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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. Seen yesterday under dark gloomy skies at DeSoto NWR near Missouri Valley, Iowa.  I initially thought this was just a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, until it turned around.  Despite the muted colors (heavily overcast that day), I can clearly see pinkish red tones on it's chest.  This just seemed a little "different" from female RBGR that I've seen, and I've never seen an immature male RBGR, as far as I know. 




  2. I presume these two gulls are young Ring-billed Gulls because they were the same size as the rest of the flock of adult Ring-billed Gulls.  There were non-breeding Franklin's gulls (much smaller) and a pair of Forster's Terns mixed in as well.  Is the 1st pic (the one on the grass) a First Summer bird, and the 2nd pic a Second Summer bird?  They were seen yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.    



  3. A pair of Terns was hanging out with Ring-billed Gulls at Lake Manawa, Council Bluffs, IA, today.  Are these non-breeding adult Forster's Terns?  I think Arctic Terns would be rare in my area, and Common Terns only the upper half of their bill is black?  So Forster's is kind of my only choice, yes?




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  4. I've been reading about Tropical Kingbirds, and how they, and Cassin's Kingbirds, look similar to Western Kingbirds.  This prompted me to look back in my archives and scrutinize my "Western" Kingbird pics.  This pic, taken in Omaha back in June 2016 was originally ID'd as a Western Kingbird.  Now I have doubts.  The bill seems too large to be a Western.  A Cassin's bill is larger, and a Tropical is even larger than that.  I also don't see the prominent white edge to the tail feathers--a prominent feature on Western Kingbirds.  Either a Cassin's or a Tropical, would both be new Lifer birds for me.  Is this either, or just wishful thinking?


  5. Dark brown eyes and reddish tail feathers help identify a typical Red-tailed Hawk as an adult.  While yellowish eyes and banded (non-red) tail feathers help identify a juvenile/immature RTHA.  But how many years does this transition take, and at what point do you call the bird adult or not when mixed ID features are seen?  For example, this month I've been seeing RTHAs with pale or light brown eyes and only one or two reddish tail feathers.  How would you "age" those birds?

  6. They were seen today at DeSoto NWR near Missouri Valley, IA.  The two large ducks were nearly Mallard-sized--definitely much larger than the other dabbling ducks nearby.  To me, the pair look similar to each other, except for their bill color.  I don't believe I've seen them before, so whatever they are, they'd be my first new "Lifer" birds in over 2 years.  My guess is that they're American Black Ducks.  The smaller ducks, of which there were about 20, I believe are immature/non-breeding adult Blue-winged Teal.




  7. Seen this afternoon at DeSoto NWR near Missouri Valley, IA.  Is this a Krider's, or just a light morph Eastern Red-tailed Hawk?  I'm also wondering age.  It's young, but is it a 2nd year bird?  Would this still be a juvenile, considering the (mostly) banded tail feathers and light colored eyes?  All of it's tail feathers are banded, except a single reddish one.  By the way, this is the skinniest RTHA I've ever seen.  




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  8. I use the codes as an abbreviation when writing (usually a photo caption) or when posting a question.  I'd spell out the bird's full name first, then use the code thereafter (mostly for brevity) if it's referred to again later in a sentence/paragraph.

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  9. Can anyone tell me the 4 letter codes for Common Crane and Hooded Crane?  The IBP (Institute for Bird Populations) code for Common Crane (CCRA) has an asterisk--indicating it conflicts with another bird with the same 4 letter code?  My difficulty finding the codes is generally with birds outside of the USA. 

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