at one time when they molt and others who lose them gradually. I can see how losing them all might help with parasites, since they can effectively preen the rest of their bodies, losing all of their head feathers might be advantageous in that it periodically removes the last place feather mites can live. Apparently blue jays get this as well, but the color difference for cardinals is striking. They're like Skeksis.
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Old 28th May 2012, 06:36 PM   #128
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Thanks for the info, people. Very interesting.
I've been second guessing myself on the sunflower seeds. Would I get a wider variety of birds with a mixed bird seed? LOL, I guess I could give it more than one day.
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Old 28th May 2012, 07:30 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Zax63 View Post
Thanks for the info, people. Very interesting.
I've been second guessing myself on the sunflower seeds. Would I get a wider variety of birds with a mixed bird seed? LOL, I guess I could give it more than one day.
You'll probably get a better variety with mixed seed, yes.

Another possibility is suet. My mother lives in Ohio, so she probably has about the same backyard birds as you, and the she puts out both mixed seed and suet. The suet attracts very different birds, including nuthatches and woodpeckers. I grew up there and didn't know those birds were around until I saw them going for the suet.

May also depend on how much you want to spend on the neighborhood birds.
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:39 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Like these?
http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/...G_1874crop.jpg

Taken a few years ago in Ohio. It seemed like all the cardinals in the area were affected. Fortunately, the population seems to have recovered.

I have a pair that come to my feeder that look like that. The female has just a couple of her crest feathers. Looks like a little plume hat.
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Old 28th May 2012, 09:07 PM   #131
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Nuthatches will go for sunflower seeds too. The main problem with going for mixed seed is that you'll wind up getting swarmed by house sparrows along with the birds you'd actually like to see. At least that has been my experience. You will get a wider variety of birds with a wider variety of food for sure though. I get a lot of woodpeckers eating the peanuts out of the mix that I use.
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Old 30th May 2012, 11:19 AM   #132
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I got to go birdwatching for the first time in about a month. I managed to miss the vast majority of the migration season, but still got to see a few warblers around today.

The high point was watching a pair of tree swallows play with a feather. One would carry a piece of fuzz up about 30 feet, then drop it. It would float down toward the water's surface, then at the very last second the other swallow would swoop in and snatch it out of the air. This went on for a good 10 minutes before one of them let it hit the water and the game ended. I've never seen small wild birds play like that. If it had been crows or someone's parrot maybe, but swallows?
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Old 30th May 2012, 11:57 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
The main problem with going for mixed seed is that you'll wind up getting swarmed by house sparrows along with the birds you'd actually like to see. At least that has been my experience.
Yeah, that's my experience too. ~95% of the birds that I get with mixed seed are English sparrows, house finches, or rock doves. And of those, the sparrows and doves aren't even native species.

Aside from those 3 species, I get the occasional scrub jay, white-crowned sparrow, or other varieties of dove/pigeon. I sometimes see other species in my yard (mockingbirds, black phoebes, crows, starlings, blue-gray gnatcatchers, hummingbirds, and that sharp-shinned hawk. Once I saw a parakeet. Seagulls frequently fly over, but never land) but they don't seem interested in the feeder.
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Old 30th May 2012, 03:56 PM   #134
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Killdeer, central Illinois, USA...


Just because I got a pretty decent photo a couple days ago.
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Old 30th May 2012, 05:36 PM   #135
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A couple of different birds caught on the camera. Let's see if my ID's, using the Birds Of Pennsylvania Field Guide by Stan Tekiela, are correct.

Male & female House Finch?


Male House Sparrow?


Whatever they are they emptied the feeder today.

Anyone interested in seeing the highlights of the birdcam is welcome to visit my Birdcam Photobucket Album.
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Old 30th May 2012, 06:52 PM   #136
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Spot on. Your second picture on page 2 is worth taking a look at as well. You've got a bunch of juvenile house sparrows there. You can see that at least one of them is taking its own seed, but it also looks like one is peeping to be fed still. The parents pick up the seed and stick it into the baby's mouth, even though it's perfectly capable of doing the job itself. I always find that amusing when I see it.

Glad to see that you're enjoying it.

ETA: Other birds you might keep an eye out for, especially on the ground under the feeder, are mourning doves, blue jays, cowbirds, starlings, and grackles. The smaller birds often dig out a bunch of seeds then the larger birds wind up cleaning up their mess below.
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Old 5th June 2012, 11:54 AM   #137
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Walking down the street today, I got "swooshed" by a couple of ravens, making a lot of noise!
Looking around I saw a juvenile in a pine tree..apparently on its first trip away from the nest.
The older birds were quite agitated, one was tearing the ends off the branch it was sitting on, and tossing them at me.
One actually hit me!
I'd seen the same behavior a year ago, but the close passes overhead from behind were new.
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File Type: jpg JuvenileRaven-060512-01.jpg (38.8 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg JuvenileRaven-060512-02.jpg (134.5 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg JuvenileRaven-060512-03.jpg (49.5 KB, 0 views)
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Old 5th June 2012, 05:28 PM   #138
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The adult birds are not flying aggressively now, but when I walk near the tree where the juvenile is, the adults fly in from someplace and watch me.
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Old 5th June 2012, 09:03 PM   #139
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A Virginia Rail came out of the grass during my walk Sunday at Tualatin NWR in Sherwood Oregon. Stood around just long enough for me to snap this.


Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

Last edited by Humanzee; 5th June 2012 at 09:34 PM. Reason: stupid syntax
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Old 5th June 2012, 09:36 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Humanzee View Post
A Virginia Rail came out of the grass during my walk Sunday at Tualatin NWR in Sherwood Oregon. Stood around just long enough for me to snap this.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...pictureid=6193
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
Neat!
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Old 5th June 2012, 11:24 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
Walking down the street today, I got "swooshed" by a couple of ravens, making a lot of noise!
Looking around I saw a juvenile in a pine tree..apparently on its first trip away from the nest.
The older birds were quite agitated, one was tearing the ends off the branch it was sitting on, and tossing them at me.
One actually hit me!
I'd seen the same behavior a year ago, but the close passes overhead from behind were new.
Very interesting. That's got me looking through Raven behavior links. Thanks!
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Old 5th June 2012, 11:27 PM   #142
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Also spotted this pair of (I think) young Mourning Doves in, what seems to me, a very small nest.


Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Tualatin NWR, Sherwood OR

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Old 5th June 2012, 11:32 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Neat!
I have been looking all year with no luck then one just walks out of the grass right in front of me. I agree, neat!
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Old 6th June 2012, 05:27 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by Humanzee View Post
A Virginia Rail came out of the grass during my walk Sunday at Tualatin NWR in Sherwood Oregon. Stood around just long enough for me to snap this.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...pictureid=6193
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

Nice. I've never seen a Virginia Rail, but I have seen a Sora Rail. Love those oversize feet!
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Old 6th June 2012, 05:36 AM   #145
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Yesterday we had the good fortune to spot this Little Green Heron...


ETA: Central Illinois, USA.

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Old 6th June 2012, 05:42 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
Nice. I've never seen a Virginia Rail, but I have seen a Sora Rail. Love those oversize feet!
I've only seen one sora live, in the wild. I had no idea what it was at the time, but manged to get a couple of pictures and then figured it out later. I always kinda keep an eye out for them now, when I'm in the right sorts of places, but haven't bumped into one since.
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Old 6th June 2012, 09:22 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Humanzee View Post
Very interesting. That's got me looking through Raven behavior links. Thanks!
.
One of them would also attack the roofs of the house it was sitting on, stabbing the shingles with its beak when I got close.
Couple years back, a raven I named "Notchwing" for a missing feather would fly to me from wherever it spotted walking out back, sometimes a 1/4 mile away, and just scream at me and make passes... always from behind... .. he was having a lot of fun.
I told the neighborhood kids to watch over there in 20 minutes.. walked out to where I told them to look, and Notchwing did his thing. We all enjoyed it.
He vanished.. the same time I saw some new fired shotgun shells out there.
I guess some brave sportsman got scared that a bird was going to carry him off.
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Old 6th June 2012, 11:45 AM   #148
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Here's one of the ravens attacking the shingles on a roof, when I get near the juvenile bird...
.
A video of the raven tossing branches at me...
http://youtu.be/TO4BU09qvX8
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Old 9th June 2012, 06:59 PM   #149
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There's two families of ravens that get excited when I take a walk outside.
One has two adults and a juvenile... this is the branch tossers.
The other has a single adult and a juvenile.
I had thought these were the first bunch I'd seen that day, and had moved, but it is two bunches.
Both noisy, the juvenile for the second bunch likes the passes from behind, and flares up and away when I turn to look at it...
Both sets can be relied on to fly around and make noise when I get close.
They ignore other people walking, just come around me.
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Old 13th June 2012, 03:35 PM   #150
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Female Little Crake Porzana parva, at Clovelly Wetlands, near Cape Town South Africa.

First record for South Africa and first south of the Equator since a record from Zambia in 1980; given the number of people who saw it and photographs (none by me sadly) is likely to be accepted Birdlife SA rarities committee.

Had some excellent views of it in the open, displaying very un-crakelike behaviour. Wikipedia's abbreviated entry describes it as 'very secretive", which it definitely wasn't. Can anyone expand?
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Old 14th June 2012, 02:44 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Kotatsu View Post
(I think this is Zanzibar Red Bishop Euplectes nigriventis, but I'm not sure. This field had at least six different Euplectes species, plus a lot of other stuff... The only lice I collected in Tanzania came from a Speckeld Mousebird Colius striatus. The louse was a Colimenopon hamatus.)
Definitely a breeding male bishop. Not a Euplectes commonly referred to as a widowbird. Not (Northern or Southern) Red Bishop. What are your other options, with regard to location and habitat?
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Old 16th June 2012, 11:27 AM   #152
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Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), common in most of North America from the state of Washington, east to Maine, and south to Georgia. They winter mostly in the Caribbean and along the Gulf of Mexico from Florida all the way down to Panama. This one was seen this morning in central Illinois.

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Old 20th June 2012, 05:17 AM   #153
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Another what the $#*( is that bird this morning:

Naturally being small and quick, I only had a moment to get this image.



It appears to have spots on its chest, perhaps indicating a young bird of some kind. Could it be a type of Bunting? A Finch? It's head was really red.

Well, it probably still is, but it was a chew and screw type of visit. This is the only image I could get.



Hard to see but there is a bit of spotting going on like a baby robin would look like. But clearly it's not a robin!
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Old 20th June 2012, 06:00 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
Another what the $#*( is that bird this morning:

Naturally being small and quick, I only had a moment to get this image.

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q.../whoisthat.jpg

It appears to have spots on its chest, perhaps indicating a young bird of some kind. Could it be a type of Bunting? A Finch? It's head was really red.

Well, it probably still is, but it was a chew and screw type of visit. This is the only image I could get.

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q...that_small.jpg

Hard to see but there is a bit of spotting going on like a baby robin would look like. But clearly it's not a robin!

Looks like a House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus).

ETA: Here's the write-up at Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

There is another bird called a Purple Finch which looks similar. It probably wouldn't show much or any of the streaking/spotting you've described. It also tends to be a little more raspberry colored while the House Finch has a slightly orange tint. The color difference can be pretty subtle, but your photo seems to be in good light, so I'm confident it's a House Finch.

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Old 20th June 2012, 06:32 AM   #155
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I don't think so... I dunno.

There was an awful lot of yellow on this guy. Again, hard to tell because they never just sit there and let me get a good photo. But the chest was very yellow. You can sort of see a "V" where the neck meets the chest that I've not seen on a house finch before.
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Old 20th June 2012, 06:42 AM   #156
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Immature Summer Tanager!

that's a life bird for me!! Right there at the feeder. Imagine that.

It looks a bit more like a Western Tanager, but given the range, I'd go with Summer. Even though they apparently are much further south than Massachuetts.

Either way, it's a hellova sighting!


.......My first Summer Tanager on the first day of Summer.

synchronicity!
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Last edited by NoahFence; 20th June 2012 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 20th June 2012, 03:33 PM   #157
EHocking
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Originally Posted by Quietus View Post
Definitely a breeding male bishop. Not a Euplectes commonly referred to as a widowbird. Not (Northern or Southern) Red Bishop. What are your other options, with regard to location and habitat?
I'd go with Zanzibar Red Bishop Euplectes nigroventris
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Old 21st June 2012, 02:20 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo...m/25AB7365.jpg

Immature Summer Tanager!

that's a life bird for me!! Right there at the feeder. Imagine that.

It looks a bit more like a Western Tanager, but given the range, I'd go with Summer. Even though they apparently are much further south than Massachuetts.

Either way, it's a hellova sighting!


.......My first Summer Tanager on the first day of Summer.

synchronicity!
A Western Tanager has a much smaller patch of red on the head, and has dark wings with white bars, so I'm sure it wasn't a Western Tanager. The Western Tanager is a beautiful bird, usually seen in mountain areas of Western US. Most I have seen have been in Ponderosa Pine forest.

Last edited by CORed; 21st June 2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 21st June 2012, 10:16 PM   #159
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The yellow and the beak sure throw me off if that is a House Finch. However, I am truly unexperienced and shouldnt de-lurk to comment. Hopefully it will be back for a glamour shot.


Orange-crowned Warbler, Sauvie Island, OR. First time that I, on hearing a song, knew there was a bird I hadn't seen before and I needed to find it. Snapped this crummy shot.

I'll fess up to using I-Bird to ID the song.

Last edited by Humanzee; 21st June 2012 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 21st June 2012, 10:27 PM   #160
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Really nice shot Gray Catbird photo, btw!

Last edited by Humanzee; 21st June 2012 at 10:29 PM.
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