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DLecy last won the day on July 10 2022

DLecy had the most liked content!

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    San Rafael, CA (Marin County)

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  1. The closer gull in the second picture may very well be a pure Western Gull, but gull ID based on a single poor photo where the salient features of the bird are not in full view and the lighting appears to play a role, is not something I would recommend. The lighting is obviously at play here, and so while the bird may be pure, the uppers seem a shade or two too light for a WEGU and the primaries seem to hold hues of gray. The structure of the head and bill, along with the streaking feel more GWGU to me, which would indicate some level of GWGU influence. At the end of the day, is anyone going to bat an eye if you call them all Western Gulls, probably not. But, I would caution landing on an ID so assuredly based on the data we have at hand. As for the third photo, what appears to be the bird's right primaries can be seen and they appear dark-ish, ruling out a Glaucous Gull. Again, better pics would be needed before calling that bird anything beyond Larus sp.
  2. I think the OP is simply referring to a description, and not a/the photo. Tripped me up at first as well, squinting into that sunset picture looking for a scoter... As for the gulls, the bottom one in the first pic feels like an Olympic too me, and I would want to see more pics before calling it anything.
  3. Is that because you used "Rock Pigeon" in eBird? If so, please use Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon). On behalf of reviewers everywhere, thank you!
  4. I don’t have experience with Shiny Cowbird, but I don’t really see how one could be ruled out based on these pics.
  5. This bird has domestic genes. But since we can’t really see more/better details, goose sp. would do.
  6. I have to say, while it is no doubt a lost art, the landscape surrounding written descriptions has changed drastically in the almost 20 years since Tony wrote this article. First and foremost, technology has accelerated exponentially. In 2004 cell phones didn't have cameras, DSLRs were literal dinosaurs compared to today's mirrorless spaceships, and half the people on this forum weren't even born; but that's beside the point. Another crucial change is that information about birds has become extremely accessible, perhaps too accessible. I know of cases where highly inexperienced observers, or even worse, observes who are known to falsify sightings, write up picture perfect field guide descriptions of what they saw. They simply checked a few field guides, opened up Birds of the World, and voila! So, the old adage is still true...a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true when reviewers are reviewing hundreds or thousands of sightings in a year. It's just so much easier to interpret a photo than it is a written description. Just think about all the treads on here where someone writes what they saw and an ID is never landed on, versus the number of photos that are put up here and are accurately ID'ed.
  7. This is a long post, but a couple of things stand out. Do you have a cell phone, a camera? Even most old phones have the ability to capture audio. This can go a long way in getting a record approved. Keep in mind that part of gaining a reputation as a reliable birder is by letting things go from time to time. Some of what you describe should fall into that category, IMO. I don't know the exact situations here beyond what you have provided, but situations such as... - A heard only Burrowing Owl not ID'ed in the field? BUOW are diurnal and live in large, open fields and agricultural areas. They are generally not hard to see if you give some effort in the right habitat/location. Why submit it as heard only? Why not go back and try to get a visual? - Calling a Henslow's Sparrow on a single call, heard once is... I am not sure I would call even known, common, everyday species, if I heard a single note only once. Maybe really obvious things, but there is simply way too much variation in bird vocalizations to utilize this practice. Also, FWIW, a second state record based upon a submission from an observer's yard without photos or audio is unlikely to pass muster amongst most/all states' Bird Records Committee. Something as significant as a second state record should be scrutinized very closely (for good reason), and sufficient documentation is critical. There are many experienced and "expert" birders who would not likely get such a record accepted. Lastly, you don't have to be on eBird. It's a choice, and there are guidelines and expectations that come with that choice. If you are finding yourself at odds with the processes and people involved with those processes, maybe it's time to give it a break? If it is causing you stress, anxiety, or negative feelings, I would definitely recommend taking a step back.
  8. Look at the wing pattern. Soft parts should not be used as the sole determining factor in gull ID. If you haven’t already noticed, soft parts are SUPER variable on gulls.
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