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smittyone@cox.net

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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. There were both Common and Great-tailed male Grackles at Loess Bluffs NWR, MO, yesterday.  Didn't get any decent pics of the males, but got a few of these ones.  I presume female?  To me, the body color says female Great-tailed, but the tail length says Common.  Do female Great-tailed Grackles have shorter tails than the males?  I have a bunch more pics, but most are similar to this angle.  I have no broadside shots showing the actual tail to body length ratio.

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    • Like 1
  2. Local pond in Bellevue, NE, this afternoon.  The pond had both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers.  Are these both Common Mergansers, with an adult female in the lead, and an immature next to her?  I think what's throwing me off is the bills.  One is noticeably thicker than the other.  BTW, this only the 2nd time I've seen Red-breasted Mergansers, and I rarely get close enough for decent pics of Common Mergansers.

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  3. Avery, my fascination with sub-species is partly out of curiosity, and partly my need to be as accurate as possible.  That probably stems from my years in military intelligence, where even the tiniest of details mattered greatly.  When I started out birding and posting my finds to social media, particularly FB, many times my inaccurate IDs were met with less than tactful responses.  It's just one of the reasons I'm no longer on FB.

    I do still post to social media, as well as populate my own website.  Every image I post has an accompanying photo caption.  I try to keep those captions as accurate as possible.  Once an ID is arrived at here, I then caption my own photos accordingly.  I often refer back to those correctly identified bird photos, and use them to help identify subsequent shots of similar birds.  

    Having learned so much here, I now identify nearly every bird I photograph.  I post here only those birds I'm uncertain of.  Usually those in non-breeding colors, or subspecies, or color morph, beyond just the basic bird.

    Using the word report was probably a poor choice of words.  Likely also going back to my intelligence days, when you stated something based on evidence, you recorded (or reported) it.

    end of rant/confession

    • Like 2
  4. I'm aware borealis only have one morph.  I'm calling it a rufous only as a descriptive term, to differentiate it from say, the lighter "Plains" version.  Perhaps the FB Red-tailed Hawk gods could provide some input?  Besides, I'm curious how they report the various "tones" of borealis.  I know they're darker in boreal areas vs. down here in the lowlands.  With such a variable plumage, why aren't there more color morphs we could call them?  

    I rarely report to eBird unless I discover something unusual or out of it's "normal" range.  Nor am I confident enough (usually) in my IDs to post there either.  This particular sighting is over 2 years old.

    • Like 1
  5. A boreal borealis?  Or northern borealis, as opposed to the "plains" version more common in my area?  I'm aware there are darker versions of borealis that tend to hang out in the northern and northwestern parts of their stomping grounds.  I think that's what you're saying this is, and I tend to agree.  I just don't know how to "report" it.  I'm thinking of calling it a rufous adult Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis)

  6. A boreal borealis?  Or northern borealis, as opposed to the "plains" version more common in my area?  I'm aware there are darker versions of borealis that tend to hang out in the northern and northwestern parts of their stomping grounds.  I think that's what you're saying this is, and I tend to agree.  I just don't know how to "report" it.  

  7. Saw this guy in December 2021 at Loess Bluffs NWR, in NW Missouri.  Despite the fairly light eyes, I'm leaning toward adult on this guy.  I know eye color and tail color don't always change at the same rate.  Despite the very light belly banding, the creamy/buff undersides make me lean toward Western (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)

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