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Tony Leukering

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Everything posted by Tony Leukering

  1. It doesn't look dark enough up top for Black Merlin, but I wouldn't want to claim it in any direction given the photo. Also, Black and Taiga Merlin cross-pollinate, so to speak where their ranges meet, so you'd want to have good pix to be sure of anything Merlin.
  2. Vireos have blue legs; this feature enabling quick separation from nearly all look-alikes.
  3. Juvenile Sharp-shinneds generally have extensive cross-barring on the streaking (which also tends strongly to reddish) on the underparts. Cooper's that have cross-barring (and a lot of them do) on the streaking (which tends strongly to blackish), it is restricted to many fewer feathers and nearly always on the sides. I repeat the previous note about the white tips to the rectrices, the blocky head, with a small eye placed well forward. Additionally, the outermost rectrix on each side has a rounded tip. When trying to ID accipiters, something important to keep in mind about tail shape and length is that juveniles and females have longer, more-rounded tails than do adults and males. This makes determining the age or the sex fairly useful in determining the species ID. This bird is certainly a juvenile, and I have no qualms at calling it a male on general proportions.
  4. Coming down is NEVER a problem -- gravity is your friend. Though it might hurt.
  5. I second the above. Particularly here, as the male Hooded was courting the female Barrow's.
  6. Juvenile Song Sparrows have buffy malars. This is not a juv (as it's not in juvenile plumage), but as noted above, many older Song Sparrows sport some buff coloration there.
  7. Adult -- The six secondaries with waxy tips puts it in the ranges of both sexes of adult and of immature male. The wide yellow tips to the rectrices prove the age as adult and the minimal black on the chin/throat prove the sex as female. Images are from: Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds, part I. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA. Standard disclaimer: I have no financial stake in the aforementioned book. However, for those birders that have an interest in identification, ageing, and sexing, this two-volume work is a necessity.
  8. Decidedly, with that "cute," dove-like head and small bill
  9. immature male https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/21.pdf http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/2018/02/greater-scaup-ebird-problem-child.html
  10. The gull is certainly not an adult and also certainly not a first-cycle bird. After that, though, things get a wee bit tricky. There is extreme individual variation in the rate at which large gulls' plumage and soft-part coloration progress, and plumage progression does not necessarily match soft-part coloration progression. While the bird might be in its second plumage cycle, it might also be in its third. Given the relatively extensive amount of gray mantle plumage (see cropped and darkened photo), it's either an advanced 2nd-cycle in plumage or a retarded 3rd-cycle in bill pattern. Without more and better photos, I wouldn't want to be too sure about the bird's age.
  11. Actually, the sex of adult-plumaged Cedar Waxwings can be readily determined in the field, given reasonable views. Males have much more black on the chin/throat than do females. Female Male There are also differences among the various age-sex classes in the number of secondaries with waxy tips, but that requires superb views or the bird being in the hand.
  12. Nothing about the bird's shape (bill, head) suggests Pyrrhuloxia to me. I suggest that it is an old female that, with the reduction of female hormones, is now expressing male plumage features, a well-known phenomenon. Unlike humans and all (?) mammals, the default sex of birds is male -- that is, male is the homozygous sex, while female is the heterozygous sex. In female birds, hormones suppress male plumage features, so with the reduction in amount of female hormone levels as individual birds age, they can -- and frequently do -- begin expressing those male plumage features.
  13. Yes, it is a Bald or a Golden. Since it has white on the back, that rules out Golden. That bird is a year or two older than the juvenile on the ground.
  14. Pine Warblers, indeed. Note, too, leg color and leg length. In general, finches have fairly short legs, warblers have fairly long legs. Finally, American Goldfinches have thicker bills and males have white upper-tail coverts, as visible here behind the close wing.
  15. Not truly white. When worn, ABDU tails can show pale outer webs that from the side make the tail look white or whitish. The same is true for Mottled Duck. A confounding factor is that first-cycle birds are still wearing their juvenile tails in winter, and, by now, are getting quite worn/bleached. Were it not for the apparent green in the head of this bird, I would have been more circumspect about the apparent white in the bird's tail.
  16. Common Tern is quite rare in the US in winter, with Florida probably hosting the lion's share of the relatively few records. Your bird has the thick-based bill and thick-based wings typical of Forster's, which winters in number north to New Jersey.
  17. Also note the lack of apparent tail, nowhere near enough white in the face, and the near lack of contrast from upperparts to underparts. There are also at least two American Wigeons in the original photo, one each male and female.
  18. Hmm. Now that I look at it again, how 'bout California Gull, for which the bill pattern would be nearly ideal? I'll think on that.
  19. Yes, far too dark for Glaucous. Though odd for Herring Gull, the bill pattern is not outside the range of variation (which is HUGE) in first-cycle Herrings. Neither North American form of Iceland Gull would sport this much pale on the bill this early in the first plumage cycle.
  20. Quite a lot of shorebirds winter in New Jersey, with at least 16 species being more or less reliable at that season there. While the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay beaches host the very reliable Dunlin, Sanderling, and a few others, the back-bay areas (such as DeKorte) probably host the best variety, such as your dowitcher. The the eBird occurrence graphs.
  21. This is an immature Lesser. https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/21.pdf http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/2018/02/greater-scaup-ebird-problem-child.html
  22. HAH! I'd sure love to have to look for a grocery store in Paraguay!
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