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Posted (edited)

       There was a mixed group of swallows flying around in Ottawa, Ontario this morning.  I was able to ID Tree, Barn, Bank, and Cliff.  This one confused me.  I had never seen white marks on the wings like this.  Any ideas of what this bird might be, and/or why those white marks are there, would be appreciated.

    Thanks again,

     Mike

DSC_0954.JPG

Edited by Inastrangeland
Found another type of swallow in the mixed flock...wanted to increase accuracy of my description.

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I see only brown and white, which I think narrows it down to Bank or Northern Rough-winged.  I don't think there's enough notch in the tail for a Bank Swallow, so Northern Rough-winged is what's left.

Regardless of species, I -think- the white is the separation between primaries and secondaries, with the inner edge of the primary showing.  There's a definite notch in the trailing edge of the right wing at that point.  If it were later in the year I might guess molting.

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53 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I see only brown and white, which I think narrows it down to Bank or Northern Rough-winged.  I don't think there's enough notch in the tail for a Bank Swallow, so Northern Rough-winged is what's left.

Regardless of species, I -think- the white is the separation between primaries and secondaries, with the inner edge of the primary showing.  There's a definite notch in the trailing edge of the right wing at that point.  If it were later in the year I might guess molting.

This is a great explanation Mr. Spencer, thank you!  That would be one hell of a flock to have all 5 local species in there..... There were only about 12 birds in there total!

Northern Roughed Winged would be a lifer for me believe it or not, so I'd love  to get some seconds or more details on differentiating this from a Bank Swallow.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Inastrangeland said:

This is a great explanation Mr. Spencer, thank you!  That would be one hell of a flock to have all 5 local species in there..... There were only about 12 birds in there total!

Northern Roughed Winged would be a lifer for me believe it or not, so I'd love  to get some seconds or more details on differentiating this from a Bank Swallow.

Well, don't go thanking me until we get some other opinions.  I'm apparently the only one up this morning, so definitely wait until others weigh in.

Banks have a more notched tail but as I noted, that's tough to make out at this picture's granularity.  It's much easier if  you can see the breast.  Banks have a darker brown 'vest' than NRWS, and more of a whitish collar going partway up the neck.  Both are expected in Ontario, eh.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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I would like to point out that this bird has some white coming up the throat, which usually is a good sign of Bank. I know NRWS have it, but it’s much smaller and duller. 

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Thanks again for this. Don't worry, I've learned not to get my hopes up in birding.  In looking at the original pic,  there does seem to be a bit of a fork, so I do think this is Bank.  Nonetheless, this discussion has taught me to look for the flat tail and duller throat if I'm looking for a NRWS.  Thanks a bunch everyone.   Good discussion!

     Mike

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