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The throat/malar contrast is a little messy and the flanks kinda seem dingy, which indicate a bright CAVI. FWIW, It’s the right time of year for a bright CAVI, but I would definitely pause if I saw this bird in the field. The fact that the head/malar contrast is so strong in direct sunlight gives credence to BHVI.  How about throwing this bird in Discord under the bird ID server? Andy Birch is pretty  active on it.

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, DLecy said:

The throat/malar contrast is a little messy and the flanks kinda seem dingy, which indicate a bright CAVI. FWIW, It’s the right time of year for a bright CAVI, but I would definitely pause if I saw this bird in the field. The fact that the head/malar contrast is so strong in direct sunlight gives credence to BHVI.  How about throwing this bird in Discord under the bird ID server? Andy Birch is pretty  active on it.

I’ll send it to a few more people, but i’ll probably keep it a slash. I got distracted by a BEVI in the same flock and didn’t get as many pics as i would like. I really like the bird for BHVI in everything but the extent flank color. I think it could still be in range though. 

44 minutes ago, DLecy said:

FWIW, It’s the right time of year for a bright CAVI, but I would definitely pause if I saw this bird in the field.

I thought the opposite was true? I thought they molted on their breeding grounds before fall migration so they were brightest then - I typically think of spring CAVI as quite dull 

Edited by Connor Cochrane
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Yeah, as I said before I still don’t think the flank color is extensive enough, although it is bright enough. Most BHVI I’ve seen the flank color is a lot more extensive, but I would suggest throwing this on discord and seeing what Andy says. Could also send to Paul Lehman or Curtis Marantz.

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18 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

I thought the opposite was true? I thought they molted on their breeding grounds before fall migration so they were brightest then - I typically think of spring CAVI as quite dull 

Many passerines molt their body and head feather at different times of the year than their remiges and rectrices. I always thought that bright Cassin’s were a possibility in April. FWIW, many of the photos of bright birds in the Surfbirds article were taken in April. 

BOW says.

Definitive Alternate Plumage

Present primarily March–August. Similar to Definitive Basic Plumage within each sex but crown, auriculars, and upperwing lesser coverts become brighter and grayer or more bluish gray; back may become brighter olive, and underparts whiter due to a combination of molt and the wearing of paler and cryptic fringing to fresh basic feathers.

First And Definitive Prealternate Molts

Limited to Partial, primarily February–April (Figure 1), on non-breeding grounds. Includes body feathers primarily of the head but scattered elsewhere and occasionally 1–2 innermost upperwing greater coverts but no other remiges or rectrices. See Preformative Molt regarding replacement of tertials.

 

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I don't have much recent experience with either Cassin's or Blue-headed, but to my eyes, the 2nd photo seems to show the relatively low head-to-back contrast that I more associate with Cassin's. 

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