[TN-Bird] Re: Nashville Warbler (???)

  • From: Chris Sloan <csloan1973@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 12:31:41 -0500

This illustrates some of the challenges of photos for ID.  We're clearly
interpreting what we see in the photo differently.  For example, I
initially had the same reaction about the crown patch, but then when I
zoomed in and studied it more closely, it doesn't seem to be there at all.
 It's an interesting issue.  If had has any more photos of the bird, maybe
he can post them.

Chris Sloan
Nashville, TN

On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM, Richard Knight <rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

>  I can't believe we're discussing the same photo!  To me the photos show
> little
> that even suggest  Com. Yellowthroat.  I have banded over 350
> yellowthroats, so
> am familiar with close-up, in-hand looks at them.
> The head & bill shape are fine for Nashville, actually better than for
> yellowthroat.
> The eye ring is a little weak in front, but still within range for
> Nashville & rather strong
> for yellowthroat.
> In both photos, the light seems fine to distinguish the shade of gray on
> the head.
> You did not address the extensive, rather bright yellow underparts.  A
> perfect fit
> for Nashville & all wrong for female yellowthroat.  Immature male
> yellowthroat is,
> of course, eliminated by lack of any trace of black mask.
> In the second photo, looking at the top of the head, we can see what
> appears to
> be traces of the crown patch of Nashville, which is often partially or
> mostly
> concealed.
> While the null hypothesis is a good thing & should be part of our approach
> to ID,
> it doesn't always work in nature, otherwise we would never see a rare
> bird.
> Rick Knight
> Johnson City, TN
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Chris Sloan <csloan1973@xxxxxxxxx>
> *To: *rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> *Cc: *tn bird <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> *Sent:* 6/29/2012 6:37:18 PM
> *Subject:* [TN-Bird] Re: Nashville Warbler (???)
> Here's why I believe this is a Common Yellowthroat:
> 1.  The bill and head shape are all wrong for Nashville.  Nashville is one
> of the smallest warblers and has a very thin, sharply pointed bill with a
> dove-like, very rounded head.  This bird shows the heavier bill and flatter
> head shape that is a typical of a yellowthroat.
> 2.  The white eye-ring is nowhere near thick and prominent enough for a
> Nashville.  Nashville shows a very thick, bright, uniform white eye ring.
>  This bird shows a fairly weak eye ring.  Admittedly it's more prominent
> than most yellowthroats, but it's nowhere near strong enough for a
> Nashville.  Yellowthroats can show a pale eye ring like this at times.
> 3.  The color or the head is misleading.  Yellowthroats have a grayish
> brown head also, but the real test is the contrast between the head and the
> rest of the upperparts, which is uniform in yellowthroat and sharply
> contrasting in Nashville.  We can't see that in these photos.  I do not
> believe the color shown here is as gray as Rick interprets.  It's hard to
> say for sure in that light, but to me it looks fine for a yellowthroat.
> Remember that the null hypothesis here has to be Common Yellowthroat at
> this time of year, particularly in a location that is quite literally
> covered up with them as breeders.  In my opinion, this bird shows no
> characteristics that are inconsistent with a Common Yellowthroat.
> Chris Sloan
> Nashville, TN
> http://www.chrissloanphotography.com
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Chris Sloan <csloan1973@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> I will post more substantive comments when I have time after work, but I
>> stand by my response to Ed that, in my opinion, this is quite clearly a
>> Common Yellowthroat for a number of reasons.
>> Chris Sloan
>> Nashville, TN
>> http://www.chrissloanphotography.com
>> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM, Richard Knight 
>> <rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:
>>> A few days back Ed Schneider posted a photo of a warbler for which he
>>> was unsure of
>>> the ID.  In an off-list email conversation, he said the the consensus
>>> opinion was for
>>> female Common Yellowthroat.  There has been no public discussion of the
>>> ID, so I am
>>> weighing in.
>>> I believe it is a Nashville Warbler.
>>> My reasoning:
>>> 1)  the head is too gray for female Com. Yellowthroat, which should be
>>> brownish-olive.
>>> 2)  the eye-ring is a little too bold, but head color & eye-ring are
>>> right for Nashville.
>>> 3)  the yellow underneath is too extensive & even-toned for
>>> yellowthroat, which should
>>>      be shaded from fairly bright in throat to dull yellow on lower
>>> breast.
>>> 4)  culmen shape appears to be straight, unlike slightly down-curved for
>>> yellowthroat.
>>> The amount of yellow underneath & bill shape are good for Nashville.
>>> While Nashville Warblers in spring migration usually occur higher up in
>>> trees than the
>>> bird in the photo, which is in blackberry brambles, I often see fall
>>> migrant Nashvilles
>>> in low shrubby stuff including goldenrod & ragweed.  So habitat
>>> shouldn't be an issue.
>>> Photo IDs are sometimes harder than in-life IDs, since there is only one
>>> angle per photo,
>>>  no vocalizations or behavioral clues, etc.  However, you can stare at
>>> the photo for as
>>> long as you want & analyze visible details.
>>> Apparently this would be the first summer record of a Nashville Warbler
>>> in TN, as
>>> Robinson (1990) lists none & I don't recall any since then.  It could be
>>> a very late
>>> spring migrant or, more likely, an early fall migrant (perhaps a failed
>>> breeder) or
>>> a wandering non-breeder.  Nashvilles do nest as far south as northern
>>> West Virginia.
>>> Comments welcome.
>>> Rick Knight
>>> Johnson City, TN
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> *From:* Ed Schneider <ed.schneider@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> *To: *tn bird <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> *Sent:* 6/23/2012 3:39:54 PM
>>> *Subject:* [TN-Bird] Nashville Warbler (???)
>>> Bells Bend Park, Davidson Co.
>>> 23 June, 2012
>>> I realize there are no summer records for this bird, and I wouldn't
>>> expect there to be. I of course thought I was
>>> photographing a female Common Yellowthroat, but the eye ring seemed WAY
>>> to strong compared to the female
>>> and first year yellowthroats I've seen.
>>> That being said, the bill shape doesn't scream Oreothylpis to me at all,
>>> and the habitat is of course all wrong for
>>> Nashville even in migration.
>>> Anyone care to share some thoughts on a bird that threw me for a small
>>> loop this morning? I imagine COYE can
>>> be extremely variable, and I'm still an advanced novice at best...
>>> always nice to get a photo of a questionable bird,
>>> however.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Ed Schneider
>>> Davidson Co.

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