Casey’s Virginia’s Warbler (Portland, OR, 11/18/17)

My friend Casey found a Virginia’s Warbler at his suet feeder! What a bird for the area!

Looks like this is an first year bird. Not really any yellow on the breast other than the vent/rump. All gray back (separating it from Nashville), nice eyering.


Just a Red-tailed Hawk (Gilliam Co, OR, some time in March 2016) – Yeah right, read the comments

[This was my initial posting. Read the comments if you want the resolution …]

When I saw this hawk from the back, I started to be interested …


Not a Roughie … Bill is not big enough for Ferruginous, so what is it?


Just a Red-tail with a very light tail. Markings are too heavy for Krider’s or Fuerte’s,

Newport Glaucous Gull (Lincoln Co, OR, 03/12/16)

I missed pretty much all my targets that weekend. That said, I was hardly birding. Just not feeling well these days.


This 1st-cycle Glaucous Gull was at the gull puddle. It was enormous, well outside of barrovianus. I’m thinking palladissimus, probably.


A Harlequin Duck roosting nearby.

Another interesting gull was this guy: Looks like a 1st-cycle bird (also doesn’t seem to have rounded primaries yet). The primaries are maybe a little too dark to suggest Nelson’s Gull (Glaucous x Herring), so this may just be a Herring.


NH over Labor Day 2015

This year’s Labor Day trip was NH and a little bit of MA (Plum Island aka Parker River NWR). Birding was on the slow side, nevertheless enjoyable. The best day was Saturday when NH Coast wizards Steve and Jane Mirick gave me the grand tour of their local patch. Highlights included Great Cormorant, Black Guillemot, Yellow-crowned Night-heron, Upland Sandpiper, Western and White-rumped Sandpiper.

The following are pictures from a morning at Mt. Kearsarge northwest of Concord (1-4). Bird 5 came from the coast. Can you id them?

Bird 1


Bird 2:

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Bird 3


Bird 4


Bird 5: Odiorne Point SP. Are they really all the same species?


This Common Eider is of course easy to id …


The posture of this Red-breasted Nuthatch is so classic that I couldn’t resist uploading this picture. Too bad that he was in the shade.


Some pix from a recent Okanogan trip (12/25-12/28/2014)`

Always a highlight for every trip. This Gyrfalcon posed for me, but I was fumbling with my gear and got what I deserved … As backlit as it can get.



This Snowy Owl was found just 2.5mi north of Waterville. The sun had already set.


While listening to singing Townsend’s Solitaires and watching a smallish flock of Bohemian Waxwings at Palmer Lake, I noticed this Cassin’s Finch.

What bothered me about this bird was the abundant blurry streaking, more reminiscent of Purple Finch (I was shooting for a possible Eastern here). The bird’s back seemed very crisp in the field. What made this a Cassin’s for me are the following (please speak up if you disagree):

  • Eye arcs!
  • Long primary projection
  • Very conical bill (not that visible in the shot below)
  • Crest is behind the eye
  • Crisp streaking on the vent (Eastern Purple doesn’t have that, Western usually does)



This poor shot shows the streaking on the vent.



The bills shows here …


Can you say Gray Partridge? Easily the best looks I ever had of a noisy, almost stationary flock.

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Heto Warbler?

Joe Kaplan suggested that the bird I labeled “Townsend’s Warbler” (taken during a Memorial Day trip in Fields, OR) may in fact be a Hermit x Townsend’s Warbler (or Heto Warbler). See  (here I also rule out Black-throated Green Warbler). He may have a point …

When looking at Hermit Warblers, our eyes are trained to look for hybridization with Townsend’s. Giveaways are yellow on the breast and streaking on the breast. It is relatively easy to detect if the bird has Townsend’s blood in it. There are a good number of hybrids of that type out there, in particular in areas that the birds are known to hybridize (such as the Southern WA Cascades). Only few birds on the other end of the spectrum have been documented. And we just don’t regularly scrutinize every Townsend’s for Hermit genes.

See for a possibly similar bird. Dunn & Garrett’s “Warblers” mentions this rare type of Heto Warbler and shows a plate depicting the front half of the bird.

Here are 2 more shots of the bird in question. You can clearly see the slight yellow wash on the breast. Everything else looks Townsend’s to me. Is there enough evidence to call this a Heto Warbler?

One interesting aspect is of course that this bird was seen and photographed in Fields which might be a little off-track in terms of the regular migration path of hybrid Hermit x Townsend’s Warblers.



Various gulls, part 2 (OR, 02/20/11)

Another 5 pictures from Westmoreland Park.

This bird looks like a 1st cycle Glaucous-winged Gull. There are some gray mantle feathers coming through. Its massive size isn’t really conveyed well by the picture.

Another pigeon. This diminutive bird looks good for yet another 1st cycle Thayer’s Gull. This bird is overall very pale

This bird, even though it is facing again and doesn’t show its profile very well, has a blocky head and a honking bill. A good candidate for a 1st cycle Glaucous-winged Gull, but there are some dark streaks in the primaries, which makes it Olympic.

This 1st cycle bird was really white. The bill color is wrong for a pure Glaucous Gull as it would have to be nicely split pink-black. The bill size is unfortunately too large to consider Iceland/Kumlien’s. The tertials of 1st cycle Iceland/Kumlien’s Gulls are usually nicely patterned which is also not the case here. Just doesn’t look like your typical Glaucous-winged Gull. On Glaucous x Glaucous-winged hybrids, the bill is usually bicolored, but the border between the pink and black bill is ill-defined. Could this be a Glaucous x Glaucous-winged Gull with an all black bill? The bird’s size was maybe a little smaller than a pure Glaucous-winged which might support the barovianus heretage hypothesis. The bill would be ok as well. Please feel free to comment …

This Olympic Gull was perched up really close to me for a little while on the rails of one of the wooden bridges.