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von Humboldt

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Everything posted by von Humboldt

  1. The first sentence should read "The upper left duck"
  2. The upper right duck is a male (yellow bill). You can see that the tail feather has a very slight upward turn. This means there are mallard genes in its ancestry as a mottled duck's tail feathers should be straight. The gape spot is not a real good identifier for pure mottled as most hybrids have them. A small deformed gape spot is usually an indicator of mallard ancestry but a perfectly formed one does not mean it's pure mottled. The female appears to be rather light-colored but that's probably just the sun. There really needs to be a photograph directly from the side so you can clearly see the gape spot and the length of the eyeline . This one appears to have a short eyeline which would indicate pure mottled. The eyeline length is one of the better indicators of a pure mottled as they stop just behind the eye and a mallards almost reaches the dark feathers on the back of nape.
  3. Assuming they're smaller and short neck, stubby bill at an angle to the forehead means Cackling.
  4. I feel comfortable calling that a comic book ivory bill.
  5. While it's too blurry for a positive identification. Two of the ducks, in the lower right-hand side of the photo, are so small they must be green winged teal.
  6. The two birds in the first picture are definitely mallards. The one on the right with the yellow bill is a male in eclipse plumage or possibly a juvenile. The second picture – the three birds in front are mallards as you can clearly see white tails on all of them. I'm unsure of the bird in the back as you cannot see the tale or shape due to the shadows and the bill sure looks solid black. It's probably a female juvenile mallard whose bill is just starting to turn, but I can't eliminate teal. Maybe others can point out something distinctive in that bird to say why it is a mallard.
  7. I believe you can see enough red on the on the forehead to say it's a male red-bellied.
  8. Agree they're mallards. They're going through eclipse plumage and that's probably what's making them look odd to you. Definitely males with that bill color. The bills not as bright now as it will be in the winter and especially spring breeding. The one on the left may be a first year duck as his bill does look pretty drab.
  9. Charlie, I see orange legs and I believe a hint of a speculum, so I'll have to respectfully disagree.
  10. I let them live in my chimneys since I moved out into the country 30 years ago. Watching a large flock of swifts circle and circle a chimney for 10 – 15 minutes then enter the chimney is one of the great sights in birding.
  11. I can't hear your file but those are almost surely just hatched Chimney Swifts. I don't know of any other bird that hangs out in chimneys and this is the time of year for the young to be crying for food. The adults have been in the chimney longer than a couple of weeks but they don't make near as much noise. Go outside and watch the top of the chimney about 30 minutes before sunset until near dark and you should see adult Chimney Swifts entering.
  12. I agree these are juvenile mallards just coming into adult plumage and bill color. Probably all from the same brood due to behavior and apparently being the same age.
  13. Nice gape spot + short eyeline. Very thin white bars on speculum. I agree it's pure mottled duck. The light coloration on the tail is due to wear this time of year and is not a true white like a female mallard would have. Also, in Florida the female can have a bill that is anything from dull olive to indistinguishable from a female mallard.
  14. I used to fish on a large reservoir where there were several eagles and ospreys. You can always tell them apart when carrying a fish even at a distance. An Osprey carries the fish parallel to the body, an eagle carries their fish perpendicular.
  15. I believe it is only immature sharp-shinned that has the white spots, so that would be my guess.
  16. I just reread Tony's article. I'm going to number the photographs attached to your last post 1-4 from top to bottom. One and two are the same bird. The shadows make colors difficult to discern, but clearly picture 2 identifies it as a male based on Bill color. The eye line is longer than most pure mottled ducks but may be within the spectrum of length for a mottled duck. The gape spot is small but according to Tony that doesn't eliminate pure. What I'm saying is both of these markers indicate hybrid but do not positively confirm it. The tail appears to be black on the upper tail coverts with the butt being white on the side and the bottom. These are the colors of a male mallard, so assuming I'm seeing the correct colors that eliminates any chance of a pure mottled duck. However, it's unusual to not see any curl in the tail. Picture 4- I still say the duck on the right is probably a pure mottled duck, but need a good picture of the head to confirm.
  17. Are you saying the duck in the first picture on the right, facing almost directly away (I'll call Duck A) from the camera is the same duck that's in the other three pictures? They appear to me to have different colored tails than duck A. The last three pictures appear to show a black top of the butt that would be indicative of a male mallard. Also, the last three pictures appear to show slight variations in bill color and gape spot, is that just the lighting?
  18. You are asking about the duck that is facing away from the camera I assume. The other one (which is also the duck in the second picture I believe) is clearly a male hybrid. I use the following traits in trying to decide if I duck like this is hybrid. Sex determined by Bill color – male of both species should be bright yellow. That bill looks yellow but with angle and lighting I don't know. This time of year (mating season) you expect it to be at its brightest. Eyeline – a mottled duck has a very short one and the mallard's almost touches the the darker feathers at the back of the head. A short eyeline is a good indicator of pure as for some reason any hybridization seems to lengthen it. The duck in the second picture is a good example of an eyeline that is just too long to be pure mottled duck. I can't see any eyeline on the duck in question which I assume must be the result of lighting. Gape spot – A mallard has none. You see any gape spot you know it must have some mottled duck genes. A hybrid, especially with a majority of mottled duck genes, can have a good gape spot also. However, if the gape spot is very small or deformed shape it's not a pure mottled. This duck appears to have a good gape spot but you really can't tell from this angle. White in the tail – if there's any white in the tail feathers it has some mallard. However, feathers wear during the year on the edges. Fortunately in this case we have a very good picture of tail and is my opinion that is not a true white color but rather worn feathers. By June 1, they will show a lot more very light colored edges due to wear. I don't see anything that eliminates it from being a pure mottled duck and that would be my opinion. Better photos of the front are probably necessary. What happened to Tony Leukering, did he retire or just get tired of messing with us amateurs? Maybe you can make a determination by googling "Tony Leukering muddled ducks" and going through all of the markers he lists in that article.
  19. The male looks good for a pure mottled. Short eyeline, gape spot and overall coloring. As for Bill color in pure female mottled ducks - The Louisiana Texas subspecies have bills completely indistinguishable from female mallards. The Florida subspecies have bills that can range from a solid dull drab olive color to completely indistinguishable from a female Mallard. Bill color is never of any help in distinguishing pure from hybrid in mottled. However, the female has no gape spot which means it is for sure not a pure mottled. Also, the eyeline is too long and there appears to be white in the tail.
  20. It would be HIGHLY UNUSUAL to see an Osprey eating anything other than a fish.
  21. That is an adult blue morph snow goose. The solid White head is a sign of maturity. Juveniles have a dark head. The amount of white in the body plumage appears to me to fall within the normal range for an adult. The coloring on the front of the face is from iron- staining.
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