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Everything posted by psweet

  1. No shoulder spur, the bill looks a bit long but not what I'd consider Hairy size, and the bird next to him is a Pygmy Nuthatch, smaller than either a Red-breasted or a Brown-headed. Still looks good for Downy to me.
  2. Yes, this time of year Mourning Warblers can show that broken eye-ring. MacGillivray's will show it as well, but they'd be grayer on the throat, the eye-rings would be better defined (Mourning can show stronger eye-arcs than this, in fact), and you're too far east to expect MacGillivray's.
  3. These all look like Downy. Hairy has a distinctly longer bill, and a spur of black extending forwards from the shoulder.
  4. Looks like a female Mourning Warbler.
  5. Welcome to Whatbird! This sounds like one of the domestic Mallard breeds.
  6. Baird's, I believe -- long wings and straight bill Buff-breasted -- scaly back, blank face, yellow legs Yes, Sanderling.
  7. I agree that it's not a Harris' -- there's no rust on the shoulders, the white on the undertail coverts isn't well-defined, and as noted the underwing is wrong. But never rule out Harris' Hawk by range -- they're one of the most commonly kept falconer's birds, thanks to their cooperative hunting habits, and they can occasionally show up anywhere as a result. (I've watched one flying in Wisconsin -- to make things simpler, as soon as I figured out what he was, he flew to his owner's hand....)
  8. Ferruginous, as you noted, would have dark wing linings and very white flight feathers. It would also have feathered tarsi, instead of the bare yellow ones you see here. (More useful in photos, actually.) Broad-winged is actually rather small, especially for a buteo, and the wings aren't actually any broader than any other buteo. (Actually, Red-tails have noticeably broader wings, especially our eastern adults.)
  9. Just a note, since it's been bugging me. Do you mean Magee Marsh, on the shore of Lake Erie?
  10. This looks like a Lesser Yellowlegs to me. The overall back color and the face pattern aren't right for a Solitary, and the legs look yellow in the second shot.
  11. That sounds good for Solitary - the tail really is distinctive. They're actually a bit smaller than a Pec or a Sanderling, although the longer legs and slender build make them seem a bit larger.
  12. Looks like a worn 2nd-year bird just molting in his next set of feathers. The old ones can get very worn and faded -- some of the birds you find in late summer on the Gulf of Mexico (lots of sunshine....) you wonder how they can fly, the feathers are in such bad shape. As far as the species, I'd say Glaucous-winged looks reasonable, although ID'ing a bird looking like this is always going to be a bit tentative, even more so when you're so close to an extensive hybrid zone.
  13. Leg color is something to be careful of -- it can be obscured by mud, etc., and can be rather variable in youngsters. Don't know where you got the "eyebrow means semi" line -- that's simply wrong. In this case, the extensive rufous on the scaps and tawny-rufous on the wing coverts coupled with the nice, clean, crisp juvenile plumage say Least as well as the legs. Semi's lack extensive rufous above in this plumage, and Western have distinctly gray wing coverts.
  14. Yes, that looks right, with the obvious yellow tones and the low-contrast malar.
  15. Worn, faded feathers tend to have frayed edges and markings that are blurred, low-contrast, etc. Fresh feathers have crisply-defined edges, often with a bit of contrast, and clean, crisp, contrasty markings -- when you get the two together, the difference shows up nicely. Other diagnostic marks? The pink legs do help, although you have to be careful of leg color in youngsters -- a first-year bird especially can surprise you. Similarly, the bill pattern does fit a young Herring, although the structure is a better clue -- fairly heavy with a distinct gonydeal angle. Also, young Ring-billed should never be mottled on the undersides -- the breast and neck have very clean dark scaling, the belly tends to lose that pretty quickly and ends up white. The back in juveniles is well-marked, but even then it's very clean and regular, with dark centers and pale edges to the feathers, rather than the anchor-shapes you see here. A lot of ID'ing immature gulls, though (except for a few experts), comes down to elimination by range. Fact is, there are several European species, etc. that I couldn't possibly rule out here -- but they're very unlikely to be there, so I don't worry about it. Given the location and date, the other options are Great and Lesser Black-backed and Laughing. Laughing is quite different even as a juvenile. Great Black-backed should be overall bulkier, with a more checkered back pattern and a whiter head, and a heavier bill. Lesser is closer to this, but they shouldn't show so many warm tones in the plumage, and be a bit whiter on the head. Can't help you with the programming side of things -- I can understand the general idea of neural networking, but I couldn't explain it any better than we can understand how it happens in our own heads.
  16. This is indeed a young Herring Gull. Young gulls are complicated things to ID -- first thing you want to do is age the bird. In this case, there's quite a few worn feathers, and it looks like two generations of feathers on the back. (There are ones that look more worn and faded than the others.) Ring-billed are 3-year gulls (meaning that they only take 3 years to reach adult plumage), whereas Herring are 4-year gulls. That means that a Ring-billed's second set of feathers is going to be closer to adult-like than in a Herring Gull. In fact, with Ring-bills, their second set of feathers on the back come in their first fall (like right now) and they're gray just like adults. If you see a second set of feathers like this, still showing spots, it's not going to be a Ring-billed.
  17. Pine Warbler is a rather rare vagrant to Colorado.
  18. Nice catch - next time how about explaining why so I don't have to do the work? Yes, that's an Ovenbird -- the contrast between the face and the malar is too strong for a Swainson's.
  19. Chipping Sparrow Rose-breasted Grosbeak Flycatcher sp Swainson's Thrush European Starling Looks like a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
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