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Tony Leukering

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Everything posted by Tony Leukering

  1. The male is a Mexican Duck. The white on the tail is restricted to the outer webs of the outer rectrices, which typically bleach by this time in many individuals of the various "dark Mallards." This is particularly true of one-year-olds, whose tail feathers are juvenile plumage and have been wearing and bleaching for nearly a year, a feature that enables ducks of most species to be aged as one-year-olds. There is no suggestion of curl in the tail. There are no solidly black under- or upper-tail coverts. This bird is a Mexican Duck.
  2. Note the tail pattern, which is very different from that of a juv Red-shouldered Hawk.
  3. It is not a Cassin's Kingbird due to the white chin (and the "chin" in birds is restricted to the immediate underside of the bill) -- nearly all kingbirds have white chins. The difference between Cassin's and Western in that vein is that the white of the malar area, chin, and throat contrasts sharply with the dark gray face and ends abruptly at the back of the eye. That of Western continues to some nebulous well behind the eye.
  4. And "juvenile" is correct. Juvs in fresher plumage have medium brown bellies only slightly contrasting with very dark brown chest. However, those belly feathers seems to bleach on some/many individuals, producing your white-bellied bird, which is reminiscent of the next two plumages of Bald Eagle (called White-belly I and White-belly II). However, the saw-toothed trailing edge of the wings of your bird (seen best in the 1st pic) indicate that all of the secondaries are juvenile feathers, as they're quite pointed, compared to the rounded secondaries of older birds. Here are March-April examples of three plumages: Juvenile plumage Second basic plumage - note that outer secondaries have been replaced with shorter, rounder adult-type feathers; then there are two juvenile secondaries, then two or three adult-type secondaries, and then the rest are juvenile secondaries Third basic plumage - note that the bird retains only four juvenile secondaries, in two groups of two and that the bill is getting extensively yellow Fourth basic plumage is, essentially, the transition from extensively juvenile-like plumage to extensively adult-like plumage. These birds have variable amount of dark in head and tail and white on wings, belly, and back. Fifth basic plumage is, for most individual Balds, the first full adult plumage, however, many don't quite make it, retaining some bits of immaturity, usually on head and tail.
  5. The fact that it's in a holding pond, which implies fresh water, is a useful ID feature, though far less certain during migration than in winter.
  6. Certainly a juvenile Quiscalus, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.
  7. Red-winged Blackbirds don't have pale eyes. White-crowned Sparrows are not extensively with black below, nor do they have black bills. One feature does not an ID make.
  8. I go with Common, too, mainly on the strength of the relatively short legs. Both BTGR and GTGR are leggy beasts.
  9. I'm sorry, I disagree. In the second pic, the forecrown is not visible. However, lightening the photo does show a definite demarcation between red and gray on the mid-crown. So, a female.
  10. The yellow under-tail coverts on bird #1 rule out Pine. The lack of obvious white tail spots also do that job. However, they do it for Palm, too; but even more so. I'd go with Yellow, as I believe that I see yellow tail spots. I'm a bit worried in that the legs look dark, but that could be an artifact. I don't like Tennessee for the second bird, but primarily because it's really unlikely in the southeast in spring, as it's a circum-Gulf migrant. However, I cannot come up with a solution to that one. I considered Yellow-throated Vireo, but I think that we can see enough of the wings to see wing bars if they were present. I like "passerine sp."
  11. Impossible to sex, because the top of the crown cannot be seen in any of the pictures. And why a capital 'p' in the middle of the second word?
  12. Savannahs, like many sparrows, have dark lores. The yellow is above the lores, thus supraloral. Besides, the tail is too short and the underparts streaking is too neat for this bird to be a Song.
  13. The hawk has its entire adult tail. First-cycle Red-shouldereds would not be anywhere near this adult-like in April, even in the south.
  14. Hermit Thrush -- eye ring is whitish with no obvious buff supraloral line to make spectacles At least, that's how I see it. More and better pix would be useful.
  15. ATSP don't have such obvious black highlights on the crown -- see https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/220989911#_ga=2.61471855.299743013.1586128457-334541348.1399337695
  16. Yellows have complete eye rings and pink legs. Orange-crowned
  17. Orange-crowned -- it has eye arcs and a black eyeline. The underparts are too dull for Wilson's and none of the wing feathers have yellow fringes, ruling out Yellow.
  18. The first bird, with its red eye and pink facial skin, is probably a White-faced, though it would be impossible to rule out a back-crossed hybrid, particularly given that it has little suggestion of red in the legs. In the second photo, the right bird, which is in its first plumage cycle (so hatched last year; discerned because it has no chestnut plumage) has no suggestion of red on the legs or in the eye that we can see. This may very well be a Glossy, but I'd want a better-focused view to be certain that I'm not seeing red in the eye.
  19. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Great Blue Heron A gigantic Mountain Bluebird The problem with eyewitness testimony is that eyewitnesses are generally really poor at it. There is an extensive -- and I mean EXTENSIVE -- literature on the fallibility of eyewitness reports. Our brains are incredibly good at MIS-interpreting information. There are no bird species that occur regularly in New Jersey that are entirely blue. Mountain Bluebird has occurred, but it eats mice even more infrequently than does Merlin. New or inexperienced birders are regularly stumped in situations of seeing common species in poor or odd lighting, situations that experienced birders have learned to account for by making weird mistakes earlier in their birding lives.
  20. Actually, it's "Great Horned." There is only one bird species that is of regular occurrence in Canada and/or the continental US that has a hyphen after "Great." The "Great" birds are: Great Black-backed Gull Great Blue Heron Great Cormorant Great Crested Flycatcher Great Egret Great Gray Owl Great Kiskadee Great Shearwater Great Skua Great-tailed Grackle
  21. It's got extensive flank streaking, so Swamp is right out. Lincoln's has more and thinner back streaks.
  22. My rule of thumb: If it's definitely a warbler with wing bars and is really drab and difficult to ID, it's probably a Pine Warbler.
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