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Updated on January 20, 2017, 12:30 am

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20 Jan: @ 00:29:50 Re: male Gadwall plumage [Wayne Hoffman]
19 Jan: @ 13:45:05 Re: male Gadwall plumage [Tony Leukering]
19 Jan: @ 12:56:00 Re: male Gadwall plumage [Wayne Hoffman]
18 Jan: @ 13:15:21  male Gadwall plumage [KEVIN karlson]
17 Jan: @ 20:44:28  San Diego County Larus sp. [James Pawlicki]
10 Jan: @ 17:28:59 Re: California x Ring-billed Gull? [Tony Leukering]
10 Jan: @ 15:56:26  California x Ring-billed Gull? [Peter Pyle]
08 Jan: @ 21:48:53 Re: strange bird from Nevada reported… [Paul Clyne]
08 Jan: @ 21:41:15 Re: strange bird from Nevada reported… [Jeff Gilligan]
08 Jan: @ 21:02:54 Re: strange bird from Nevada reported… [Christopher Hill]
08 Jan: @ 20:11:16 Re: strange bird from Nevada reported… [Jeff Gilligan]
07 Jan: @ 19:19:00 Re: Mystery Duck [KEVIN karlson]
06 Jan: @ 10:57:57 Re: Mystery Duck [David Irons]
06 Jan: @ 10:03:54 Re: Mystery Duck [Cathy Sheeter]
06 Jan: @ 09:52:35 Re: Mystery Duck [Martin Reid]
06 Jan: @ 08:12:22 Re: Mystery Duck [Michael Todd]
06 Jan: @ 07:58:56 Re: Mystery Duck [Cathy Sheeter]
06 Jan: @ 07:58:22 Re: Mystery Duck [Deborah Allen]
06 Jan: @ 07:49:56 Re: Mystery Duck [The HH75]
06 Jan: @ 07:28:01 Re: Mystery Duck [Larry Scacchetti]
06 Jan: @ 06:28:22  Mystery Duck [Bates Estabrooks]
05 Jan: @ 12:09:47 Re: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age [Peter Pyle]
02 Jan: @ 15:06:40 Re: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age [Ashli Gorbet]
02 Jan: @ 14:49:03 Re: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age [Shaibal Mitra]
02 Jan: @ 13:39:38  Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age [Hugh McGuinness]
01 Jan: @ 23:06:52  RFI: Rock Sandpiper Soft Parts Coloration [Jeremy Gatten]
30 Dec: @ 19:00:57 Re: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow [Peter Pyle]
30 Dec: @ 10:01:22 Re: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow [Steve Hampton]
30 Dec: @ 09:36:09 Re: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow [Jason Rogers]
28 Dec: @ 19:45:53  Possible Black-bellied x Fulvous Whistling-duck hybrid [000002580802dbdc-dmarc-request]
27 Dec: @ 20:15:43  RFI: information on actual flap rate of Chimney vs Vaux's Swifts [Martin Reid]
26 Dec: @ 23:09:49  Trumpeter Swan or Hybrid? [Jerald Reb]
26 Dec: @ 17:40:41  Meadowlark in Hickson, Oxford County, Ontario 25 December 2016 [Jeff Skevington]
26 Dec: @ 14:15:09 Re: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70) [Lethaby, Nick]
26 Dec: @ 14:01:49 Re: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70) [Steve Hampton]
26 Dec: @ 13:40:39 Re: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70) [Alan Contreras]
26 Dec: @ 10:05:16 Re: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow [Steve Hampton]
25 Dec: @ 20:43:25  A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow [Andrew Spencer]
24 Dec: @ 14:33:55 Re: Mystery Catharus Question [Bates Estabrooks]
24 Dec: @ 14:30:12 Re: Mystery Catharus Question [Tony Leukering]
24 Dec: @ 13:46:07 Re: Mystery Catharus Question [Bates Estabrooks]
24 Dec: @ 13:44:52 Re: Mystery Catharus Question [Kevin J. McGowan]
24 Dec: @ 13:14:53  Mystery Catharus Question [Bates Estabrooks]
23 Dec: @ 12:57:27 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [Jason Rogers]
23 Dec: @ 11:34:47 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [David Irons]
23 Dec: @ 10:26:29 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [Steve Hampton]
23 Dec: @ 10:22:23 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [Michael Dossett]
23 Dec: @ 10:03:09 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [David Irons]
23 Dec: @ 08:59:52 Re: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [Alvaro Jaramillo]
23 Dec: @ 05:24:43  western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland [Bruce Mactavish]





Subject: male Gadwall plumage
Date: Fri Jan 20 2017 0:29 am
From: whoffman AT peak.org
 
Good point!   Just not in definitive plumages.  And Reeber (Plate 39) illustrates a hybrid American Wigeon X Northern Shoveler with a distinct crescent.

Wayne
On 1/19/2017 11:44:52 AM, Tony Leukering wrote:
Wayne et al.:


I would add Northern Shoveler to the list of duck species expressing a white pre-ocular crescent:


http://cobirds.org/CFO/Colorad...




Tony


Tony Leukering
Largo, FL
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t...

http://aba.org/photoquiz/



-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Hoffman
To: BIRDWG01
Sent: Thu, Jan 19, 2017 1:56 pm
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] male Gadwall plumage

Hi -

I can see the reasons you might think this bird has a Pintail in its recent ancestry. I would not argue against it. On the other hand,

I think to understand plumage variation in waterfowl(and other birds), and to understand plumages of hybrids, we need to update our understanding of how feather colors (and shapes) are coded for and controlled genetically. At this point it appears that there are (at least) 2 levels of control. One set of genes codes for the production of the protein products that are the building blocks of feathers. The second set regulates the transcription of the first set.

Applying an analogy I have used before: consider a 3D Printer. The products it can create depend on (1) the precursor materials loaded into it, and (2) the software program that tells it when and how much of each of these substances to deposit. So think of the first set of genes loading the printer, and the second set running it.

In the case of duck plumages, there has to be a basic set of patterns coded, and then the transcription regulators determine which are activated.

The earlier discussion centered on the green blob/swoosh/rotated teardrop extending back from the eye. Evidently this is incorporated in an underlying pattern possessed by all(?) dabbling ducks and presumably expressed in their common ancestor. It is normally expressed in American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Common Teal, Falcated Duck (and Crested Shelduck), and masked, de-activated, or over-ridden in many species. In hybrids, it appears that the masking regulatory programs are disrupted, and this feature often is expressed, even if it is not expressed in either parent.

A second example is the vertical dark bar below the eye separating pale fore-cheek from hind-cheek in Baikal Teal. A similar vertical separation shows up in quite a few dabbling duck hybrid combinations.

Third, Baikal Teal expresses a vertical white bar separating breast from flank, a feature shared with Green-winged Teal but not Common Teal or most other dabbling ducks.

Fourth, Green-winged and Common Teal have a triangular yellow/tan patch framed in blackon the sides of the tail base. This is also present in slightly modified form in Falcated Duck.

Fifth. Blue-winged Teal are marked with a prominent white crescent between the bill and eye. This seems likely to be an expression of the same feature as the fattened crescent with supercilium on Baikal Teal, and this crescent as a retained ancestral pattern seems to be as likely an explanation as coincidental convergence for its appearance also in Barrow's Goldeneye.

I think we can see other ancestral and variably retained/suppressed charactersin other bird groups as well. For example, collars and contrasting patches on the sides of necks of Columbids. Or, contrasting crown patches in Tyrant Flycatchers. I doubt that many would argue that Kingbirds, Elanias, and Royal Flycatchers are each others' closest relatives in this large family.

Wayne


On 1/18/2017 11:15:35 AM, KEVIN karlson wrote:
A few weeks ago, Bates Estabrook posted a photo of a male Gadwall with a dark crown, and wondered if it could include hybrid genes from another duck species. The discussion basically covered ancestral traits of anas ducks and reflected on the ancient traits that exist in the gene pool of certain duck species. I just sent a photo of a male Gadwall that I mentioned in my response to Bates that I noticed had a darker crown than usual, but just brushed it off as variable Gadwall plumage based on these ancestral traits. However, closer views of this photo show distinct thin white lines on the tertial feathers and a grayish-blue cast to the bill base, which seem to be traits of male Northern Pintail. I was curious to see how others view this bird, and their opinion about hybrid genes or just ancestral traits. Here is the link to this photo on my website. http://kevinkarlsonphotography...



Kevin Karlson

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: male Gadwall plumage
Date: Thu Jan 19 2017 13:45 pm
From: 000000b797e8dae8-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
Wayne et al.:


I would add Northern Shoveler to the list of duck species expressing a white pre-ocular crescent:


http://cobirds.org/CFO/Colorad...




Tony


Tony Leukering
Largo, FL
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t...

http://aba.org/photoquiz/



-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Hoffman
To: BIRDWG01
Sent: Thu, Jan 19, 2017 1:56 pm
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] male Gadwall plumage

Hi -

I can see the reasons you might think this bird has a Pintail in its recent ancestry. I would not argue against it. On the other hand,

I think to understand plumage variation in waterfowl(and other birds), and to understand plumages of hybrids, we need to update our understanding of how feather colors (and shapes) are coded for and controlled genetically. At this point it appears that there are (at least) 2 levels of control. One set of genes codes for the production of the protein products that are the building blocks of feathers. The second set regulates the transcription of the first set.

Applying an analogy I have used before: consider a 3D Printer. The products it can create depend on (1) the precursor materials loaded into it, and (2) the software program that tells it when and how much of each of these substances to deposit. So think of the first set of genes loading the printer, and the second set running it.

In the case of duck plumages, there has to be a basic set of patterns coded, and then the transcription regulators determine which are activated.

The earlier discussion centered on the green blob/swoosh/rotated teardrop extending back from the eye. Evidently this is incorporated in an underlying pattern possessed by all(?) dabbling ducks and presumably expressed in their common ancestor. It is normally expressed in American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Common Teal, Falcated Duck (and Crested Shelduck), and masked, de-activated, or over-ridden in many species. In hybrids, it appears that the masking regulatory programs are disrupted, and this feature often is expressed, even if it is not expressed in either parent.

A second example is the vertical dark bar below the eye separating pale fore-cheek from hind-cheek in Baikal Teal. A similar vertical separation shows up in quite a few dabbling duck hybrid combinations.

Third, Baikal Teal expresses a vertical white bar separating breast from flank, a feature shared with Green-winged Teal but not Common Teal or most other dabbling ducks.

Fourth, Green-winged and Common Teal have a triangular yellow/tan patch framed in blackon the sides of the tail base. This is also present in slightly modified form in Falcated Duck.

Fifth. Blue-winged Teal are marked with a prominent white crescent between the bill and eye. This seems likely to be an expression of the same feature as the fattened crescent with supercilium on Baikal Teal, and this crescent as a retained ancestral pattern seems to be as likely an explanation as coincidental convergence for its appearance also in Barrow's Goldeneye.

I think we can see other ancestral and variably retained/suppressed charactersin other bird groups as well. For example, collars and contrasting patches on the sides of necks of Columbids. Or, contrasting crown patches in Tyrant Flycatchers. I doubt that many would argue that Kingbirds, Elanias, and Royal Flycatchers are each others' closest relatives in this large family.

Wayne


On 1/18/2017 11:15:35 AM, KEVIN karlson wrote:
A few weeks ago, Bates Estabrook posted a photo of a male Gadwall with a dark crown, and wondered if it could include hybrid genes from another duck species. The discussion basically covered ancestral traits of anas ducks and reflected on the ancient traits that exist in the gene pool of certain duck species. I just sent a photo of a male Gadwall that I mentioned in my response to Bates that I noticed had a darker crown than usual, but just brushed it off as variable Gadwall plumage based on these ancestral traits. However, closer views of this photo show distinct thin white lines on the tertial feathers and a grayish-blue cast to the bill base, which seem to be traits of male Northern Pintail. I was curious to see how others view this bird, and their opinion about hybrid genes or just ancestral traits. Here is the link to this photo on my website. http://kevinkarlsonphotography...



Kevin Karlson

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: male Gadwall plumage
Date: Thu Jan 19 2017 12:56 pm
From: whoffman AT peak.org
 
Hi - 

I can see the reasons you might think this bird has a Pintail in its recent ancestry.  I would not argue against it.  On the other hand, 

I think to understand plumage variation in waterfowl(and other birds), and to understand plumages of hybrids, we need to update our understanding of how feather colors (and shapes) are coded for and controlled genetically.  At this point it appears that there are (at least) 2 levels of control.  One set of genes codes for the production of the protein products that are the building blocks of feathers.  The second set regulates the transcription of the first set.

Applying an analogy I have used before:  consider a 3D Printer.  The products it can create depend on (1) the precursor materials loaded into it, and (2) the software program that tells it when and how much of each of these substances to deposit.  So think of the first set of genes loading the printer, and the second set running it.

In the case of duck plumages, there has to be a basic set of patterns coded, and then the transcription regulators determine which are activated.

The earlier discussion centered on the green blob/swoosh/rotated teardrop extending back from the eye.  Evidently this is incorporated in an underlying pattern possessed by all(?) dabbling ducks and presumably expressed in their common ancestor.  It is normally expressed in American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Common Teal, Falcated Duck (and Crested Shelduck),  and masked, de-activated, or over-ridden in many species. In hybrids, it appears that the masking regulatory programs are disrupted, and this feature often is expressed, even if it is not expressed in either parent.  

A second example is the vertical dark bar below the eye separating pale fore-cheek from hind-cheek in Baikal Teal.  A similar vertical separation shows up in quite a few dabbling duck hybrid combinations.

Third, Baikal Teal expresses a vertical white bar separating breast from flank, a feature shared with Green-winged Teal but not Common Teal or most other dabbling ducks.

Fourth, Green-winged and Common Teal have a triangular yellow/tan patch framed in blackon the sides of the tail base.  This is also present in slightly modified form in Falcated Duck.

Fifth.  Blue-winged Teal are marked with a prominent white crescent between the bill and eye.  This seems likely to be an expression of the same feature as the fattened crescent with supercilium on Baikal Teal, and this crescent as a retained ancestral pattern seems to be as likely an explanation as coincidental convergence for its appearance also in Barrow's Goldeneye.

I think we can see other ancestral and variably retained/suppressed charactersin other bird groups as well.  For example, collars and contrasting patches on the sides of necks of Columbids.  Or, contrasting crown patches in Tyrant Flycatchers.  I doubt that many would argue that Kingbirds, Elanias, and Royal Flycatchers are each others' closest relatives in this large family.

Wayne


On 1/18/2017 11:15:35 AM, KEVIN karlson wrote:
A few weeks ago, Bates Estabrook posted a photo of a male Gadwall with a dark crown, and wondered if it could include hybrid genes from another duck species. The discussion basically covered ancestral traits of anas ducks and reflected on the ancient traits that exist in the gene pool of certain duck species. I just sent a photo of a male Gadwall that I mentioned in my response to Bates that I noticed had a darker crown than usual, but just brushed it off as variable Gadwall plumage based on these ancestral traits. However, closer views of this photo show distinct thin white lines on the tertial feathers and a grayish-blue cast to the bill base, which seem to be traits of male Northern Pintail. I was curious to see how others view this bird, and their opinion about hybrid genes or just ancestral traits. Here is the link to this photo on my website. http://kevinkarlsonphotography...



Kevin Karlson

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: male Gadwall plumage
Date: Wed Jan 18 2017 13:15 pm
From: karlson3 AT comcast.net
 
A few weeks ago, Bates Estabrook posted a photo of a male Gadwall with a dark crown, and wondered if it could include hybrid genes from another duck species. The discussion basically covered ancestral traits of anas ducks and reflected on the ancient traits that exist in the gene pool of certain duck species. I just sent a photo of a male Gadwall that I mentioned in my response to Bates that I noticed had a darker crown than usual, but just brushed it off as variable Gadwall plumage based on these ancestral traits. However, closer views of this photo show distinct thin white lines on the tertial feathers and a grayish-blue cast to the bill base, which seem to be traits of male Northern Pintail. I was curious to see how others view this bird, and their opinion about hybrid genes or just ancestral traits. Here is the link to this photo on my website. http://kevinkarlsonphotography...



Kevin Karlson

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: San Diego County Larus sp.
Date: Tue Jan 17 2017 20:44 pm
From: jmpawli10 AT gmail.com
 
All-

Seeking comments on this apparent 2nd-cycle large gull that I observed
yesterday, 16 January 2017 at Lower Otay Lake, San Diego County,
California. Ten photos are in the eBird checklist below.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Plumage evidently appears good for a retarded 2nd-cycle Slaty-backed Gull,
and I was hoping that others with in-range experience with 1st/2nd-cycle
Slaty-backed Gull could offer opinions.

A few concerns are the bill color and eye color, as well as the lack of
solid/unpatterned blackish-gray mantle feathers. Additionally my
impressions of the size/shape were rather Glaucous-winged Gull-like (large,
thick bill; high, centrally-placed eye with "swollen" lores; large body
size with pot-bellied shape and very short primary projection). Obviously
some of these structural traits overlap with Slaty-backed Gull, so in
theory should be ok for the species, perhaps a large male.


Jim Pawlicki
San Diego, California, USA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: California x Ring-billed Gull?
Date: Tue Jan 10 2017 17:28 pm
From: 000000b797e8dae8-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
Peter:

What a cool bird! I agree with the tentative ID, with other features arguing strongly for it being the bill pattern, eye color, and seemingly long-legged appearance.

Colorado has a record of hybridization between Cal and Herring at a Cal breeding colony in South Park (Antero Res, I think). I'm away from my library, so cannot check references. I do recall that there is a specimen collected from that event at the Denver museum, and I think that it is one of the progeny (I haven't looked at it).

Tony

Tony Leukering
Largo, FL
www.aba.org/photoquiz/
www.flickr.com/photos/tony_leukering
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com

> On Jan 10, 2017, at 16:56, Peter Pyle wrote:
>
> Hi all -
>
> Mark Sawyer photographed this adult gull in central California on 6 January 2017 and is seeking comment from Larophiles on his tentative identification of Ring-billed X California gull hybrid. Most or all features seem intermediate to me, including wing-tip patterns (p5-p7 resembling RBGU more and p9-p10 resembling CAGU more) and it seems a good candidate for such a hybrid. We're also curious if this hybrid combination has been "confirmed" previously. I could only find references to "possible" hybrids between these two species (Harrison 1983, McCarthy 2006, Howell and Dunn 2007) or any hybrid involving California Gull.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Peter
>
> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: California x Ring-billed Gull?
Date: Tue Jan 10 2017 15:56 pm
From: ppyle AT birdpop.org
 
Hi all -

Mark Sawyer photographed this adult gull in central California on 6
January 2017 and is seeking comment from Larophiles on his tentative
identification of Ring-billed X California gull hybrid. Most or all
features seem intermediate to me, including wing-tip patterns (p5-p7
resembling RBGU more and p9-p10 resembling CAGU more) and it seems a
good candidate for such a hybrid. We're also curious if this hybrid
combination has been "confirmed" previously. I could only find
references to "possible" hybrids between these two species (Harrison
1983, McCarthy 2006, Howell and Dunn 2007) or any hybrid involving
California Gull.

Thanks in advance,

Peter

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: strange bird from Nevada reported…
Date: Sun Jan 8 2017 21:48 pm
From: 000002657e647fb8-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
The general assemblage of characters might be OK for Pine Grosbeak, particularly for a young male of the interior West population in transitional plumage. I don't speak from experience; I'm looking at the plate on page 570 of the 2014 Sibley Guide to Birds, and all the details mentioned appear to be within the realm of potential variation for that species.
Paul ClyneChicago paulclyne2000@yahoo.com

From: Jeff Gilligan
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Sent: Sunday, January 8, 2017 8:10 PM
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] strange bird from Nevada reported…

The following is a description of a bird seen today at Tule Springs, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  The description was sent to me second hand.  The birder was described as experienced but not "expert".  The description is fairly detailed, at least in regard to what seem to be very distinctive characteristics regarding the bird.  I am drawing a blank as to what it could be.  I don't think that the observer saw a regular species based on the description of his experience and the distinctive marks he mentions on the bird.  I am not on a Nevada listserv, so I am posting here, since it also is an identification quandary, at least to me.  Perhaps it is an escaped exotic? 

currently on the southern Oregon coast,
Jeff Gilligan




> "Subject bird was in mesquite tree
> . About the size of a Mockingbird.
> Dark feet, dark seed eater beak.
> Dark eyes.
> Orange rump ala Audubon's warbler
>
> Orange crown
> Reddish malar area.
> Red spot, under and behind mandible.
> Gray tail 3 1/2 inches, no other color in tail.
> Gray back.
> Light gray belly, with 4 dark "belly bars"!

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: strange bird from Nevada reported…
Date: Sun Jan 8 2017 21:41 pm
From: jeffgilligan10 AT gmail.com
 
Thanks Paul.  I will pass that along and suggest the observer try for a photo.  I think Pine Grosbeak would be very unusual at that location, though they breed in the Sierra  Nevada Mts.   Jeff Gilligan


On Jan 8, 2017, at 7:38 PM, Paul Clyne wrote:

> The general assemblage of characters might be OK for Pine Grosbeak, particularly for a young male of the interior West population in transitional plumage. I don't speak from experience; I'm looking at the plate on page 570 of the 2014 Sibley Guide to Birds, and all the details mentioned appear to be within the realm of potential variation for that species.
>
> Paul Clyne
> Chicago
>
> paulclyne2000@yahoo.com
>
>
> From: Jeff Gilligan
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Sent: Sunday, January 8, 2017 8:10 PM
> Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] strange bird from Nevada reported
>
> The following is a description of a bird seen today at Tule Springs, near Las Vegas, Nevada. The description was sent to me second hand. The birder was described as experienced but not "expert". The description is fairly detailed, at least in regard to what seem to be very distinctive characteristics regarding the bird. I am drawing a blank as to what it could be. I don't think that the observer saw a regular species based on the description of his experience and the distinctive marks he mentions on the bird. I am not on a Nevada listserv, so I am posting here, since it also is an identification quandary, at least to me. Perhaps it is an escaped exotic?
>
> currently on the southern Oregon coast,
> Jeff Gilligan
>
>
>
>
> > "Subject bird was in mesquite tree
> > . About the size of a Mockingbird.
> > Dark feet, dark seed eater beak.
> > Dark eyes.
> > Orange rump ala Audubon's warbler
> >
> > Orange crown
> > Reddish malar area.
> > Red spot, under and behind mandible.
> > Gray tail 3 1/2 inches, no other color in tail.
> > Gray back.
> > Light gray belly, with 4 dark "belly bars"!
>
>
> Archives:
> https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: strange bird from Nevada reported…
Date: Sun Jan 8 2017 21:02 pm
From: Chill AT coastal.edu
 
It sounds like a beginning birder's description of a House Finch to me. 

Chris Hill
Conway, SC
________________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Jeff Gilligan [jeffgilligan10 AT GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2017 9:10 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] strange bird from Nevada reported

The following is a description of a bird seen today at Tule Springs, near Las Vegas, Nevada. The description was sent to me second hand. The birder was described as experienced but not "expert". The description is fairly detailed, at least in regard to what seem to be very distinctive characteristics regarding the bird. I am drawing a blank as to what it could be. I don't think that the observer saw a regular species based on the description of his experience and the distinctive marks he mentions on the bird. I am not on a Nevada listserv, so I am posting here, since it also is an identification quandary, at least to me. Perhaps it is an escaped exotic?

currently on the southern Oregon coast,
Jeff Gilligan




> "Subject bird was in mesquite tree
> . About the size of a Mockingbird.
> Dark feet, dark seed eater beak.
> Dark eyes.
> Orange rump ala Audubon's warbler
>
> Orange crown
> Reddish malar area.
> Red spot, under and behind mandible.
> Gray tail 3 1/2 inches, no other color in tail.
> Gray back.
> Light gray belly, with 4 dark "belly bars"!

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: strange bird from Nevada reported…
Date: Sun Jan 8 2017 20:11 pm
From: jeffgilligan10 AT gmail.com
 
The following is a description of a bird seen today at Tule Springs, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  The description was sent to me second hand.  The birder was described as experienced but not "expert".  The description is fairly detailed, at least in regard to what seem to be very distinctive characteristics regarding the bird.  I am drawing a blank as to what it could be.  I don't think that the observer saw a regular species based on the description of his experience and the distinctive marks he mentions on the bird.  I am not on a Nevada listserv, so I am posting here, since it also is an identification quandary, at least to me.  Perhaps it is an escaped exotic?  

currently on the southern Oregon coast,
Jeff Gilligan




> "Subject bird was in mesquite tree
> . About the size of a Mockingbird.
> Dark feet, dark seed eater beak.
> Dark eyes.
> Orange rump ala Audubon's warbler
>
> Orange crown
> Reddish malar area.
> Red spot, under and behind mandible.
> Gray tail 3 1/2 inches, no other color in tail.
> Gray back.
> Light gray belly, with 4 dark "belly bars"!

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Sat Jan 7 2017 19:19 pm
From: karlson3 AT comcast.net
 
Bates and all: I photographed a few of these strongly marked male Gadwall this past fall, and noted the same caution when I first encountered them. However, as several people pointed out, they are just strongly marked male Gadwalls and not hybrids in my opinion. Several just like this bird were present in Cape May this fall. Kevin Karlson
> On January 6, 2017 at 7:27 AM Bates Estabrooks wrote:
>
>
> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 10:57 am
From: llsdirons AT msn.com
 
This is a seemingly normal variation expressed in some male Gadwall. I am happy to see Martin Reid put words to a theory that I arrived at a couple years back and have shared in other forums and in many private discussions. Under close scrutiny the head patterns of almost all male Anas ducks show at least a diffuse head stripe/wedge. Often it just enhanced iridescence. Living in the land of Nike, I call it a "swoosh" stripe (upside down).

What lead me to conclude that this stripe is a trait is ancestral is the fact that when Anas hybridize the male offspring typically have a fairly conspicuous swoosh stripe even when neither parent species shows an obvious stripe. Brewer's Duck (Mallard X Gadwall) is perhaps the best example of this.

Dave Irons

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 6, 2017, at 7:52 AM, Martin Reid wrote:
>
> All,
> There is a small but meaningful difference between Bates’ bird and those discussed/illustrated in preceding comments: The rear of the crown and upper nape are pale gray (similar to lower cheeks), and the forecrown is also pale but has a buffy tinge. This might suggest that some wigeon genes are in this individual’s recent genetic past, but there are a couple of phenomena that could explain this bird’s appearance.
>
> Ancestral re-expression: Here is a snippet I wrote years ago regarding a similar situation:
> “I feel that many (but not all) cases of male ducks that show some form of curved green wedge behind the eye, are not due to the direct influence of recent hybridization with a relative that has this plumage feature, but instead are due to an expression of a normally-suppressed element of the genome that lingers in all the dabbling ducks from their common ancestor.
> We don't know what the common ancestor of the dabbling duck tribe looked like, but we can make some educated (?) guesses using Baikal Teal as a model, since Baikal Teal split off from all other dabblers long before the later radiation into the species we are now familiar with (Johnson and Sorenson. Comparing Molecular evolution in two mitochondrial protein coding genes (Cytochrome b and ND2) in the dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini). MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION Vol. 10, No. 1, August, pp. 82-94, 1998).
> Thus I speculate that the common ancestor had some form of green curved wedge behind the eye, and this is why this feature is part of the normal plumage of so many current species.
> I think that this explains why so many non-standard individuals of our dabblers have the shared feature of this curved green wedge in some form. I have heard birders say that a Blue-winged Teal with such a green wedge is a hybrid with Green-winged Teal, and similarly for Cinnamon Teal so-adorned. I don’t think such birds necessarily have any recent hybrid genes in their make-ups, but instead bare the re-expression of an ancient family trait.“
>
> Secondly, as mentioned in an earlier reply, there is a theory that as individual males get older they get a stronger facial pattern, with a green wedge developing plus more contrast between this green wedge and the surrounding feathers. This is dramatically illustrated in the so-called “Storm Wigeon” - see pic (http://www.martinreid.com/Main... or search for this term for numerous examples online.
> This process would be a simple explanation for most, if not all, examples of dabbling ducks that have a non-typical extent of green behind the eye (but otherwise look normal) - as opposed to these birds being recent hybrids.
>
> Cheers,
> martin
>
> ---
> Martin Reid
> San Antonio
> www.martinreid.com
>
>
>
>> On Jan 6, 2017, at Jan 6, 6:27 AM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:
>>
>> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>>
>>
>> Thanks much.
>>
>>
>>
>> https://photos.google.com/shar...
>>
>>
>> Bates Estabrooks
>>
>> Tennessee
>>
>> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 10:03 am
From: hawkcall AT hotmail.com
 
And FWIW I believe the pale edge on the crown/neck is an artifact of reflected light/rim lighting as the bird is mostly lit from behind.  Just my opinion, but those areas doesn't truly look light brown to my eye.

Cathy Sheeter
www.cathysheeter.com

> On Jan 6, 2017, at 10:52 AM, Martin Reid wrote:
>
> All,
> There is a small but meaningful difference between Bates’ bird and those discussed/illustrated in preceding comments: The rear of the crown and upper nape are pale gray (similar to lower cheeks), and the forecrown is also pale but has a buffy tinge. This might suggest that some wigeon genes are in this individual’s recent genetic past, but there are a couple of phenomena that could explain this bird’s appearance.
>
> Ancestral re-expression: Here is a snippet I wrote years ago regarding a similar situation:
> “I feel that many (but not all) cases of male ducks that show some form of curved green wedge behind the eye, are not due to the direct influence of recent hybridization with a relative that has this plumage feature, but instead are due to an expression of a normally-suppressed element of the genome that lingers in all the dabbling ducks from their common ancestor.
> We don't know what the common ancestor of the dabbling duck tribe looked like, but we can make some educated (?) guesses using Baikal Teal as a model, since Baikal Teal split off from all other dabblers long before the later radiation into the species we are now familiar with (Johnson and Sorenson. Comparing Molecular evolution in two mitochondrial protein coding genes (Cytochrome b and ND2) in the dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini). MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION Vol. 10, No. 1, August, pp. 82-94, 1998).
> Thus I speculate that the common ancestor had some form of green curved wedge behind the eye, and this is why this feature is part of the normal plumage of so many current species.
> I think that this explains why so many non-standard individuals of our dabblers have the shared feature of this curved green wedge in some form. I have heard birders say that a Blue-winged Teal with such a green wedge is a hybrid with Green-winged Teal, and similarly for Cinnamon Teal so-adorned. I don’t think such birds necessarily have any recent hybrid genes in their make-ups, but instead bare the re-expression of an ancient family trait.“
>
> Secondly, as mentioned in an earlier reply, there is a theory that as individual males get older they get a stronger facial pattern, with a green wedge developing plus more contrast between this green wedge and the surrounding feathers. This is dramatically illustrated in the so-called “Storm Wigeon” - see pic (http://www.martinreid.com/Main... or search for this term for numerous examples online.
> This process would be a simple explanation for most, if not all, examples of dabbling ducks that have a non-typical extent of green behind the eye (but otherwise look normal) - as opposed to these birds being recent hybrids.
>
> Cheers,
> martin
>
> ---
> Martin Reid
> San Antonio
> www.martinreid.com
>
>
>
>> On Jan 6, 2017, at Jan 6, 6:27 AM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:
>>
>> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>>
>>
>> Thanks much.
>>
>>
>>
>> https://photos.google.com/shar...
>>
>>
>> Bates Estabrooks
>>
>> Tennessee
>>
>> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 9:52 am
From: upupa AT airmail.net
 
All,
There is a small but meaningful difference between Bates’ bird and those discussed/illustrated in preceding comments: The rear of the crown and upper nape are pale gray (similar to lower cheeks), and the forecrown is also pale but has a buffy tinge. This might suggest that some wigeon genes are in this individual’s recent genetic past, but there are a couple of phenomena that could explain this bird’s appearance.

Ancestral re-expression: Here is a snippet I wrote years ago regarding a similar situation:
“I feel that many (but not all) cases of male ducks that show some form of curved green wedge behind the eye, are not due to the direct influence of recent hybridization with a relative that has this plumage feature, but instead are due to an expression of a normally-suppressed element of the genome that lingers in all the dabbling ducks from their common ancestor.
We don't know what the common ancestor of the dabbling duck tribe looked like, but we can make some educated (?) guesses using Baikal Teal as a model, since Baikal Teal split off from all other dabblers long before the later radiation into the species we are now familiar with (Johnson and Sorenson. Comparing Molecular evolution in two mitochondrial protein coding genes (Cytochrome b and ND2) in the dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini). MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION Vol. 10, No. 1, August, pp. 82-94, 1998).
Thus I speculate that the common ancestor had some form of green curved wedge behind the eye, and this is why this feature is part of the normal plumage of so many current species.
I think that this explains why so many non-standard individuals of our dabblers have the shared feature of this curved green wedge in some form. I have heard birders say that a Blue-winged Teal with such a green wedge is a hybrid with Green-winged Teal, and similarly for Cinnamon Teal so-adorned. I don’t think such birds necessarily have any recent hybrid genes in their make-ups, but instead bare the re-expression of an ancient family trait.“

Secondly, as mentioned in an earlier reply, there is a theory that as individual males get older they get a stronger facial pattern, with a green wedge developing plus more contrast between this green wedge and the surrounding feathers. This is dramatically illustrated in the so-called “Storm Wigeon” - see pic (http://www.martinreid.com/Main... or search for this term for numerous examples online.
This process would be a simple explanation for most, if not all, examples of dabbling ducks that have a non-typical extent of green behind the eye (but otherwise look normal) - as opposed to these birds being recent hybrids.

Cheers,
martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com



> On Jan 6, 2017, at Jan 6, 6:27 AM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:
>
> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 8:12 am
From: birder1 AT bellsouth.net
 
Bates,
I don't really see anything on the bird, other than the head pattern to suggest other than Gadwall. I've seen quite a few of these very high contrast head pattern birds, that in other aspects look entirely like a typical Gadwall. I would suggest your first impression of Gadwall was correct. This pattern is mentioned in Reeber's Waterfowl of Europe, Asia and North America. He mentions it is most commonly seen in North America, and may reflect an ancient sign of hybridization, but considers it a Gadwall. Are we seeing anything off on the bird in the photos other than the head pattern?
Good birding!
Michael ToddJackson, TNwww.pbase.com/mctodd

On Friday, January 6, 2017 7:49 AM, The HH75 wrote:


Hi Bates,
    I think Larry is on to something, though, obviously, the wigeon parent
would likely be American Wigeon over there. I have found a few images of
presumed Gadwall x Eurasian Wigeon online and these look quite similar to
the subject bird.

Regards,

Harry Hussey, Cork, Ireland

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 12:27 PM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:

> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN.  I
> need ID help with the duck in the center.  I want to say Gadwall, but the
> head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
> hRIh2Bym79QxVW4MShfI9wSYO3jIUOB_QudL9owNJqppYgVs6Sx79g?key=
> T0NxWjdGaGtxXzJHWHNaSjJaNFBXR1JqcmdDSmtB
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...




Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 7:58 am
From: hawkcall AT hotmail.com
 
To be the voice of discent, this bird looks perfect for an adult male Gadwall - just a more strongly marked individual.  I see no indication of hybrid.  Adult males can get quite strong contrast on the upper half of the hear, and sometimes a strong maroon to purple sheen (which like all irridecence can look different at different angles).    I was told once (though do not have science to back it up) that older males have stronger contrasting head patterns than younger males.  Wigeon x Gadwall hybrids show some degree of blue on the bill, not the long solid dark bill of this bird and some structural aspect to suggest hybrid ancestry, which this bird does not show i(if you cover the head you will see a perfect normal male Gadwall body).  To me this is without a doubt just a good ole', under appreciated for their beauty, heavily marked Gadwall.  You can see a close up head shot of a strongly marked individual here: http://www.refugeforums.com/re...  and many other photos of contrasting headed Gadwalls online.  Some are just superb!


Cathy Sheeter
www.cathysheeter.com


________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of The HH75
Sent: Friday, January 6, 2017 5:49 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Duck

Hi Bates,
I think Larry is on to something, though, obviously, the wigeon parent
would likely be American Wigeon over there. I have found a few images of
presumed Gadwall x Eurasian Wigeon online and these look quite similar to
the subject bird.

Regards,

Harry Hussey, Cork, Ireland

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 12:27 PM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:

> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I
> need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the
> head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
> hRIh2Bym79QxVW4MShfI9wSYO3jIUOB_QudL9owNJqppYgVs6Sx79g?key=
> T0NxWjdGaGtxXzJHWHNaSjJaNFBXR1JqcmdDSmtB
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 7:58 am
From: dallenyc AT earthlink.net
 
Hi Bates & Larry,

Here's a photo of a male Gadwall taken in early December that resembles your bird:

http://photo.net/photodb/photo...

It seems that some males have darker caps than others. The bill color (black) and undertail (black), pale gray tertials, and other markings are certainly fine for male Gadwall. I see no reason to think that this bird is a hybrid.

Deb Allen


-----Original Message-----
>From: Bates Estabrooks
>Sent: Jan 6, 2017 7:27 AM
>To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>Subject: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Duck
>
>I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>
>
>Thanks much.
>
>
>
>https://photos.google.com/shar...
>
>
>Bates Estabrooks
>
>Tennessee
>
>Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 7:49 am
From: hhussey3 AT gmail.com
 
Hi Bates,
I think Larry is on to something, though, obviously, the wigeon parent
would likely be American Wigeon over there. I have found a few images of
presumed Gadwall x Eurasian Wigeon online and these look quite similar to
the subject bird.

Regards,

Harry Hussey, Cork, Ireland

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 12:27 PM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:

> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I
> need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the
> head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
> hRIh2Bym79QxVW4MShfI9wSYO3jIUOB_QudL9owNJqppYgVs6Sx79g?key> T0NxWjdGaGtxXzJHWHNaSjJaNFBXR1JqcmdDSmtB
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 7:28 am
From: 000002639f067b85-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
Looks like it could be Gadwall x Wigeon.

Larry Scacchetti

NJ

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 6, 2017, at 7:27 AM, Bates Estabrooks wrote:
>
> I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN. I need ID help with the duck in the center. I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.
>
>
> Thanks much.
>
>
>
> https://photos.google.com/shar...
>
>
> Bates Estabrooks
>
> Tennessee
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Duck
Date: Fri Jan 6 2017 6:28 am
From: wgpu AT hotmail.com
 
I took these (poor) photos yesterday at a pond SW of Oak Ridge, TN.  I need ID help with the duck in the center.  I want to say Gadwall, but the head pattern seems off.


Thanks much.



https://photos.google.com/shar...


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age
Date: Thu Jan 5 2017 12:09 pm
From: ppyle AT birdpop.org
 
I agree this is certainly a fist-winter bird by the molt limits, but
I'm not as sure that this is a female, though agree it could be. Many
formative females are duller with less black in the crown and throat,
for example,
http://www.birdphotography.com...

On the other hand, many formative males are bolder than this bird,
with more black and without thin shaft streaks to the median covert
tips, as Ashli thoroughly and correctly describes. All criteria can
be variable and it is not unusual in first-winter Setophaga to have
one or two not fit a typical pattern for a given sex, and for there
to be some overlap. I guess my conservative leaning would be sex
unknown. Perhaps it will stick around until the prealternate molt in
March-April and sex can be confirmed.

Peter

At 12:55 PM 1/2/2017, Ashli Gorbet wrote:
>What a great January bird for D.C.!
>
>
>This bird appears to be a second year individual based on the
>slightly abraded and brownish flight feathers and rectrices, as well
>as contrastingly dull primary coverts. The lack of black in the
>throat, as well as the gray cheek, mostly grayish crown, gray and
>indistinct flank streaks, and slightly brownish washed back without
>black centers to individual feathers all indicate female. A male
>should be more blue gray above, have more black in the crown, a
>darker cheek (mostly blackish), more contrasting wingbar and flight
>feather edges (greater coverts black with white versus gray with
>white), and would show bolder, blacker flank-streaking.
>
>
>I would caution folks against sexing this species based on throat
>pattern alone as I have seen many females with nearly completely
>black throats. Most birders would likely call these birds males
>based on depictions in field guides which tend to make people think
>there are only two possible throat patterns in this species. I can
>say with certainty, after years spent in the field studying this
>species, that females have quite a range of throat patterns from the
>near-"male" pattern I describe to what field guides typically depict
>as females (what this D.C. bird displays). While a bird with a
>throat this white is a female, not all birds with black throats are
>males. In fact, at my study site in Central New Mexico, I found many
>more females tending toward completely black throats than completely
>light throats. The typical female at my site showed a beautiful
>marble-like pattern of black and white in their throats. In all the
>years I studied BTWY, I think I only had one bird that showed the
>throat pattern of this bird. They are definitely in the minority, at
>least where I did my work.
>
>
>While I was never able to observe the progression (or lack thereof)
>of throat pattern in an individual female, my feeling is that birds
>with the whitest throats are young females and after their first
>adult prebasic molt they acquire more black. Whether that amount of
>black is then "set" for the remainder of that bird's life or
>continues to progress in subsequent molts would be an interesting
>thing to study. Perhaps someone out there has experience with this
>and could help shed light on the topic?
>
>
>Again, this is a really fantastic bird for this time of year. We
>don't typically get to see them in January, so I appreciate you
>sharing the pictures and inquiring. I'd love to hear other folks'
>experiences as well if you have additional/differing observations.
>
>
>Thanks, Hugh.
>
>
>Ashli Gorbet
>
>
>Black Swamp Bird Observatory
>
>Oak Harbor, OH
>
>
>________________________________
>From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> on behalf of Hugh McGuinness
>
>Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 12:39 PM
>To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>Subject: [BIRDWG01] Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age
>
>The District of Columbia is currently enjoying its first BLACK-THROATED
>GRAY WARBLER. I believe the individual, shown in the links below, is an
>adult female b/c of the lack of black on the throat, the lack of buffy
>flanks, and the well developed blue-gray color of the upper parts. I would
>love to hear confirmation or rejection from people more experienced with
>the species than I.
>
>http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
>http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
>http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
>http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
>Thanks, Hugh
>
>Hugh McGuinness
>Washington, D.C.
>
>Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
>Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age
Date: Mon Jan 2 2017 15:06 pm
From: antelope916 AT hotmail.com
 
What a great January bird for D.C.!


This bird appears to be a second year individual based on the slightly abraded and brownish flight feathers and rectrices, as well as contrastingly dull primary coverts. The lack of black in the throat, as well as the gray cheek, mostly grayish crown, gray and indistinct flank streaks, and slightly brownish washed back without black centers to individual feathers all indicate female. A male should be more blue gray above, have more black in the crown, a darker cheek (mostly blackish), more contrasting wingbar and flight feather edges (greater coverts black with white versus gray with white), and would show bolder, blacker flank-streaking.


I would caution folks against sexing this species based on throat pattern alone as I have seen many females with nearly completely black throats. Most birders would likely call these birds males based on depictions in field guides which tend to make people think there are only two possible throat patterns in this species. I can say with certainty, after years spent in the field studying this species, that females have quite a range of throat patterns from the near-"male" pattern I describe to what field guides typically depict as females (what this D.C. bird displays). While a bird with a throat this white is a female, not all birds with black throats are males. In fact, at my study site in Central New Mexico, I found many more females tending toward completely black throats than completely light throats. The typical female at my site showed a beautiful marble-like pattern of black and white in their throats. In all the years I studied BTWY, I think I only had one bird that showed the throat pattern of this bird. They are definitely in the minority, at least where I did my work.


While I was never able to observe the progression (or lack thereof) of throat pattern in an individual female, my feeling is that birds with the whitest throats are young females and after their first adult prebasic molt they acquire more black. Whether that amount of black is then "set" for the remainder of that bird's life or continues to progress in subsequent molts would be an interesting thing to study. Perhaps someone out there has experience with this and could help shed light on the topic?


Again, this is a really fantastic bird for this time of year. We don't typically get to see them in January, so I appreciate you sharing the pictures and inquiring. I'd love to hear other folks' experiences as well if you have additional/differing observations.


Thanks, Hugh.


Ashli Gorbet


Black Swamp Bird Observatory

Oak Harbor, OH


________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of Hugh McGuinness
Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 12:39 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age

The District of Columbia is currently enjoying its first BLACK-THROATED
GRAY WARBLER. I believe the individual, shown in the links below, is an
adult female b/c of the lack of black on the throat, the lack of buffy
flanks, and the well developed blue-gray color of the upper parts. I would
love to hear confirmation or rejection from people more experienced with
the species than I.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Thanks, Hugh

Hugh McGuinness
Washington, D.C.

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age
Date: Mon Jan 2 2017 14:49 pm
From: Shaibal.Mitra AT csi.cuny.edu
 
To my eye, the contrast between the black-centered, neatly edged, greater secondary coverts and the much browner, more worn-looking primary coverts, suggest a bird in formative plumage (second calendar year = SY, as of yesterday).

Best,
Shai
________________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] on behalf of Hugh McGuinness [hdmcguinness@GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 2:39 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age

The District of Columbia is currently enjoying its first BLACK-THROATED
GRAY WARBLER. I believe the individual, shown in the links below, is an
adult female b/c of the lack of black on the throat, the lack of buffy
flanks, and the well developed blue-gray color of the upper parts. I would
love to hear confirmation or rejection from people more experienced with
the species than I.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Thanks, Hugh

Hugh McGuinness
Washington, D.C.

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Black-throated Gray Warbler Sex/Age
Date: Mon Jan 2 2017 13:39 pm
From: hdmcguinness AT gmail.com
 
The District of Columbia is currently enjoying its first BLACK-THROATED
GRAY WARBLER. I believe the individual, shown in the links below, is an
adult female b/c of the lack of black on the throat, the lack of buffy
flanks, and the well developed blue-gray color of the upper parts. I would
love to hear confirmation or rejection from people more experienced with
the species than I.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Thanks, Hugh

Hugh McGuinness
Washington, D.C.

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: RFI: Rock Sandpiper Soft Parts Coloration
Date: Sun Jan 1 2017 23:06 pm
From: jarofme AT hotmail.com
 
Hi all,


On December 30th, 2016, I found what would normally be presumed to be a Rock Sandpiper on a nearshore islet along the Victoria, BC waterfront. The bird I was looking at, however, had a very bright orange bill base and vibrant creamsicle orange legs. I had to rush off and didn't have a lot of time to study the bird and did not get any photos, but when I got home that night I realized it bore a stronger resemblance to Purple Sandpiper than it did to a Rock Sandpiper. I urged birders to get out to look for the bird and get some photo documentation. Daniel Donnecke took a very solid approach and kayaked to Little Trial Island on December 31st and managed to find the bird and then tracked it over to the Victoria Golf Course where he managed some record shots. We are aware that this bird cannot be definitively identified from the photos available, so that is not the intent of my inquiry.


To see Daniel's record photos, see his decent record shots here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...


My response pertains to the general response that Purple Sandpipers cannot be identified by soft parts coloration because there are examples of Rock Sandpipers that have a very bright bill base and legs. I would be interested in seeing some examples of these bright Rock Sandpipers to get a sense of what the known extreme looks like and see how it compares to the Victoria bird. I understand that there is overlap, but I am wondering if the overlap is complete (i.e., the drabbest billed PUSAs look identifical to the drabbest ROSAs and the brightest ROSAs look like the brightest PUSAs) or if nearly all field identifications in the late fall/winter are based purely on allopatry.


I am grateful for any examples of extremely bright Rock Sandpipers and also any input on the Victoria bird. Purple Sandpiper would be a first provincial record for British Columbia, so I am hoping local birders can compile a bunch of documentation over the next while, including flight/spread wing shots. This will be no small feat as the bird may stick to nearshore islets that are 20+ meters (~60 ft) away and the lighting has been really tricky (late day and backlit). This is an extraordinary claim and I know it requires extraordinary evidence, so I really hope it can all come together!


Thanks and Happy New Year,

Jeremy Gatten

Saanichton, BC


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
Date: Fri Dec 30 2016 19:00 pm
From: ppyle AT birdpop.org
 
Hi all -

My impression having looked at a lot of specimens and trying to
figure out Fox Sparrows on the Farallones in the 1980-90s is that
altivagans is somewhat of an intergrade swarm taxon between Pacific
Coastal, Boreal/Eastern, and, to a lesser extent Great Basin
subspecies groups. In this manner it is similar to merrilli Song
Sparrows, cismontanus Dark-eyed Juncos, and other taxa that have
subspecies or species groups meeting in British Columbia. As such,
altivagans is a variable taxon that shows more Pacific tendencies
toward the western portion of the range, more Eastern tendencies
toward the northern and eastern portions of the range, and more Great
Basin tendencies toward the southern portion of the range. The
problem with birds outside of the breeding range is that it is easy
to assign almost anything that doesn't fit expectations into the
"altivagans" pot, resulting in some circular reasoning on what
exactly altivagans is. This may not be an incorrect approach,
however. I'm grateful to Steve and others for taking us to the next
level in trying to figure this out.

Last year Lucas DeCicco sent to me some Fox Sparrow specimens from
Middleton Island, Alaska, for subspecies assessment in comparison
with specimens at MVZ. My comments are below, and I'll be happy to
share my photographs to those interested enough in this, though I'll
be "off-line" now for about a week.

Best to all for 2017,

Peter

Lucas DeCicco: we have a long series of fall birds from Middleton,
many of which we identified based on comparable material at UAM. We
have three specimens that we would like your opinion on. Two birds
show olive tones to their plumage, we are assuming this is some type
of plumage aberration not linked to subspecies, but would like your
opinion. The third specimen (UAM34532) troubles me greatly as it does
not appear to match any intergrade combination of Alaska breeding
taxa. In my uneducated opinion, it appears similar to a
schistacea-group taxon, but I would greatly appreciate an educated
opinion on this. This bird may be best left without a name. If you
would like, we can also send a couple specimens from Middleton that
we identified as intergrade sinuosa x zaboria for comparison (the
only combination that comes close in plumage aspect to the specimen
in question).

Peter Pyle:

Upon initial inspection these grouped as follows to me:

UAM 30809 - more rufous than the other four specimens
UAM 34529 and 34532 slightly grayer than UAM 34530 and 34537
UAM 34530 and 34537 slightly browner than UAM 34529 and 34532

UAM 30809 falls within the series identified at MVZ as altivagans. I
believe that this subspecies is an integrade swarm between zaboria,
sooty subspecies to the west, and schistacea (see below). It appears
closer to the specimens labeled altivagans than to a bird identified
as Swarth as zaboria x townsendi (MVZ 42418) but to me this latter
specimen could also be placed within the wide range of variation
found among altivagans.

Photos (left to right):
MVZ 31257 zaboria California
MVZ 42418 zaboria x townsendi Hazelton BC
UAM 30889
MVZ 26039 altivagans Hazelton BC
MVZ 9660 townsendi AK

All four of UAM 34529, 34532, 34530, and 34537 also are matched best
by specimens labeled altivagans. They are generally grayer on the
back and less-marked on the breast than specimens of any of the Sooty
subspecies but redder and heavier marked on the breast than specimens
of schistacea. I believe that subspecies altivagans is like merrilli
Song Sparrows (see Johnson et al. 2013, Western Birds 44:162-170) and
cismontanus juncos in representing genetic hodge-podges of NW
coastal, Boreal/Eastern, and Great Basin subspecies groups which come
together in central BC. These subspecies tend to vary a lot and show
characters closer to the peripheral groups as one approaches the
respective edges of the swarm area. Maybe altivagans should not be
considered a valid subspecies but I believe that all five of your
birds come from this swarm, with the redder 30889 influenced more by
zaboria/townsendi and the other four more with schistacea
introgression. I should also note that many specimens at MVZ,
especially those collected in California, show a lot of variation
such that some labeled fuliginosa and others labeled schistacea also
come close to one or more of the UAM birds, but for all we know these
birds may also originate from the "altivagans" area.

Photos (all fresh fall birds, matching UAM specimens closest):
MVZ 80564 fuliginosa
UAM 34532-34529-34530-34537
MVZ 88125 altavagans
MVZ 12188 altavagans
MVZ 12189 altavagans
MVZ 27373 schistacea

At 08:00 AM 12/30/2016, Steve Hampton wrote:
>Jason,
>
>Thanks for these pics! Breeding ground pics of many FOSP are hard to come
>by. These pics and everything you say are consistent with my understanding
>of altivagans as well. In these pics, I note the wingbars and tertial tips
>are negligible-- I wonder if that is thru wear (as these birds are in
>April). Either way, they would have been quite small to begin with.
>
>thanks!
>
>
>
>On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 7:35 AM, Jason Rogers wrote:
>
> > Hi Andrew,
> >
> > The birds in this checklist are what I consider altivagans -
> > http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
> >
> > Though the observer has called one a Red and the other a Slate-colored, I
> > believe both are just variations of altivagans, which is the subspecies to
> > be expected at that location.
> >
> > Comparing these to Red, they're darker grey above and the browns are less
> > red. Head markings, mantle streaking, and wing bars are subtler. Bills are
> > greyer. P. i. schistacea seems to have blacker markings below. But I'd also
> > be interested in hearing from others on this.
> >
> > Jason Rogers
> > Calgary, AB
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification <
> > BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU> on behalf of Andrew Spencer <
> > gwwarbler@GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: December 26, 2016 2:43 AM
> > To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> > Subject: [BIRDWG01] A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
> > Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
> > here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
> > impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
> > like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
> > bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
> > article:
> > http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> > northwests-more-confusing-species/
> > [http://ebird.org/content/nw/wp...
> > Figure_2-520x634.jpg]
> sparrows-one-of-the-northwests-more-confusing-species/>
> >
> > Fox Sparrows - one of the Northwest's more confusing ...<
> > http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> > the-northwests-more-confusing-species/>
> > ebird.org
> > Four groups of Fox Sparrows occur in our region; few other parts of the
> > country can claim that distinction. Three breed in the region and one is a
> > scarce winter visitant.
> >
> >
> > (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> > http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
> > [http://creagrus.home.montereyb...
> > FOSP-sch19Jun01Glacer-GWLzz.jpg]
> montereybay.com/MTYbirdsFOSP2.html>
> >
> > Slate-colored Fox Sparrow - Monterey Bay
> montereybay.com/MTYbirdsFOSP2.html>
> > creagrus.home.montereybay.com
> > The Slate-colored Fox Sparrow group is a set of populations that breed in
> > the interior of western North America, primarily the Rockies and isolated
> > mountains in the ...
> >
> >
> > I'm talking about.
> >
> > However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
> > putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
> > OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
> > and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
> > birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
> > Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
> > bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
> > these birds can be seen here:
> > https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
> > recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
> > plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
> >
> > The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
> > well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
> > representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
> > to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
> > and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
> > juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> > I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
> > locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
> > birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> > Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> > differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
> > than in life.
> >
> > SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
> > lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
> > and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
> > anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
> > commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
> > intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
> >
> > I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
> > and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
> >
> > Andrew Spencer
> > Ithaca, NY
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
>
>
>
>--
>Steve Hampton
>Davis, CA
>
>Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
Date: Fri Dec 30 2016 10:01 am
From: stevechampton AT gmail.com
 
Jason,

Thanks for these pics! Breeding ground pics of many FOSP are hard to come
by. These pics and everything you say are consistent with my understanding
of altivagans as well. In these pics, I note the wingbars and tertial tips
are negligible-- I wonder if that is thru wear (as these birds are in
April). Either way, they would have been quite small to begin with.

thanks!



On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 7:35 AM, Jason Rogers wrote:

> Hi Andrew,
>
> The birds in this checklist are what I consider altivagans -
> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
> Though the observer has called one a Red and the other a Slate-colored, I
> believe both are just variations of altivagans, which is the subspecies to
> be expected at that location.
>
> Comparing these to Red, they're darker grey above and the browns are less
> red. Head markings, mantle streaking, and wing bars are subtler. Bills are
> greyer. P. i. schistacea seems to have blacker markings below. But I'd also
> be interested in hearing from others on this.
>
> Jason Rogers
> Calgary, AB
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification <
> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU> on behalf of Andrew Spencer <
> gwwarbler@GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: December 26, 2016 2:43 AM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
>
> Hi all,
>
> The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
> Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
> here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
> impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
> like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
> bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
> article:
> http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> northwests-more-confusing-species/
> [http://ebird.org/content/nw/wp...
> Figure_2-520x634.jpg] sparrows-one-of-the-northwests-more-confusing-species/>
>
> Fox Sparrows - one of the Northwest's more confusing ...<
> http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> the-northwests-more-confusing-species/>
> ebird.org
> Four groups of Fox Sparrows occur in our region; few other parts of the
> country can claim that distinction. Three breed in the region and one is a
> scarce winter visitant.
>
>
> (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
> [http://creagrus.home.montereyb...
> FOSP-sch19Jun01Glacer-GWLzz.jpg] montereybay.com/MTYbirdsFOSP2.html>
>
> Slate-colored Fox Sparrow - Monterey Bay montereybay.com/MTYbirdsFOSP2.html>
> creagrus.home.montereybay.com
> The Slate-colored Fox Sparrow group is a set of populations that breed in
> the interior of western North America, primarily the Rockies and isolated
> mountains in the ...
>
>
> I'm talking about.
>
> However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
> putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
> OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
> and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
> birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
> Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
> bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
> these birds can be seen here:
> https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
> recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
> plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
>
> The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
> well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
> representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
> to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
> and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
> juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
> locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
> birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
> than in life.
>
> SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
> lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
> and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
> anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
> commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
> intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
>
> I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
> and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
>
> Andrew Spencer
> Ithaca, NY
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
Date: Fri Dec 30 2016 9:36 am
From: hawkowl AT hotmail.com
 
Hi Andrew,

The birds in this checklist are what I consider altivagans - http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Though the observer has called one a Red and the other a Slate-colored, I believe both are just variations of altivagans, which is the subspecies to be expected at that location.

Comparing these to Red, they're darker grey above and the browns are less red. Head markings, mantle streaking, and wing bars are subtler. Bills are greyer. P. i. schistacea seems to have blacker markings below. But I'd also be interested in hearing from others on this.

Jason Rogers
Calgary, AB


________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of Andrew Spencer
Sent: December 26, 2016 2:43 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow

Hi all,

The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
article:
http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
[http://ebird.org/content/nw/wp...

Fox Sparrows - one of the Northwest's more confusing ...
ebird.org
Four groups of Fox Sparrows occur in our region; few other parts of the country can claim that distinction. Three breed in the region and one is a scarce winter visitant.


(most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
[http://creagrus.home.montereyb...

Slate-colored Fox Sparrow - Monterey Bay
creagrus.home.montereybay.com
The Slate-colored Fox Sparrow group is a set of populations that breed in the interior of western North America, primarily the Rockies and isolated mountains in the ...


I'm talking about.

However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
these birds can be seen here:
https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.

The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
than in life.

SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?

I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,

Andrew Spencer
Ithaca, NY

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Possible Black-bellied x Fulvous Whistling-duck hybrid
Date: Wed Dec 28 2016 19:45 pm
From: 000002580802dbdc-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
This morning I found what appears to be a hybrid Fulvous x Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Moon Lake behind our house at Progreso Lakes in Hidalgo County, Texas. I can find no reference to this hybrid combination being previously documented. Photos are on my blog.  Comments are welcome.


http://antshrike.blogspot.com/...


Dan Jones, Weslaco, TX
antshrike1@aol.com

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: RFI: information on actual flap rate of Chimney vs Vaux's Swifts
Date: Tue Dec 27 2016 20:15 pm
From: upupa AT airmail.net
 
Dear All,
Can anyone provide references to articles that have analyzed the actual flap rate of C. pelagica and or vauxi? I have a short clip of a chaetura and I wonder if it is possible to assign it to a species based on a calculated flap rate - ?
Thanks,
Martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com




Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Trumpeter Swan or Hybrid?
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 23:09 pm
From: jrebelboy AT gmail.com
 
Hello all,

Today I photographed my lifer Trumpeter Swan in Maryland - or so I thought. After reviewing the photos I'm not entirely convinced that it's a pure Trumpeter, and believe that it may instead be a hybrid. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Photos at: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

Additional photos are available if needed, but these two show the face the best. I would love to type out a lengthy explanation as to why I believe it's a hybrid, but I don't currently have access to a computer and it's kind of a pain on my iPhone.

Thank you,

Jerald Reb
Delaware

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 26, 2016, at 6:39 PM, Jeff Skevington wrote:
>
> Hi folks,
>
> There is a meadowlark visiting feeders here in Hickson, Ontario that we are
> having trouble identifying so I would love to hear some comments on it.
> Both meadowlarks are rare in winter here so the record is significant.
> Western has never occurred in the county in the winter. Photos of the bird
> (taken by Richard Skevington) can be viewed in my ebird checklist here:
> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...
>
> To my eyes, some characters support Eastern (flank colour and streaking,
> dark centres to upper tail feathers) while others support Western (white
> pattern on tail - 2 outer recs white, 3rd one white with black outer edge
> (as in Fig 326D in Pile), narrow, pale barring on central rectrices,
> overall pale colour to back, low contrast head pattern, narrow, pale brown
> bars on tertials). My mind can see or not see yellow in the lores depending
> on my mood:)
>
> Thanks in advance for any help and advice,
>
> Jeff
>
> --
> Jeff Skevington, Research Scientist
> Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
> Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
> 960 Carling Avenue, K.W. Neatby Building
> Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada
> Phone: 613-720-2862
> FAX: 613-759-1927
> E-mail: jhskevington@gmail.com
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Meadowlark in Hickson, Oxford County, Ontario 25 December 2016
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 17:40 pm
From: jhskevington AT gmail.com
 
Hi folks,

There is a meadowlark visiting feeders here in Hickson, Ontario that we are
having trouble identifying so I would love to hear some comments on it.
Both meadowlarks are rare in winter here so the record is significant.
Western has never occurred in the county in the winter. Photos of the bird
(taken by Richard Skevington) can be viewed in my ebird checklist here:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/ch...

To my eyes, some characters support Eastern (flank colour and streaking,
dark centres to upper tail feathers) while others support Western (white
pattern on tail - 2 outer recs white, 3rd one white with black outer edge
(as in Fig 326D in Pile), narrow, pale barring on central rectrices,
overall pale colour to back, low contrast head pattern, narrow, pale brown
bars on tertials). My mind can see or not see yellow in the lores depending
on my mood:)

Thanks in advance for any help and advice,

Jeff

--
Jeff Skevington, Research Scientist
Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
960 Carling Avenue, K.W. Neatby Building
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada
Phone: 613-720-2862
FAX: 613-759-1927
E-mail: jhskevington@gmail.com

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 14:15 pm
From: nlethaby AT ti.com
 
I had a similar reaction to Steve. I would like to see wing-bars for sure on any eastern Fox Sparrow.

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Steve Hampton
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2016 12:01 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)

Alan,

These pics don't look that different from the typical Sooty Fox Sparrows found in most of inland California in winter (presumably sinuosa). They can show these gray and reddish tones in bright sunlight. The limited breast markings suggest a more northern form. For zaboria, I would expect a well-demarcated auricular patch, obvious wing bars, and a bird that basically looks like iliaca except the red tones are perhaps darker and browner. (I'm not aware of any published criteria to distinguish zaboria from iliaca, to give an idea of how similar they are.)

It'd be nice to see the back to confirm. FOSP backs tell a lot:

BACK
Red- boldly streaked gray and red (chestnut) altivagans - gray with thin reddish streaks Slate-colored and Thick-billed - gray, perhaps with slight olive/brown tinge Sooty - brown (but the most common form, sinuosa, has an ashy tinge)





On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 11:39 AM, Alan Contreras
wrote:

> We found three Fox Sparrows in one place on the Coos Bay, Oregon CBC Dec.
> 18 that we thought were probably zaboria (not annual in w Oregon as
> far as I know), but I’ll add the pics to this discussion in case they
> are of any use. The birds appeared slightly more foxy in the field
> but the color on the pics is pretty close. I thought they were more
> gray, generally paler all over and more reddish than what I would call
> altivagans, but this is not an easy call.
>
> http://ebird.org/ebird/pnw/vie... <
> http://ebird.org/ebird/pnw/vie...
>
>
> Alan Contreras
>
> Eugene, Oregon
> acontrer56@gmail.com
>
> > On Dec 25, 2016, at 10:02 PM, BIRDWG01 automatic digest system <
> LISTSERV AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > There is 1 message totaling 62 lines in this issue.
> >
> > Topics of the day:
> >
> > 1. A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> >
> > Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2016 19:43:15 -0700
> > From: Andrew Spencer
> > Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox
> > Sparrow
> in
> > Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask
> > about here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look
> > like? My impression of what is generally considered this form is a
> > bird that looks like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better
> > marked than a
> Slate-colored
> > bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this
> > ebird
> > article:
> > http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> northwests-more-confusing-species/
> > (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> > http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate
> > what I'm talking about.
> >
> > However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos
> > of putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly
> > from CA or OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull
> > Red Fox
> Sparrows,
> > and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if
> these
> > birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very
> > similar
> to
> > Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I
> > was a bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of
> > photos of these birds can be seen here:
> > https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also
> > extensively recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would
> > expect from the plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
> >
> > The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that
> > birds as well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email
> > are actually representative of the taxon, and would lead me to
> > expect something closer to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more
> > familiar with from living in CO and what I photographed in Jasper.
> > Unfortunately the type specimen is a juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> > I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of
> > the
> type
> > locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all
> > the birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> > Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> > differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old
> specimens
> > than in life.
> >
> > SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in
> > the lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox
> > Sparrow to
> be?
> > and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be?
> Does
> > anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds
> > that are commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or
> > are they intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
> >
> > I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this
> > topic, and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
> >
> > Andrew Spencer
> > Ithaca, NY
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > End of BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
> > **************************************************************
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 14:01 pm
From: stevechampton AT gmail.com
 
Alan,

These pics don't look that different from the typical Sooty Fox Sparrows
found in most of inland California in winter (presumably sinuosa). They
can show these gray and reddish tones in bright sunlight. The limited
breast markings suggest a more northern form. For zaboria, I would expect
a well-demarcated auricular patch, obvious wing bars, and a bird that
basically looks like iliaca except the red tones are perhaps darker and
browner. (I'm not aware of any published criteria to distinguish zaboria
from iliaca, to give an idea of how similar they are.)

It'd be nice to see the back to confirm. FOSP backs tell a lot:

BACK
Red- boldly streaked gray and red (chestnut)
altivagans - gray with thin reddish streaks
Slate-colored and Thick-billed - gray, perhaps with slight olive/brown tinge
Sooty - brown (but the most common form, sinuosa, has an ashy tinge)





On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 11:39 AM, Alan Contreras
wrote:

> We found three Fox Sparrows in one place on the Coos Bay, Oregon CBC Dec.
> 18 that we thought were probably zaboria (not annual in w Oregon as far as
> I know), but I’ll add the pics to this discussion in case they are of any
> use. The birds appeared slightly more foxy in the field but the color on
> the pics is pretty close. I thought they were more gray, generally paler
> all over and more reddish than what I would call altivagans, but this is
> not an easy call.
>
> http://ebird.org/ebird/pnw/vie... <
> http://ebird.org/ebird/pnw/vie...
>
>
> Alan Contreras
>
> Eugene, Oregon
> acontrer56@gmail.com
>
> > On Dec 25, 2016, at 10:02 PM, BIRDWG01 automatic digest system <
> LISTSERV AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > There is 1 message totaling 62 lines in this issue.
> >
> > Topics of the day:
> >
> > 1. A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2016 19:43:15 -0700
> > From: Andrew Spencer
> > Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow
> in
> > Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
> > here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
> > impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
> > like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a
> Slate-colored
> > bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
> > article:
> > http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> northwests-more-confusing-species/
> > (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> > http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
> > I'm talking about.
> >
> > However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
> > putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
> > OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox
> Sparrows,
> > and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if
> these
> > birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar
> to
> > Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
> > bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
> > these birds can be seen here:
> > https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
> > recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
> > plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
> >
> > The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
> > well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
> > representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
> > to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
> > and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
> > juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> > I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the
> type
> > locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
> > birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> > Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> > differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old
> specimens
> > than in life.
> >
> > SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
> > lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to
> be?
> > and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be?
> Does
> > anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
> > commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
> > intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
> >
> > I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
> > and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
> >
> > Andrew Spencer
> > Ithaca, NY
> >
> > Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > End of BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
> > **************************************************************
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 13:40 pm
From: acontrer56 AT gmail.com
 
We found three Fox Sparrows in one place on the Coos Bay, Oregon CBC Dec. 18 that we thought were probably zaboria (not annual in w Oregon as far as I know), but I’ll add the pics to this discussion in case they are of any use.  The birds appeared slightly more foxy in the field but the color on the pics is pretty close. I thought they were more gray, generally paler all over and more reddish than what I would call altivagans, but this is not an easy call.

http://ebird.org/ebird/pnw/vie...


Alan Contreras

Eugene, Oregon
acontrer56@gmail.com

> On Dec 25, 2016, at 10:02 PM, BIRDWG01 automatic digest system wrote:
>
> There is 1 message totaling 62 lines in this issue.
>
> Topics of the day:
>
> 1. A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2016 19:43:15 -0700
> From: Andrew Spencer
> Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
>
> Hi all,
>
> The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
> Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
> here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
> impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
> like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
> bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
> article:
> http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
> I'm talking about.
>
> However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
> putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
> OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
> and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
> birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
> Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
> bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
> these birds can be seen here:
> https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
> recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
> plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
>
> The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
> well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
> representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
> to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
> and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
> juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
> locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
> birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
> than in life.
>
> SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
> lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
> and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
> anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
> commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
> intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
>
> I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
> and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
>
> Andrew Spencer
> Ithaca, NY
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> ------------------------------
>
> End of BIRDWG01 Digest - 24 Dec 2016 to 25 Dec 2016 (#2016-70)
> **************************************************************


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
Date: Mon Dec 26 2016 10:05 am
From: stevechampton AT gmail.com
 
Andrew,

You've hit on some major issues. First, I think birders don't really know
what altivagans is (and for various reason, are confused about many Fox
Sparrow forms), and two, as you've discovered, there is a massive lack of
photos from the breeding grounds for many of the forms. So we are left
speculating.

I can tell you that in the Central Valley of California, altivagans is the
second-most common form, but a distant second after Sooty, making up maybe
1% of all birds. Most birders call them Slate-colored, some call them Red,
and Sibley's 2nd edition calls them Red x Slate-colored. Various other
authors list them SC or Red. Early DNA work says they are Slate-colored--
but the fact is they do look like a mix of the two and they show the
variability we would expect of an intergrade population.

In my experience, they tend to show nearly solid gray heads and backs, but
the back is lightly streaked with red (not the thick streaks of Red). They
usually show wingbars, making altivagans and Red the only Fox Sparrows with
wingbars (but beware a large intergrade zone between zaboria Red and
sinuosa Sooty in s-central Alaska).

We've amassed quite a collection of Fox Sparrow pics here:
https://www.facebook.com/group...

Here are two very different birds that each may be altivagans:
https://www.facebook.com/photo...

Obviously, we need more summer photos from Alberta!

I have doubts about both the photos referenced. The first photo (most of
the way down the page at http://ebird.org/content/nw/
news/fox-sparrows-one-of-the-northwests-more-confusing-species/) has a very
well-defined auricular patch, broad streaks on the back, and heavy chevrons
on the underparts. It seems fine for zaboria Red to me.

The second photo (mid-way down the page at
http://creagrus.home.montereyb... lacks wingbars,
has an extensive brown crown and apparent brown back, and otherwise seems
fine for Sooty to me. The wide gray supercilium and contrasting reddish
tail are typical of Sootys in inland Calif in winter (and are likely
sinuosa, the most common northern form).



On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 6:43 PM, Andrew Spencer wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
> Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
> here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
> impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
> like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
> bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
> article:
> http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
> northwests-more-confusing-species/
> (most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
> http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
> I'm talking about.
>
> However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
> putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
> OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
> and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
> birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
> Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
> bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
> these birds can be seen here:
> https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
> recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
> plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.
>
> The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
> well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
> representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
> to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
> and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
> juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
> I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
> locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
> birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
> Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
> differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
> than in life.
>
> SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
> lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
> and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
> anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
> commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
> intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?
>
> I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
> and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,
>
> Andrew Spencer
> Ithaca, NY
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: A question about altivagans Fox Sparrow
Date: Sun Dec 25 2016 20:43 pm
From: gwwarbler AT gmail.com
 
Hi all,

The recent (and very informative) discussion about the Sooty Fox Sparrow in
Newfoundland has reminded me of a topic I've been meaning to ask about
here. Namely, what does altivagans Fox Sparrow actually look like? My
impression of what is generally considered this form is a bird that looks
like a dull Red Fox Sparrow, quite a bit better marked than a Slate-colored
bird, but without much in the way of foxy tones. A photo on this ebird
article:
http://ebird.org/content/nw/ne...
(most of the way down the page), and the one mid-way down this page:
http://creagrus.home.montereyb... demonstrate what
I'm talking about.

However, more recently I began noticing that essentially all photos of
putative altivagans are from the wintering grounds, and mostly from CA or
OR. After a trip to Alaska, where I saw some rather dull Red Fox Sparrows,
and especially after a trip to Central Alberta/BC I was wondering if these
birds really are altivagans? The birds I saw there looked very similar to
Slate-colored, but a bit more well marked and brighter. Granted, I was a
bit south of the type locality, but not by a lot. A couple of photos of
these birds can be seen here:
https://ebird.org/ebird/view/c... I also extensively
recorded the Fox Sparrows in this area, and as one would expect from the
plumage, the vocals also matched Slate-colored.

The type description of altivagans also gives me some doubt that birds as
well marked as the ones I alluded to earlier in this email are actually
representative of the taxon, and would lead me to expect something closer
to the Slate-colored birds that I'm more familiar with from living in CO
and what I photographed in Jasper. Unfortunately the type specimen is a
juvenile bird, and also purported to be in bad shape (I haven't seen it).
I did track down some other specimens from both north and south of the type
locality, and they did NOT appear to be as well marked as nearly all the
birds reported as altivagans further south, and thus closer to
Slate-colored. But I would also add a big caveat that I found the
differences between Fox Sparrow groups to be less obvious in old specimens
than in life.

SO, what I would be interested in knowing is a) what do birders in the
lower 48, especially in the west, consider an altivagans Fox Sparrow to be?
and b) what do birders in western Alberta and E BC consider it to be? Does
anyone have more photos from the purported range? Are the birds that are
commonly reported to be altivagans actually that taxon, or are they
intergrade Red x Slate-colored, or are those two things one and the same?

I very much appreciate any light that any of you can throw on this topic,
and look forward to hearing what you all have to say,

Andrew Spencer
Ithaca, NY

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Catharus Question
Date: Sat Dec 24 2016 14:33 pm
From: wgpu AT hotmail.com
 
Tony,

Thank you for the very helpful details.

Bates

Get Outlook for Android



On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 3:30 PM -0500, "Tony Leukering" wrote:

Bates et al.:

I'd go with Hermit on quite a few points:

1) The pale supraloral stripe is not connected to the eye ring, at least in the good profile shot. Yes, the connection is often nebulous in Swainson's, but that species rarely shows it so completely disconnected as on the good profile shot.

2) The lateral throat stripes look black to me, rather than medium or dark brown (as in Swainson's).

3) The primary covers appear substantially orangey-rufous, much more so than even the rustiest Olive-backed Swainson's, and much more so than typical Olive-backeds.

4) Though mostly subjective, the bird looks fairly small to me. Olive-backed Swainson's are considerably larger than Eastern/Northern Hermits, to me looking long and lanky, rather than squat and more pot-bellied as on your bird.

As on adult non-Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks, the color of the tail is not accurately assessed from below. Rather, the color of the tail of Hermit Thrush from below can appear quite a bit paler, less orangey than does it does from above. Finally, the bird can easily be aged as a first-year bird by the large buffy shaft streaks on the outer greater coverts.

That's my two-cents' worth.

Tony

Tony Leukering
Largo, FL
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/t...
http://aba.org/photoquiz/


-----Original Message-----
From: Bates Estabrooks
To: BIRDWG01
Sent: Sat, Dec 24, 2016 2:14 pm
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Catharus Question

________________________________

Greetings.


I photo'd a Catharus thrush in my backyard yesterday, near Knoxville, TN. (Link to pics., below.) and need some ID help.


By date and location, this should reasonably only be a Hermit Thrush (though there are several eBird winter records of non-Hermits in NA), but it strikes me as a possible Swainson's


I asked for ID help on a Facebook page and the few responses I received were to state definitively that this was a Hermit Thrush; this conclusion, solely on the basis of season and location and because the bird has a hint of rufous in the wing feathers.


What argues, in my uneducated opinion, for Swainson's is: the lack of any evidence for rufous in the tail/rump (bad angle acknowledged); the not-so-bold breast spotting; and the expansive eye ring with what, to me, appear to be light-colored lores. Regarding eye ring/lores, BNA notes:


"Swainson's best distinguished from all other North American Catharus thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores (eye-ring less distinct and dull whitish or largely absent in other Catharus thrushes)."



In any case, I would like to be ID educated (with details, please).


Thanks very much.


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee



http://s1132.photobucket.com/u...






Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Catharus Question
Date: Sat Dec 24 2016 14:30 pm
From: 000000b797e8dae8-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
Bates et al.:


I'd go with Hermit on quite a few points:


1) The pale supraloral stripe is not connected to the eye ring, at least in the good profile shot. Yes, the connection is often nebulous in Swainson's, but that species rarely shows it so completely disconnected as on the good profile shot.


2) The lateral throat stripes look black to me, rather than medium or dark brown (as in Swainson's).


3) The primary covers appear substantially orangey-rufous, much more so than even the rustiest Olive-backed Swainson's, and much more so than typical Olive-backeds.


4) Though mostly subjective, the bird looks fairly small to me. Olive-backed Swainson's are considerably larger than Eastern/Northern Hermits, to me looking long and lanky, rather than squat and more pot-bellied as on your bird.


As on adult non-Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks, the color of the tail is not accurately assessed from below. Rather, the color of the tail of Hermit Thrush from below can appear quite a bit paler, less orangey than does it does from above. Finally, the bird can easily be aged as a first-year bird by the large buffy shaft streaks on the outer greater coverts.


That's my two-cents' worth.


Tony


Tony Leukering
Largo, FL
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t...

http://aba.org/photoquiz/



-----Original Message-----
From: Bates Estabrooks
To: BIRDWG01
Sent: Sat, Dec 24, 2016 2:14 pm
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Catharus Question

________________________________

Greetings.


I photo'd a Catharus thrush in my backyard yesterday, near Knoxville, TN. (Link to pics., below.) and need some ID help.


By date and location, this should reasonably only be a Hermit Thrush (though there are several eBird winter records of non-Hermits in NA), but it strikes me as a possible Swainson's


I asked for ID help on a Facebook page and the few responses I received were to state definitively that this was a Hermit Thrush; this conclusion, solely on the basis of season and location and because the bird has a hint of rufous in the wing feathers.


What argues, in my uneducated opinion, for Swainson's is: the lack of any evidence for rufous in the tail/rump (bad angle acknowledged); the not-so-bold breast spotting; and the expansive eye ring with what, to me, appear to be light-colored lores. Regarding eye ring/lores, BNA notes:


"Swainson's best distinguished from all other North American Catharus thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores (eye-ring less distinct and dull whitish or largely absent in other Catharus thrushes)."



In any case, I would like to be ID educated (with details, please).


Thanks very much.


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee



http://s1132.photobucket.com/u...






Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Catharus Question
Date: Sat Dec 24 2016 13:46 pm
From: wgpu AT hotmail.com
 
Kevin,


Thanks for the quick, helpful, response. Very informative.


Bates


________________________________
From: Kevin J. McGowan
Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 2:43 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU; Bates Estabrooks
Subject: Re: Mystery Catharus Question


Bates,


I'd call that a normal Hermit Thrush. At least in the East, Hermits and Swainson's can look very similar, but they differ slightly in the appearance of the face. Both typically show distinct eyerings. Swainson's is often buffy, and always shows a buffy line forward of the eye (it's not quite the lores to me) that extends the eyering into vague spectacles. This buffy line forward is almost always (in the East) matched by a buffy malar zone that extends up to nearly reach the upper line. The result is that Swainson's has a buffy face. The buffy malar is usually bounded forward and down by a dark line that is usually rather indistinct.


A Hermit Thrush's face has a distinct whitish eyering that does not blend forward with pale lores, and any loral line is not buffy and is not met by a buffy malar. The pale malar is usually whitish and set off by a distinct dark line forward and down.


So, for me, Swainson's Thrush has spectacles and a buffy face, without distinct or sharp elements. Hermit Thrush is more brown and white, with distinct elements of small whitish eyering and dark malar streak.


Best,


Kevin



Kevin J. McGowan
Ithaca, NY 14850
kjm2@cornell.edu
607-254-2452


________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of Bates Estabrooks
Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 2:04 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Catharus Question

________________________________

Greetings.


I photo'd a Catharus thrush in my backyard yesterday, near Knoxville, TN. (Link to pics., below.) and need some ID help.


By date and location, this should reasonably only be a Hermit Thrush (though there are several eBird winter records of non-Hermits in NA), but it strikes me as a possible Swainson's


I asked for ID help on a Facebook page and the few responses I received were to state definitively that this was a Hermit Thrush; this conclusion, solely on the basis of season and location and because the bird has a hint of rufous in the wing feathers.


What argues, in my uneducated opinion, for Swainson's is: the lack of any evidence for rufous in the tail/rump (bad angle acknowledged); the not-so-bold breast spotting; and the expansive eye ring with what, to me, appear to be light-colored lores. Regarding eye ring/lores, BNA notes:


"Swainson's best distinguished from all other North American Catharus thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores (eye-ring less distinct and dull whitish or largely absent in other Catharus thrushes)."



In any case, I would like to be ID educated (with details, please).


Thanks very much.


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee



http://s1132.photobucket.com/u...
[http://i1132.photobucket.com/a...

Catharus by estabrooks1
s1132.photobucket.com
View the full album on Photobucket.








Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Catharus Question
Date: Sat Dec 24 2016 13:44 pm
From: kjm2 AT cornell.edu
 
Bates,


I'd call that a normal Hermit Thrush. At least in the East, Hermits and Swainson's can look very similar, but they differ slightly in the appearance of the face. Both typically show distinct eyerings. Swainson's is often buffy, and always shows a buffy line forward of the eye (it's not quite the lores to me) that extends the eyering into vague spectacles. This buffy line forward is almost always (in the East) matched by a buffy malar zone that extends up to nearly reach the upper line. The result is that Swainson's has a buffy face. The buffy malar is usually bounded forward and down by a dark line that is usually rather indistinct.


A Hermit Thrush's face has a distinct whitish eyering that does not blend forward with pale lores, and any loral line is not buffy and is not met by a buffy malar. The pale malar is usually whitish and set off by a distinct dark line forward and down.


So, for me, Swainson's Thrush has spectacles and a buffy face, without distinct or sharp elements. Hermit Thrush is more brown and white, with distinct elements of small whitish eyering and dark malar streak.


Best,


Kevin



Kevin J. McGowan
Ithaca, NY 14850
kjm2@cornell.edu
607-254-2452


________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of Bates Estabrooks
Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 2:04 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Mystery Catharus Question

________________________________

Greetings.


I photo'd a Catharus thrush in my backyard yesterday, near Knoxville, TN. (Link to pics., below.) and need some ID help.


By date and location, this should reasonably only be a Hermit Thrush (though there are several eBird winter records of non-Hermits in NA), but it strikes me as a possible Swainson's


I asked for ID help on a Facebook page and the few responses I received were to state definitively that this was a Hermit Thrush; this conclusion, solely on the basis of season and location and because the bird has a hint of rufous in the wing feathers.


What argues, in my uneducated opinion, for Swainson's is: the lack of any evidence for rufous in the tail/rump (bad angle acknowledged); the not-so-bold breast spotting; and the expansive eye ring with what, to me, appear to be light-colored lores. Regarding eye ring/lores, BNA notes:


"Swainson's best distinguished from all other North American Catharus thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores (eye-ring less distinct and dull whitish or largely absent in other Catharus thrushes)."



In any case, I would like to be ID educated (with details, please).


Thanks very much.


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee



http://s1132.photobucket.com/u...
[http://i1132.photobucket.com/a...

Catharus by estabrooks1
s1132.photobucket.com
View the full album on Photobucket.








Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: Mystery Catharus Question
Date: Sat Dec 24 2016 13:14 pm
From: wgpu AT hotmail.com
 
________________________________

Greetings.


I photo'd a Catharus thrush in my backyard yesterday, near Knoxville, TN. (Link to pics., below.) and need some ID help.


By date and location, this should reasonably only be a Hermit Thrush (though there are several eBird winter records of non-Hermits in NA), but it strikes me as a possible Swainson's


I asked for ID help on a Facebook page and the few responses I received were to state definitively that this was a Hermit Thrush; this conclusion, solely on the basis of season and location and because the bird has a hint of rufous in the wing feathers.


What argues, in my uneducated opinion, for Swainson's is: the lack of any evidence for rufous in the tail/rump (bad angle acknowledged); the not-so-bold breast spotting; and the expansive eye ring with what, to me, appear to be light-colored lores. Regarding eye ring/lores, BNA notes:


"Swainson's best distinguished from all other North American Catharus thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores (eye-ring less distinct and dull whitish or largely absent in other Catharus thrushes)."



In any case, I would like to be ID educated (with details, please).


Thanks very much.


Bates Estabrooks

Tennessee



http://s1132.photobucket.com/u...






Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 12:57 pm
From: hawkowl AT hotmail.com
 
Nice find! But I agree that this is a Sooty. The Fox Sparrows we get here in western Alberta (altivagans, schistacea, and intergrades) are greyer above than this with a more streaked brown (rather than solid brown) mantle and quite a bit less brown on the head. They also have greyish bills and many have some white or buff tips on the wing coverts and tertials.


Jason Rogers

Calgary, AB



________________________________
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification on behalf of Bruce Mactavish
Sent: December 23, 2016 11:23 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland

A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.



http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...
[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Tzzx...

The Bruce Mactavish Newfoundland Birding Blog
brucemactavish1.blogspot.ca
The bird had a good side but even here the somewhat disheveled look of the bird was apparent. I was not enjoying this experience. I was glad to see an adult Ivory ...





Bruce Mactavish

St. John's, Newfoundland


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 11:34 am
From: llsdirons AT msn.com
 
Steve, 

As a fellow student of western Fox Sparrow taxa I appreciate the depth of your comments and agree with them wholeheartedly. Light issues and the subspecific variability as they pertain to how reddish a Sooty Fox Sparrow can look is wholly under appreciated by mist birders. The more interior forms of Sooty can look
quite russet in certain light conditions.

Dave Irons
Beaverton, OR

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 23, 2016, at 8:26 AM, Steve Hampton wrote:
>
> I concur with Alvaro. Definitely Sooty. More on subspecies of Sooty
> below.
>
> First and foremost, I want to emphasize that many field guides are with Fox
> Sparrows where they used to be with gulls-- inaccurate and misleading. ALL
> forms of Sooty show varying degrees of gray in the face (usually a wide
> supercilium behind the eye and, in the northern forms, a contrasting gray
> nape) and contrasting reddish tones in the tail and upper tail coverts (in
> sunlight only). The gray is generally more contrasting and extensive in
> the northern forms (unalaschensis, insularis, and sinuosa). The
> dipped-in-chocolate stereotype perpetuated by field guides applies only to
> fuliginosa (the southernmost form-- with an extremely limited range,
> limited in the US to just the outer coast from Neah Bay to Kalaloch)-- but
> even fuliginosa shows gray in the face and reddish in the tail in good
> light.
>
> You are correct in noticing the dramatic change in appearance (especially
> the gray and red tones) from sunlight to shadow.
>
> This bird strikes me as townsendi based on the overall darkness, small
> bill, and short tail (SE Alaska in summer south to Humboldt Bay, CA in
> winter). However, based on the contrasting gray in the nape and limited
> breast markings (for a Sooty-- but still heavy compared to other Fox
> Sparrows), it is probably a sinuosa (I daresay a female, which run 10-15%
> smaller). Sinuosa ranges from Kenai Pen. and PW Sound south to most of
> California and probably account for 50% of all Sooties by population; in
> Calif, they are more likely inland than coastal.
>
> Slate-colored would have a nearly solid gray head (and a paler gray than
> this bird), a gray back (perhaps with some brown tones), smaller and
> limited chevrons below (as described by Alvaro), and a strikingly longer
> tail.
>
> Altivagans (considered Slate-colored, Red, or a mix of the two) would have
> a gray back lightly streaked with red tones, a lot more gray in the head
> and rump, and small wingbars (like Red).
>
> The best source for Fox Sparrows remains Swarth (1920) available on-line.
> I've attempted to bring it to light with contemporary photos in a recent
> paper for the Central Valley Bird Club Bulletin. That's at
> http://www.cvbirds.org/bulleti... but the paper is not up yet.
>
> I also recommend the Fox Sparrows Facebook group:
> https://www.facebook.com/group...
> to see lots of photos.
>
>
>
> On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 6:58 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo
> wrote:
>
>> Bruce,
>> That is a Sooty Fox Sparrow. They are variable in their look as that
>> group includes several subspecies which blend into each other, varying in
>> how dark they are and how much gray they show on face/upperparts. Key,
>> apart from the generally dark appearance is how densely streaked the
>> underparts are, with a generally brown tone to the streaks. Slate-colored
>> is
>> more sparsely streaked, and the streaks are more blackish-brown, looking
>> darker than the upperpart color. From the back Slate-colored has a distinct
>> shift from the more reddish-brown wings to the grayer back, Sooty looks
>> more
>> unicolored from that view as your photos show. Pretty amazing record! Say
>> hello to Dave.
>> Alvaro
>>
>> Alvaro Jaramillo
>> alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
>> www.alvarosadventures.com
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
>> [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Mactavish
>> Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:23 AM
>> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>> Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
>>
>> A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
>> southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
>> Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
>> limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
>> Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
>> undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
>> shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
>> blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
>> Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.
>>
>>
>>
>> http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...
>>
>>
>>
>> Bruce Mactavish
>>
>> St. John's, Newfoundland
>>
>>
>> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>>
>> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Steve Hampton
> Davis, CA
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 10:26 am
From: stevechampton AT gmail.com
 
I concur with Alvaro.  Definitely Sooty.  More on subspecies of Sooty
below.

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that many field guides are with Fox
Sparrows where they used to be with gulls-- inaccurate and misleading. ALL
forms of Sooty show varying degrees of gray in the face (usually a wide
supercilium behind the eye and, in the northern forms, a contrasting gray
nape) and contrasting reddish tones in the tail and upper tail coverts (in
sunlight only). The gray is generally more contrasting and extensive in
the northern forms (unalaschensis, insularis, and sinuosa). The
dipped-in-chocolate stereotype perpetuated by field guides applies only to
fuliginosa (the southernmost form-- with an extremely limited range,
limited in the US to just the outer coast from Neah Bay to Kalaloch)-- but
even fuliginosa shows gray in the face and reddish in the tail in good
light.

You are correct in noticing the dramatic change in appearance (especially
the gray and red tones) from sunlight to shadow.

This bird strikes me as townsendi based on the overall darkness, small
bill, and short tail (SE Alaska in summer south to Humboldt Bay, CA in
winter). However, based on the contrasting gray in the nape and limited
breast markings (for a Sooty-- but still heavy compared to other Fox
Sparrows), it is probably a sinuosa (I daresay a female, which run 10-15%
smaller). Sinuosa ranges from Kenai Pen. and PW Sound south to most of
California and probably account for 50% of all Sooties by population; in
Calif, they are more likely inland than coastal.

Slate-colored would have a nearly solid gray head (and a paler gray than
this bird), a gray back (perhaps with some brown tones), smaller and
limited chevrons below (as described by Alvaro), and a strikingly longer
tail.

Altivagans (considered Slate-colored, Red, or a mix of the two) would have
a gray back lightly streaked with red tones, a lot more gray in the head
and rump, and small wingbars (like Red).

The best source for Fox Sparrows remains Swarth (1920) available on-line.
I've attempted to bring it to light with contemporary photos in a recent
paper for the Central Valley Bird Club Bulletin. That's at
http://www.cvbirds.org/bulleti... but the paper is not up yet.

I also recommend the Fox Sparrows Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/group...
to see lots of photos.



On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 6:58 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo
wrote:

> Bruce,
> That is a Sooty Fox Sparrow. They are variable in their look as that
> group includes several subspecies which blend into each other, varying in
> how dark they are and how much gray they show on face/upperparts. Key,
> apart from the generally dark appearance is how densely streaked the
> underparts are, with a generally brown tone to the streaks. Slate-colored
> is
> more sparsely streaked, and the streaks are more blackish-brown, looking
> darker than the upperpart color. From the back Slate-colored has a distinct
> shift from the more reddish-brown wings to the grayer back, Sooty looks
> more
> unicolored from that view as your photos show. Pretty amazing record! Say
> hello to Dave.
> Alvaro
>
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Mactavish
> Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:23 AM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
>
> A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
> southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
> Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
> limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
> Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
> undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
> shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
> blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
> Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.
>
>
>
> http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...
>
>
>
> Bruce Mactavish
>
> St. John's, Newfoundland
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 10:22 am
From: 000002534a017a2d-dmarc-request AT listserv.ksu.edu
 
Agree that this is a Sooty for the reasons that Alvaro and Dave stated.  The streaks on Slate-colored aren't quite this heavy, and there is a much more distinct contrast/shift between the reds and grays on the back and wings.  Sooty can be anywhere from uniformly dark chocolaty brown to having subtle red and gray tones as this bird has.
Michael Michael Dossett Mission, British Columbia www.Mdossettphoto.com phainopepla@yahoo.com

On Friday, December 23, 2016 8:03 AM, David Irons wrote:


I agree completely with Alvaro's take on this bird. I would add the almost solidly dark flanks are another good indicator of Sooty Fox Sparrow, with other subspecies groups showing more light dominant flanks with heavy dark streaking.

Dave Irons
Beaverton, OR

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 23, 2016, at 7:00 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
>
> Bruce,
>  That is a Sooty Fox Sparrow. They are variable in their look as that
> group includes several subspecies which blend into each other, varying in
> how dark they are and  how much gray they show on face/upperparts. Key,
> apart from the generally dark appearance is how densely streaked the
> underparts are, with a generally brown tone to the streaks. Slate-colored is
> more sparsely streaked, and the streaks are more blackish-brown, looking
> darker than the upperpart color. From the back Slate-colored has a distinct
> shift from the more reddish-brown wings to the grayer back, Sooty looks more
> unicolored from that view as your photos show. Pretty amazing record! Say
> hello to Dave.
> Alvaro
>
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Mactavish
> Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:23 AM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
>
> A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
> southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
> Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow.  With
> limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
> Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
> undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
> shade the bird looks all chocolate brown.  The photos can be seen on this
> blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
> Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.
>
>
>
> http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...
>
>
>
> Bruce Mactavish
>
> St. John's, Newfoundland
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 10:03 am
From: llsdirons AT msn.com
 
I agree completely with Alvaro's take on this bird. I would add the almost solidly dark flanks are another good indicator of Sooty Fox Sparrow, with other subspecies groups showing more light dominant flanks with heavy dark streaking.

Dave Irons
Beaverton, OR

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 23, 2016, at 7:00 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
>
> Bruce,
> That is a Sooty Fox Sparrow. They are variable in their look as that
> group includes several subspecies which blend into each other, varying in
> how dark they are and how much gray they show on face/upperparts. Key,
> apart from the generally dark appearance is how densely streaked the
> underparts are, with a generally brown tone to the streaks. Slate-colored is
> more sparsely streaked, and the streaks are more blackish-brown, looking
> darker than the upperpart color. From the back Slate-colored has a distinct
> shift from the more reddish-brown wings to the grayer back, Sooty looks more
> unicolored from that view as your photos show. Pretty amazing record! Say
> hello to Dave.
> Alvaro
>
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Mactavish
> Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:23 AM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
>
> A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
> southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
> Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
> limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
> Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
> undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
> shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
> blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
> Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.
>
>
>
> http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...
>
>
>
> Bruce Mactavish
>
> St. John's, Newfoundland
>
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...
>
> Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 8:59 am
From: chucao AT coastside.net
 
Bruce,
That is a Sooty Fox Sparrow. They are variable in their look as that
group includes several subspecies which blend into each other, varying in
how dark they are and how much gray they show on face/upperparts. Key,
apart from the generally dark appearance is how densely streaked the
underparts are, with a generally brown tone to the streaks. Slate-colored is
more sparsely streaked, and the streaks are more blackish-brown, looking
darker than the upperpart color. From the back Slate-colored has a distinct
shift from the more reddish-brown wings to the grayer back, Sooty looks more
unicolored from that view as your photos show. Pretty amazing record! Say
hello to Dave.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Mactavish
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:23 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland

A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.



http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...



Bruce Mactavish

St. John's, Newfoundland


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...

Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...



Subject: western Fox Sparrow in Newfoundland
Date: Fri Dec 23 2016 5:24 am
From: bruce.mactavish1 AT nf.sympatico.ca
 
A western Fox Sparrow has shown up at Dave Shepherd's bird feeder in
southeast most corner of Newfoundland at Portugal Cove South, Avalon
Peninsula. It is obviously one of the western races of Fox Sparrow. With
limited reference material I think it is the Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow.
Depending on the light it can look more like a Sooty Fox Sparrow. The
undertones of reddish in the plumage come out better in strong light. In
shade the bird looks all chocolate brown. The photos can be seen on this
blog. I would be interested to hear others who have experience with western
Fox Sparrows have to say about subspecies designation of this bird.



http://brucemactavish1.blogspo...



Bruce Mactavish

St. John's, Newfoundland


Archives: https://listserv.ksu.edu/birdw...


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