[TN-Bird] Re: Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery

  • From: Sharon Monett <sbm4him@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Michael Todd <birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 12:11:46 -0400

Yes, a wholehearted THANK YOU to Dean for the very detailed reasons for
your IDs--that is such a tremendous help to novices like me to try to
figure out how to ID things ourselves.
It's also kinda encouraging to see the disagreements among some of you
considerably more experienced birders...makes me not feel QUITE so bad for
not knowing what some of them are.

Unfortunately, I only got two shots of the dowitcher before it took off,
and both were from too far away to be that good. The second shot is just
not good at all and I doubt it would help clarify things. However, it does
show its back a bit more, I suppose, and there were a couple of killdeer to
its left, so I left them in for size comparison. Not something I'd ever
post to flickr or FB, but I'm attaching it here on the offhand chance it
could help someone confirm the ID.

On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM, Michael Todd <birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> Dean/All,
> Thanks Dean for taking the time to give some detailed answers! I agree
> almost totally:
> On the Dowitcher, I also think Short-billed on bill shape with downward
> kink towards end, very pale coloration below blending to white, and the
> sparse but pretty uniform spotting down down breastsides and flanks.
> Long-billed lose the barring more readily than Short-billed, so that by
> August they usually have markings heaviest at breast sides and very light
> to absent along flanks. Better/additional looks would be nice on this bird
> though.
> 1814 I would call an adult Pectoral, with the long primary extension and
> yellowish bill base.
> Good Birding!!
> Mike Todd
> McKenzie, TN
> birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> www.pbase.com/mctodd
>    *From:* "kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> *To:* Sharon Monett <sbm4him@xxxxxxxxx>
> *Cc:* Tennessee Birds <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> *Sent:* Monday, August 12, 2013 9:25 AM
> *Subject:* [TN-Bird] Re: Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery
> See my notes below...
> Dean Edwards
> Knoxville, TN
> On Mon, 12 Aug 2013, Sharon Monett wrote:
> > 1574: Least sandpiper seems to be the consensus.
> Correct. Juvenile.  Note the fresh plumage and the pattern of the
> scapulars (the feathers just over the folded wing on the back)... black
> center with rusty orange edges and white tips.  These white tips on the
> mantle (center part of the back) make two white lines that form a V.  The
> white tips are a key point to look for in Least SP, and I will come back
> to that below.  Also note the yellow legs which help distinguish Least
> from other peeps... this can be a good point if seen but should not be an
> end-all-be-all field mark... other peeps can rarely have yellowish legs or
> legs covered in yellow-looking mud or Least can have legs covered in dark
> mud, etc.  Finally, note how the coverts (small feathers covering the
> wings) and tertials (wing feathers covering the tail) are also dark
> centered with rusty orange edges giving a uniform appearance to the back
> (except for the white spots).  Remember this for later.
> > 1675: Spotted, maybe winter plumage?
> Correct but a juvenile.
> > 1688: No guesses yet
> Spotted SP.  Looks like a molting adult as there appears to be some
> spotting underneath.  These guys are IDable in flight from great distance
> by their stiff-winged flight style.  Here, note the white wing stripe and
> all dark tail and rump.  Also note the white eyering.
> > 1713: One guess for semipalmated sandpiper, one guess for Least.
> Juvenile Least SP.  Compare with 1574.  yellow legs, scapular pattern,
> etc.  Coverts and tertials are more contrasty than in 1574 with buffy
> edges instead of rusty orange but still good for a Least.
> > 1746: Consensus is Dowitcher; no one so far ventured a guess as to
> whether
> > it's short-billed or long-billed.
> I'm going to go with adult "hendersoni" Short-billed Dowitcher.  Note the
> worn state of the feathers clearly indicating an adult, still mostly in
> breeding plumage.  The orange wash to the underparts goes all the way to
> the tail (eliminates "griseus" SB Dowitcher but not LB).  The spotting up
> top and small chevrons on the flanks (rather than heavy, long bars as for
> LB) and the more slender overall shape (not the "I just swallowed a
> grapefruit" look of a LB) points me to SB.
> > 1758: Guesses have included Solitary or Yellowlegs. I was thinking
> Solitary
> > originally.
> Juvenile Spotted SP.  compare with 1675.  Note the back is barred with
> buffy edges to the fresh juvenile feathers, NOT spotted as in Solitary.
> Also note the classic eye ring of a juvenile Spotted... Solitary have
> spectacles with white loral strip (like it's wearing glasses).  The
> overall posture is classic Spotted SP.  Note how the brown on the neck and
> upper breast a) does not connect in the middle and b) makes a "thumb" that
> sticks down in front of the wing surrounded by white.  Finally, look at
> the tail.  First, it extends beyond the wingtips as in Spotted and unlike
> Solitary.  Second, it is brown.  Solitary have a very distinctive tail
> pattern... dark center, white edges with lateral dark stripes.  From the
> side on a standing bird, the white with black stripes is very evident.
> > 1781: Spotted
> Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.
> > 1814: No guesses given
> Adult Least SP.  Note the worn, tattered feathers ageing this as an adult
> bird... not the bright, fresh plumage of the juveniles above.  Legs are
> yellow, scapulars and coverts have dark center and buffy edges.  Overall
> brown appearance with heavy coloration on the upper breast.
> > 1853: Guesses included Least, Semipalmated and Western. So far, Western
> > seems to be the consensus.
> Juvenile Least SP.  Compare with above.  First, note the fresh plumage so
> this is a juvenile something.  The yellow legs are not as obvious here so
> focus on the scapulars, coverts, and tertials and compare with 1574.
> Scapulars are dark centered with rusty orange edges and white tips.  You
> can see a bit of the V on the back.  Coverts and tertials also have rusty
> orange edging.  Also note the heavily streaked upper breast.  Western
> should have more reddish color on the scapular edges without the white
> tips and the coverts and tertials have cold, grey edges that contrast with
> the scaps... not the uniform orangey look of a Least.
> > 1858: Spotted
> Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.
> > 1969: Consensus is Pectoral
> Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.  Note the heavy barred upper breast
> that ends sharply.  Also note the worn feather edges on the scapulars and
> coverts that help age the bird.  Can look similar to Least SP but much
> larger.
> >
> > For the non-shore birds:
> > 1984: Red-winged blackbirds. Maybe young? Maybe female? Maybe young
> > females? I had previous pictures of female rwbs that didn't seem to look
> > like this (but that was back in the spring, so different plumage, I
> guess?)
> > so I'd never have guessed that's what these were. Several though
> > meadowlark, which had been my initial thought until I realized the beak
> was
> > all wrong.
> Juvenile RW Blackbirds.  At least one looks like a male with red coming
> in on sholder.
> >
> > 1987: Juvenile Starling. This was actually my initial thought because of
> > the beak. But again, just last week, I was at Eagle Bend and saw a MUCH
> > larger bird that looked TOTALLY different from this one that also turned
> > out to be a juvenile starling, so that threw me. Interesting how quickly,
> > and completely, their plumage can change.
> >
> Correct.  In heavy molt.  Note the "stars" coming in on the chest.
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