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Gray-cheeked or Bicknell's thrush??


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Anybody out there good with thrushes of the northeast? I saw this bird in Rye, NH today. Best guess is Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's. I think I can rule out the other thrushes since there's no reddish or buffy tinges on the face or body and no (or only a very narrow) eye ring. If I'm right, does anyone have any thoughts on whether this is a Bicknell's or gray-cheeked? I know it's almost impossible to differentiate between the two without hearing the bird sing, but I've heard some people can distinguish them based on bill color. The photos are only so-so (a little overexposed around the head and throat).

Thanks as always!

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12 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Pretty sure it's a Gray-cheeked.

Thanks, good to know. I guess the odds are good it’s a gray-cheeked since there are way more of them in the world. Are you seeing any decent field marks in these photos? 

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Just now, Brett H said:

Thanks, good to know. I guess the odds are good it’s a gray-cheeked since there are way more of them in the world. Are you seeing any decent field marks in these photos? 

Yes, odds, and also Bicknell's would usually have a more reddish tail and shorter primary projection, with a plainer brown face.

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7 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Wow, so cool that you get Bicknell's! I think they only breed in remote areas.

Yup, high-elevation spruce-fir forest. Part of my job is to survey for them every June. They’re easy to find in the right habitat.

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47 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

This is a Swainson's Thrush.  I can clearly see a buffy eyering and supraloral bar on my monitor.

I agree with this. It never struck me as GC/Bicknell’s. The problem is the lighting is a huge mess in these photos. Buffy eye ring is overexposed. 

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