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Mason neck park, VA, 8/4/2022


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18 minutes ago, PaulK said:

That's an awfully small head for a bald eagle but I defer to those of you who are seeing something definitive here. I think Charlie and I are seeing the same (absence of?) thing here. 

Count me in! I thought I knew what was going on, then I didn’t, then I did, then I’m more confused than ever.

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Points for Golden: no big honkin’ yellow bill

Points for Bald: No golden nape, broad wings, possible white splotches on body of the wing, no white base of remiges. 
 

Young Balds can have mostly dark bills, and this bird shows a yellow bill base. 
 

For me, I can’t make it into anything other than a young Bald. I keep looking for points to other species, but I can’t find any that are definitive or can’t be explained through the photo quality and angle. 

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1 hour ago, Avery said:

Points for Golden: no big honkin’ yellow bill

So no points for Golden because that bill looks big and honkin' to me with at least a dash of yellow for sure. The head and bill both look distinctively large to me.

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57 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Why? 

Short leading primary feather, spread of primaries, shape of tail, the complete absence (to my eye) of any features that make this an eagle.  To me, the original and edited photos show a totally black bird.  Any pale areas are due to light reflection commonly seen on crows, ravens, etc.  The pale area to the left of what I think some interpret as a bill looks like the same pale area to the right of the head - shiny patagials, not a bill.

In short, it looks a lot like this bird to me (photo linked to Macaulay).  Personally, I think the bird is unidentifiable.

1800

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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I’m 99% sure this is a Bald Eagle.

30 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Short leading primary feather, spread of primaries, shape of tail, the complete absence (to my eye) of any features that make this an eagle.  To me, the original and edited photos show a totally black bird.  Any pale areas are due to light reflection commonly seen on crows, ravens, etc.  The pale area to the left of what I think some interpret as a bill looks like the same pale area to the right of the head - shiny patagials, not a bill.

In short, it looks a lot like this bird to me (photo linked to Macaulay).  Personally, I think the bird is unidentifiable.

1800

If I zoom in to the “head” of the bird in question, I can see the bird’s eye, and I’m almost cherish that the pale area is the bill. I’ve never heard of a short leading primary feather being a field mark for crows, and I wouldn’t judge the OP’s bird’s tail shape based on the angle of the photo.

 

6AD5C669-3749-4548-ACEB-12151CB5D7EB.thumb.jpeg.35da7574a9f09aa008a7271aad74401c.jpeg
 

And I thought this would be worth a try, a Black and white version of the photo

FD207F21-23A8-4751-8713-BFA93B14AF03.thumb.jpeg.ea46770d1bee311132cb12d9127b9e8f.jpeg

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36 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

The pale area to the left of what I think some interpret as a bill looks like the same pale area to the right of the head - shiny patagials

I really don’t want to make you feel like I’m arguing with you, however aren’t patagials on the bottom of the bird’s wing? The pale area that I think is the bill(if it is patagials, which it’s not) is on the underneath of the wing. 

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28 minutes ago, Colton V said:

I guess I personally don’t know how to rule out Golden Eagle, but it’s certainly one of the two.

A Golden Eagle in early August at Mason Neck NWR (Fairfax County, VA) or anywhere close to there especially away from the mountains is very unlikely. I think that it is a young Bald Eagle.

Edited by Peromyscus
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