[wisb] Re: Black-legged Kittiwake?

Ryan's comment reminds me of another issue this raised for me mildly. Again,
Bernie, please don't take this personally! My thought is this: if anyone out
there is unsure of a bird ID and you think it might be something
interesting, or that you could use help IDing to be sure, please send the
word ASAP! (Actually, please send the word ASAP if you find anything
interesting). A birding community functions best when everyone is happy to
post, even if they're not totally confident. While you may run the risk of a
false positive, it leaves other birders in the position to make their own
ID. If one person is unsure and no one else sees it, no ID is made.
My personal anecdote involves a probable slaty-backed gull that a topnotch
birder had found, but was too uncertain about to call in. He watched the
bird for over two hours, only calling someone near the end of that period.
By the time other birders were able to respond, the bird was gone, leading
to three days of driving around Cayuga Lake looking for the potential thing.
My point is this - my friends and I (with too much time on our hands) would
much rather have gone up and looked at what might not be a slaty-backed gull
than missed what might turn out to BE a slaty-backed gull. I don't think
anyone would have thought any less of this birder if the call had been
wrong, either, but all we could figure was that he really really didn't want
to make the "wrong" call.

Anyway, I still feel a bit new to the Wisconsin birding community, but it
seems lively and helpful. I would hope that all birders, both beginning and
veteran, would share their sightings and look for feedback, in a timely
manner, whether they were confident of an ID or not. This can get more birds
IDed and more birds seen, photographed, and accepted as part of the
Wisconsin bird record. And realize for all its minor dramas, these bird
lists are an incredible resource that only exist because people post to
them! Even eBird at this point is not as fast as a birding listserve -
reports have to be reviewed before becoming searchable, so (a la the
potential kite reported at Horicon this summer) the greater community finds
out about them days after their report. And recall weekly hotline updates,
where you wouldn't hear about a bird until seven days later...

I ramble. My point is to encourage all to post, and quickly.

Good birding,
Jesse




Just a thought... if anyone is unsure about a potential rarity, I for one
would rather hear it reported as a potential rarity, so that other birders
can help out confirming it or not. I have missed a Slaty-backed Gull because
a topnotch birder did not want to risk his rep with a mis-ID (NOT saying
this was true for Bernie, at all! - just using the anecdote as an
illustration). We missed the individual by a half-hour, and only two other
people made it in time to see the bird. Luckily they got pictures. I say, if
you have a rarity or potential rarity, get backup!

On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 12:24 PM, <korducki@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Time of year is not exclusive though. I did have an adult winter boni at
> South Shore on the ice back in January of 92. They are rare but not out of
> the question.
> Mark Korducki, New Berlin
> Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "B.G. Sloan" <bgsloan2@xxxxxxxxx>
> Sender: wisbirdn-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 10:12:41
> To: wisbirdn<wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Reply-To: bgsloan2@xxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [wisb] Re: Black-legged Kittiwake?
>
> I think I'm going to call this bird a Kittiwake, based on John Idzikowski's
> information on the historical essential absence of Boni's in Milwaukee in
> January, the size of the bird (relative to the nearby Scaups), and the fact
> that first winter BL Kittiwakes don't always have the dark neck collar (or
> that it isn't always visible).
>
> I didn't even think of Kittiwake at first because of the neck collar thing,
> even though everything else was consistent with the species. Thanks to Max
> Witynski for suggesting off-list that it could have been a Kittiwake. I'm
> sure enough of this ID to check it off as 12-month BIGBY species #198. Not
> sure I could convince a records committee, though.
>
> By the way, I went back to McKinley Beach yesterday to try to relocate the
> bird, with no luck. Coincidentally, a first winter BL Kittiwake showed up on
> the Chicago lakefront this morning.
>
> Bernie Sloan
> Milwaukee
>
> --- On Sat, 1/15/11, John Idzikowski <idzikoj@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>
> > From: John Idzikowski <idzikoj@xxxxxxx>
> > Subject: [wisb] Re: Black-legged Kittiwake?
> > To: ryanbrady10@xxxxxxxxxxx
> > Cc: pfissel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, bgsloan2@xxxxxxxxx, wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011, 11:18 AM
> > I think that a Kittiwake has a
> > greater chance of occurrence now than a Boni in Milwaukee.
> > Bonis are very cold sensitive and leave the state mostly by
> > the end of Nov. Even when we had a large warm water plume
> > emitting from the Jones' Is. sewage filtration plant and
> > they fed here daily into Dec. they readily left when faced
> > with cold weather like we have had in the last 3 weeks such
> > that they are essentially absent historically from Milwaukee
> > in January.
> >
> > John Idzikowski
> > Milwaukee
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Ryan Brady <ryanbrady10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> > To: pfissel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
> > bgsloan2@xxxxxxxxx,
> > wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > Sent: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 08:43:36 -0600 (CST)
> > Subject: [wisb] Re: Black-legged Kittiwake?
> >
> > The black collar on first-cycle Black-legged Kittiwakes can
> > be readily missed depending on the distance, lighting, and
> > angle of bird's flight.  On the other hand, many
> > first-cycle Bonaparte's Gulls can show a dusky color that
> > highly resembles that of kittiwakes, especially earlier in
> > fall, so this feature alone is not entirely reliable.
> >
> >
> > Ryan Brady
> > Washburn, Bayfield County, WI
> > http://www.pbase.com/rbrady
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 20:20:03 -0600
> > > From: pfissel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > > Subject: [wisb] Re: Black-legged Kittiwake?
> > > To: bgsloan2@xxxxxxxxx;
> > wisbirdn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > >
> > > If I recall correctly, last winter's Port Washington
> > BL Kittiwake had a neck collar that wasn't always very
> > apparent. That bird was also there for what, three months at
> > least, and went through some plumage changes during its
> > stay.
> > >
> > > Peter Fissel
> > > Madison WI
> > >
> > > On 01/14/11, "B.G. Sloan" wrote:
> > > > Yesterday I reported a mystery gull. I described
> > it as "Smallish, about the size of the Scaups it was hanging
> > out with. Black bill, some sootiness on the sides of the
> > head. I'm thinking probably Bonaparte's?"
> > > >
> > > > Off-list, someone suggested that I consider
> > juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake. The size makes sense, since
> > it was the size of the Greater Scaups it was hanging out
> > with. My preliminary Bonaparte's ID bothered me a bit
> > because I sort of thought a Bonaparte's would be noticeably
> > smaller than a Scaup.
> > > >
> > > > I checked my Sibley, and his illustration of a
> > first winter Black-legged Kittiwake (p. 229) kind of looks
> > like what I saw, EXCEPT that I don't really recall seeing a
> > black collar at the back of the neck. The caption on one BNA
> > Online photo of a first winter bird sort of hints that these
> > birds might not always have the dark collar: "Many often
> > show a dark collar as well".
> > > >
> > > > The bird I saw more resembles Sibley's
> > illustration of a first summer bird, except that the bill
> > was all black. And it seems pretty late for a first-summer
> > plumaged bird.
> > > >
> > > > What's the likelihood of finding a first winter
> > Black-legged Kittiwake with no immediately obvious neck
> > collar on Lake Michigan at this time of year? Or a late
> > first-summer plumaged bird?
> > > >
> > > > Just curious...
> > > >
> > > > Bernie Sloan
> > > > Milwaukee
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
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-- 
Jesse Ellis
Madison, Dane Co, WI

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