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Updated on September 16, 2014, 4:30 pm

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16 Sep: @ 16:29:39  tern from off the Oregon coast [Jeff Gilligan]
15 Sep: @ 23:02:17  a pelagic tern from Oregon [Jeff Gilligan]
09 Sep: @ 12:30:07 Re: Olive sided Flycatcher? [William Leigh]
04 Sep: @ 12:27:08  Sorry for incomplete emails re LBBG vs. GBBG [James Barton]
29 Aug: @ 00:49:26  Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office. [Paul Wood]
28 Aug: @ 13:58:16 Re: SY graellsii vs. taimyrensis [Peter Adriaens]
28 Aug: @ 08:30:22  Okay, SY Lesser vs. Great Black-backed Gull [Suzanne Sullivan]
28 Aug: @ 05:55:35  Okay, SY Lesser vs. Great Black-backed Gull [Tristan McKee]
27 Aug: @ 23:12:04  SY graellsii vs. taimyrensis [Tristan McKee]
27 Aug: @ 13:17:27  Blue-winged Teal hybridisation in the USA [Lee G R Evans]





Subject: tern from off the Oregon coast
Date: Tue Sep 16 2014 16:29 pm
From: jeffgilligan10 AT gmail.com
 
A pelagic tern from Oregon: A little over a year ago we photographed a tern about 112 miles off Oregon which we thought might be an Aleutian Tern.  We posted a link to the photos but the comments we got at that time were not entirely conclusive.    Now we are asking for a review of 5 of the photos with specific questions about each.  We don't claim to have viewed all possible photographs of Arctic or Common Terns, and photographs or either species in "Portlandica-like" plumages are not common. Photographs of Aleutian Terns are rare except for summer adults and juvenile birds.  We wouldn't be surprised if some or all of the suggested field marks for Aleutian Tern are not conclusive, but we could use help in  seeing evidence that they are not.  Please download the PDF file at this link to see the photos and the questions:  


https://www.dropbox.com/s/0e9bgv79n1lm5q3/Tern.pdf?dl=0



Jeff Gilligan
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...



Subject: a pelagic tern from Oregon
Date: Mon Sep 15 2014 23:02 pm
From: jeffgilligan10 AT gmail.com
 
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Subject: Olive sided Flycatcher?
Date: Tue Sep 9 2014 12:30 pm
From: leightern AT msn.com
 



Flycatcher id question2View slide show (1)View on FlickrTaken at top of Shenandoah Mountain in Virginia on Sunday. I saw it only long enough to take about 9 photos of which only the one below shows head and bill. Very distant but white on back along flanks shows. I waited for an hour but the bird never reappeared. I never was able to get the scope on the bird. Hence I have almost nothing of note to add to the description of the bird except to say that the time and habitat seemed suitable for Olive-sided Flycatcher. Perhaps the tail seems a bit long but do Eastern Wood Pewees show white on the back like in this photo? Could it be the wind lifted a few feathers up showing a white patch?
Any thoughts or suggestions would be most appreciated!
best, William Leigh leightern@msn.comBridgewater, Virginia
William Leigh leightern@msn.com

Bridgewater, Virginia






Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2014 12:23:35 -0400
From: redwing1986 AT HOTMAIL.COM
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Sorry for incomplete emails re LBBG vs. GBBG
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU




Hello. I meant to say that an imaginary line drawn back across the head of an LBBG from the top of the upper mandible tends, in my experience, to pass through the eye or upper part of the eye, whereas, on GBBG, a line drawn back from the top of the massive bill tends to pass above the eye.

The bill of the putative CA LBBG goes look big. however, when applied to the many photos presented to us, the above test would suggest LBBG.

Caveat: consider the angle of the head in the photo.

I first applied the imaginary line test to the heads of BCNH and YCNH some years ago.

Yours,

Jim Barton
Cambridge, MA







Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html



Subject: Sorry for incomplete emails re LBBG vs. GBBG
Date: Thu Sep 4 2014 12:27 pm
From: redwing1986 AT hotmail.com
 
Hello. I meant to say that an imaginary line drawn back across the head of an LBBG from the top of the upper mandible tends, in my experience, to pass through the eye or upper part of the eye, whereas, on GBBG, a line drawn back from the top of the massive bill tends to pass above the eye.

The bill of the putative CA LBBG goes look big. however, when applied to the many photos presented to us, the above test would suggest LBBG.

Caveat: consider the angle of the head in the photo.

I first applied the imaginary line test to the heads of BCNH and YCNH some years ago.

Yours,

Jim Barton
Cambridge, MA







Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...



Subject: Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office.
Date: Fri Aug 29 2014 0:49 am
From: paul.r.wood AT uk.pwc.com
 


I will be out of the office from 29/08/2014 until 02/09/2014.

I will respond to your message when I return.




Note: This is an automated response to your message BIRDWG01 Digest - 27
Aug 2014 to 28 Aug 2014 (#2014-117) sent on 29/08/2014 06:00:29. This is
the only notification you will receive while this person is away.

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Subject: SY graellsii vs. taimyrensis
Date: Thu Aug 28 2014 13:58 pm
From: p_adriaens AT yahoo.com
 
Hi Tristan,


I think I still cannot post to the entire list (due to my Yahoo address), but I hope that this email reaches you well.

Lesser Black-backed Gull is a species that I am very familiar with; I spent a lot of time in the local breeding colonies here in Belgium (4,000+ pairs) in 2010, 2011 and 2012, ringing the chicks and studying colour-ringed birds. It is a species I see daily.

I have also studied and photographed (presumed) taimyrensis in Japan; see e.g. my collection of 1c birds here: http://www.pbase.com/smiths_1/... I have reported a 1c Lesser Black-backed Gull (a big brute!) at Half Moon Bay, California, in Jan 2011; this bird was accepted by the CBRC (http://www.californiabirds.org....


In all respects, the Eureka bird looks like a relatively normal graellsiito me.
Here is a similar bird from Belgium, photographed just two weeks ago and wrongly reported as a Yellow-legged Gull (birds like this are confusing even to European birders!):
http://waarnemingen.be/waarnem...

There are lots of photos for comparison at the Gull Research website (http://www.gull-research.org/l.... Here is another one fairly similar to the Eureka bird: http://www.gull-research.org/l...
Pale inner webs on 2nd-generation inner primaries are pretty normal in this species. See, for instance, this colour-ringed bird from France:

http://tinyurl.com/lqbo9a5

Therefore, to conclude, I would not be able to tell this bird from the local Lesser Black-backed Gulls if I came across it on the beach here...


I hope this is of some help.


Peter





On Thursday, August 28, 2014 6:56 AM, Tristan McKee wrote:


>
>
>A large, heavy-bodied Lesser Black-backed Gull has been frequenting
>Eureka, CA this month. This is the first documented record of this
>"species" in northwestern California. While most experts agree that it
>fits L. f. graellsii fairly well, it has a few odd characteristics
>that are more typically associated with taimyrensis:
>
>1) cinnamon tones to neck, wings, and axillars.
>
>2) medium, californicus-like gray coming into the upper back and outer
>greater coverts.
>
>3) strongly contrasting medium-gray inner webs of the central and
>inner primaries.
>
>4) large size, bulkiness, and broad wings.
>
>Sean McCallister was able to approach the bird by kayak and snap the
>nicest shot yet:
>
>https://www.flickr.com/photos/...
>
>Rob Fowler captured this shot of the spread wings:
>
>https://www.flickr.com/photos/...
>
>Because this record is an outlier in season and location (the
>mountain-bound north coast seemingly off the beaten path for invading
>graellsii), I don't feel comfortable with labeling this a "true"
>Lesser Black-backed unless we can firmly eliminate birds from the
>Taimyr Peninsula. The consensus is that this size and structure are
>within normal variation of graellsii. Amar Ayyash provided some photos
>of a presumed Dutch intergrade with cinnamon tones that approached
>this bird, and I have seen photos of intermedius that looked similar.
>Based on the paleness of incoming gray on the mantle, the rather
>short, broad wings, and the pale underwings, I don't think we have to
>worry too much about pure intermedius. Similarly, I would expect
>heuglini sensu stricto to have a darker mantle shade and to be much
>whiter on the head and underparts with more distinct dark streaking in
>summer.
>
>I contacted Nial Moores from Korea about this bird, who suggested that
>it looked a lot like taimyrensis but was less advanced in molt than
>expected, and that I should look for experts from further west to
>determine if graellsii can be eliminated.
>
>Questions:
>
>a) How likely is it for graellsii-types to combine distinct cinnamon
>tones with this pale mantle shade and contrasting inner webs to the
>primaries?
>
>b) The bird only had three first-cycle primaries left on each side
>when we found it at the beginning of the month. There was a distinct
>pattern break between the innermost greater coverts (boldly barred
>buff and blackish) and the incoming outer greater coverts (medium
>grayish), perhaps suggesting that the molt was termporarilly suspended
>(so the bird may have started molting earlier than it appears at first
>glance). Is this off for taimyrensis? I presume this all fits
>graellsii fairly well?
>
>c) Is there any way to actually eliminate such a mysterious form as taimyrensis?
>
>d) Have I eliminated heuglini sensu stricto prematurely?
>
>e) What can we do to address the possibility of a graellsii x
>smithsonianus hybrid?
>
>Here are Rob Fowler's photos:
>
>https://www.flickr.com/photos/...
>
>and Gary Bloomfield"s:
>
>https://www.flickr.com/photos/...
>
>
>Thanks for any input,
>
>Tristan McKee
>
>Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...
>
>
>
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html



Subject: Okay, SY Lesser vs. Great Black-backed Gull
Date: Thu Aug 28 2014 8:30 am
From: swampy435 AT gmail.com
 
Dear Tristan,
Not sure about Lesser Black-Back, I certainly can see why you question that
conclusion. The mantle seems too light and so well marked for a LBBG
approaching its second year. If it were my sighting I would question for
sure. The most curious thing is the light inner webs of what is there of
the primaries. And the bill, the upper mandible, seems to curve down like
a Yellow - legged gull. Did you look into Yellow- legged? It is really hard
to tell from the photos how dark the wing really is. There is one thing I
can say with a level of confidence, this is not a Great Black-Backed Gull.
They are just massive, every part of them is heavy, head bill, etc. and I
have seen on occasion smaller ones which always make me wonder if there is
something else in the gene pool. But they always have that look. Of coarse
this is like the worst time of year to id out of range gulls because some
of the key features like the outer primaries are molting. The tail
feathers would be nice to see also, which are not there. Some gulls just
can't be id'ed, lord knows I have many. But this looks like a fun bird to
pick apart and learn on for sure. I can take a closer look later when I get
home. Hopefully some of the experts out there will weigh in and help you.
Cheers
Suzanne Sullivan
Wilmington ma

On Thursday, August 28, 2014, Tristan McKee wrote:

> One more question has resurfaced regarding the Eureka bird: why isn't this
> a small female Great Black-backed Gull? I must admit this was my very first
> impression in the field. Note that size is incredibly difficult to judge
> from photos and even in the field, in this case. In some photos, it looks
> the same size as a Glaucous-winged or Western, while in others, barely
> larger than a California. I felt it generally blended in with the with
> large gulls and always dwarfed the Californias, but others insist it was
> smaller and easily a Lesser Black-backed. I am ignoring the pale gray in
> the back for now because it is very limited and there is so much confusion
> over developing gray in SY large gulls in general. The primary projection
> was short for a Lesser Black-backed but generally looked longer than Great
> Black-backed due to the missing rectrices.
>
> I've been discouraged from pursuing this bird's ID any further because it
> is "just a Lesser Black-backed", but I'm pretty confused at this point and
> feel it is rather cavalier to identify such an odd rarity so casually. East
> Coast and European observers, please help.
>
> Thanks again,
> Tristan McKee
> Arcata, CA
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...



--
Suzanne M. Sullivan
Wilmington, MA
swampy435@gmail.com

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Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html



Subject: Okay, SY Lesser vs. Great Black-backed Gull
Date: Thu Aug 28 2014 5:55 am
From: atmckee AT gmail.com
 
One more question has resurfaced regarding the Eureka bird: why isn't this
a small female Great Black-backed Gull? I must admit this was my very first
impression in the field. Note that size is incredibly difficult to judge
from photos and even in the field, in this case. In some photos, it looks
the same size as a Glaucous-winged or Western, while in others, barely
larger than a California. I felt it generally blended in with the with
large gulls and always dwarfed the Californias, but others insist it was
smaller and easily a Lesser Black-backed. I am ignoring the pale gray in
the back for now because it is very limited and there is so much confusion
over developing gray in SY large gulls in general. The primary projection
was short for a Lesser Black-backed but generally looked longer than Great
Black-backed due to the missing rectrices.

I've been discouraged from pursuing this bird's ID any further because it
is "just a Lesser Black-backed", but I'm pretty confused at this point and
feel it is rather cavalier to identify such an odd rarity so casually. East
Coast and European observers, please help.

Thanks again,
Tristan McKee
Arcata, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...



Subject: SY graellsii vs. taimyrensis
Date: Wed Aug 27 2014 23:12 pm
From: atmckee AT gmail.com
 
A large, heavy-bodied Lesser Black-backed Gull has been frequenting
Eureka, CA this month. This is the first documented record of this
"species" in northwestern California. While most experts agree that it
fits L. f. graellsii fairly well, it has a few odd characteristics
that are more typically associated with taimyrensis:

1) cinnamon tones to neck, wings, and axillars.

2) medium, californicus-like gray coming into the upper back and outer
greater coverts.

3) strongly contrasting medium-gray inner webs of the central and
inner primaries.

4) large size, bulkiness, and broad wings.

Sean McCallister was able to approach the bird by kayak and snap the
nicest shot yet:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/...

Rob Fowler captured this shot of the spread wings:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/...

Because this record is an outlier in season and location (the
mountain-bound north coast seemingly off the beaten path for invading
graellsii), I don't feel comfortable with labeling this a "true"
Lesser Black-backed unless we can firmly eliminate birds from the
Taimyr Peninsula. The consensus is that this size and structure are
within normal variation of graellsii. Amar Ayyash provided some photos
of a presumed Dutch intergrade with cinnamon tones that approached
this bird, and I have seen photos of intermedius that looked similar.
Based on the paleness of incoming gray on the mantle, the rather
short, broad wings, and the pale underwings, I don't think we have to
worry too much about pure intermedius. Similarly, I would expect
heuglini sensu stricto to have a darker mantle shade and to be much
whiter on the head and underparts with more distinct dark streaking in
summer.

I contacted Nial Moores from Korea about this bird, who suggested that
it looked a lot like taimyrensis but was less advanced in molt than
expected, and that I should look for experts from further west to
determine if graellsii can be eliminated.

Questions:

a) How likely is it for graellsii-types to combine distinct cinnamon
tones with this pale mantle shade and contrasting inner webs to the
primaries?

b) The bird only had three first-cycle primaries left on each side
when we found it at the beginning of the month. There was a distinct
pattern break between the innermost greater coverts (boldly barred
buff and blackish) and the incoming outer greater coverts (medium
grayish), perhaps suggesting that the molt was termporarilly suspended
(so the bird may have started molting earlier than it appears at first
glance). Is this off for taimyrensis? I presume this all fits
graellsii fairly well?

c) Is there any way to actually eliminate such a mysterious form as taimyrensis?

d) Have I eliminated heuglini sensu stricto prematurely?

e) What can we do to address the possibility of a graellsii x
smithsonianus hybrid?

Here are Rob Fowler's photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/...

and Gary Bloomfield"s:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/...


Thanks for any input,

Tristan McKee

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archiv...



Subject: Blue-winged Teal hybridisation in the USA
Date: Wed Aug 27 2014 13:17 pm
From: LGREUK400 AT aol.com
 
I was wondering how extensive and widespread the hybridisation of
Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler is in North America, especially as perhaps 1
out of every 5 'Blue-winged Teals' I twitch in the UK seems to be one.
Browsing some superb North American websites on the net specialising in
wildfowl seems to suggest that some of the 'Shoveler-billed' Blue-winged Teals are
in fact hybrids (or certainly have Shoveler influence) and it also worries
me how extensively orange-legged some individuals are (the majority of
adult Blue-winged Teals have yellow legs and feet). Just intrigued to know the
extent of such happenings in the USA.

All the very best

Lee

You can now follow Lee on Twitter at LeeEvansBirding



Lee G R Evans, Ornithological Consultant, Author, Bird Guide & Tour Leader
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