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Forest edge bird? Northern VA


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Hi all - I saw this bird in a forested park near the Potomac River in Northern Virginia. Could only get this iffy shot - it was being pretty secretive. Merlin photo ID suggests Yellow Billed Cuckoo, which would be unusual enough that I don't want to list it on that basis alone. Is that possible? are there other obvious IDs I'm missing? Thanks!image.thumb.jpeg.a29cf6e548a0c09e475e253f3ec6e2f9.jpeg

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14 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

That tail is really long though...

Yeah, it was the tail length relative to body that made me think cuckoo isn’t totally unreasonable. Also, size is a tricky thing to assess up in a tree but it was, imo, larger than the mockingbirds and robins hanging around the area. 

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23 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Looks like a Great Crested Flycatcher to me.

Interesting - there’s some yellow on the belly maybe, so that’d make sense. But I’ve never seen a great crested with a white and black tail?

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Just wondering if there is there a reason we are dismissing Cuckoo, which are secretive and Blue Jays not so much, as the profile looks fairly typical.

I don't think the tail markings are reliable in the photo, possibly some shadow interference.

Lots of late April records for both species - a recent one in the Washington area for Black-billed which would be my option and lots of Yellow-billed reports a little further south (as early as April 15 in the Norfolk area).

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Blue Jay obviously makes the most sense in terms of distribution - lots of them around here. I think of them as having more of a flared tail and less secretive? but I think the answer for me is that this will remain a mystery!

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