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Everything posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. I saw a guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt in Omaha once--that's kind of tropical.
  2. 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?
  3. Thanks for the help. Not the answer I was hoping for, but at least this pic will get transferred to the appropriate folder.
  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. I spooked this raptor before I knew it was there (typical). By the time I stopped the car and got out, it was already circling high overhead. All of the pics I captured are of it's underside. Seen yesterday afternoon at Loess Bluffs NWR, in NW Missouri. Is it a young Cooper's Hawk?
  6. Thanks for the ID help. This Spotted Sandpiper is an immature/non-breeding bird I suppose?
  7. Seen today at DeSoto NWR near Missouri Valley, IA. Is this a female/immature Solitary Sandpiper?
  8. 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?
  9. They were seen today at DeSoto NWR near Missouri Valley, IA. One is clearly smaller and darker than the other--younger bird maybe?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Thank you everyone. I would've never guessed immature Red-shouldered Hawk. I was presuming accipiter based primarily on it's size and slender shape, not "chunky" like most buteos. Besides, despite them (RSHA) being relatively common raptors in my area, they continue to elude me.
  13. 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.
  14. The bird was seen today at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri. It was in the shade, so these pics are brightened up a bit. Is it a young SSHA?
  15. Seen late yesterday afternoon at Loess Bluffs NWR, in NW Missouri. Was this a Green Heron that I saw?
  16. 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.
  17. Seen two days ago south of Council Bluffs, IA. Is this a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird?
  18. Looks like species first, followed by "descriptors" like Red-tailed Hawk (Western), adult, dark morph, male, etc. But even if I do it this way, is it species, then subspecies? I think it looks (and sounds) much better to say Western Red-tailed Hawk, instead of Red-tailed Hawk, Western, etc. I realize it probably doesn't matter and most people probably don't even care. But to feed my OCD...
  19. Sorry for the vague title. When listing a specific bird in say, a photo caption, what is the "proper" order, if there is one? Is it species, then age, sex, morph, etc? For example; Adult, light morph, Western RTHA. Or Red-tailed Hawk (Western), light morph, adult, male. Etc. The possibilities are endless. I suppose I could list the bird description in any order I choose, as long as I'm consistent. But if there's a "correct" way, I'd rather use that.
  20. Unfortunately, I gave up on Facebook a few years ago. Although not always as responsive as I'd like, I've always had great success with this website.
  21. The bird was seen south of Council Bluffs, IA, in October last year. I doesn't look like the typical Eastern ssp that's prevalent in my area. It appears to "buffy". Definitely not a Harlan's. I'm torn between a Western or Northern ssp. I don't have any pics of the upper side of the bird's tail. I apologize if I've posted these pics for ID here before, but I searched for previous posts and didn't see them.
  22. Thank you for the links Jerry. Although I had both of them bookmarked already, and have referred to them often, you wouldn't think so. I still have difficulty telling apart immature/juvenile Harlan's and Western RTHAs when they migrate through my area every fall/winter. The implication of an intergrade between the already difficult (for me) to differentiate pair, just gives me nightmares. Anyone else care to give it a go? I'd really appreciate a consensus. and as a heads up, I have many many more examples collected over the years that remain undefined, that I'll be pestering you smarter-than-me folks in the near future. I hate having my website/database littered with "undetermined" RTHA pics--especially the "dark" birds.
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