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Everything posted by Benjamin

  1. Personally, this bird strikes me as a WAVI. In my experience, Philadelphia Vireo generally has a bluish tinge to the eyeline and cap, and the contrast of that against the yellow throat gives it a distinct 'cutesy' appearance. Here, particularly in the second picture, the cap is brownish, and there is little contrast in the temperature of the color between the light and dark areas of the face, which would suggest Warbling Vireo. Unfortunately, the highlights are pretty blown out, and the white balance seems skewed pretty far into yellow, though, so it's just tough to judge color or value with any accuracy at all. In the second photo, the brightest yellow certainly appears to be in the throat, which of course suggests Philadelphia Vireo, but I think that is just due to the fact that the belly of the bird is blown out, and thus isn't necessarily accurate. The eyeline of this bird is not particularly strong, and if anything I think it lies about in the middle of normal variation between the two species. I've attached a photo which is relevant to the discussion (disclaimer: it is not my picture). On the left is a WAVI, and on the right is PHVI. Notice that the WAVI actually has a stronger eyeline than the pictured bird, and is overall very similar in my opinion. The Philadelphia Vireo pictured is on the drabbest end of what PHVI can be, but notice that even here there is good contrast between the color temperature of the cap of the bird and the rest of the plumage (cap is bluish, everywhere else is yellow) OP, did you shoot the image in RAW? If so, could you decrease the contrast, cool the image down, and decrease the saturation just a touch?
  2. The long primary projection paired with the distinct eye-ring on #1 clinch it as Hammond's. The wing-bars are fairly worn, but it is certainly not outside of the normal variation for this species, and I'd expect Dusky to be even duller for how worn these feathers look. #3 is also Hammond's- again notice a distinct eye-ring, long primary projection, short tail, and bright contrasty wing pattern
  3. Mountain Bluebird would be the expected species in this area.
  4. While technically true, in general Rusty Blackbird is much rarer the further west you go, while Brewer's Blackbird becomes far more abundant. Just because of that, I would be pretty confident calling this Brewer's, as it's really the only expected and common species. Habitat is also indicative of the species- I see Brewer's Blackbird in my region frequently in large, open farmland areas, feeding in large flocks in farm lots or perched on wires or fences. On the contrary, Rusty Blackbirds, in my experience, most often forage on the ground in more wooded and swampy areas. As a personal anecdote, I don't know that I've ever seen a Rusty Blackbird perched up on a telephone pole or fencepost, as this bird appears to be (not to say that it can't happen). And it's obviously not possible to tell from the photos exactly what type of environment this bird is in, but it appears to be a more agricultural/farmland area as opposed to a forested/swampy area.
  5. Firstly, I think we can eliminate Spotted Sandpiper, the most expected species at this location, simply by nature of the dark center visible on the tail and rump, flocking behavior, and the fact that the birds appear to be taking full wingbeats, as opposed to the stiff, shallow wingbeats of Spotted Sandpiper. That said, it's quite tricky to narrow it down further from peep sp, but let's see what we can figure out. Least Sandpiper is probably the most likely bird in this location, and my intuition and the overall compact structure both point to Least. Notice the lack of a pale face, which rules out Western/Semipalmated Sandpipers, as well as a lack of a White rump, of course ruling out White-rumped. At this point, the only other options would be Baird's or Pectoral. In my mind, both birds are simply bulkier, and in particular Baird's tends to be longer-winged, which I do not see here. Pectoral would also be exceedingly rare, particularly in these numbers. For those reasons, I would probably be fairly confident in calling these Least's.
  6. Cassin's Vireo is correct. Plumbeous Vireo is nearly identical in song to Cassin's, however Plumbeous Vireo is not generally found in the Yosemite area, while Cassin's is quite common . It should be no surprise that the two species have such similar songs- after all, Blue-headed, Cassin's, and Plumbeous Vireos were long thought to be one species, the Solitary Vireo!
  7. This looks to be a Northern Mockingbird! It's a little bit of a tricky ID as only a small section of the bird is visible, but notice the long, thin bill ruling out any type of Vireo, and the overall gray plumage. There is a slight eye-line as well, and the leading edge of the wing appears to be dark, all indicative of Northern Mockingbird.
  8. Hi! This looks like an Eastern Phoebe! Notice the overall flycatcher-like shape, overall drab plumage, and the dark slate-gray above contrasting with the yellowish below.
  9. #415 - Berylline Hummingbird, and I'm hoping #416 will be Crescent-chested Warbler later this week😉
  10. Hi all! It's been ages since I've even been on this site, but after getting home today and reviewing the pictures, I found myself second-guessing one of my IDs, and was curious as to others' opinions. This was taken in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona where both Common Black Hawk and Zone-tailed Hawk are expected this time of year. In the field, I called this bird a Common Black Hawk without too much thought or close examination because I felt that it was pretty bulky, dark, and that the bill pattern was right. However, I don't have a ton of experience with either species, and now, comparing to reference I'm wondering if my bird is too slender- and the legs seem really short, pointing instead to Zone-tailed Hawk. Or perhaps my photos just aren't good enough for a post-field conclusive ID- unfortunately the light was pretty atrocious! Any and all thoughts are appreciated, especially if you have experience with either or both of these species. Ben
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