Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bird Photo Quiz 2

Well, given the response to my last photo quiz, which, if you haven't seen my comment, was a first year male Common Eider, I'm going to try to do a weekly photo quiz, if I can take enough photos to keep up.

This week's bird should be a bit easier than last week's, perhaps too easy (though I thought that about the eider too, so I don't know...). Photo taken in December in the Northeast somewhere. As always, leave your answer in the comments. 
Oh, and to add a comment if you don't have a google account, just select Name/URL. You don't need to put in a URL, though you can. 

12 comments:

  1. Wow, this one is tough, the angle of the picture makes it hard, I guess that's the point though :) I'm going to have to go with Cedar Waxwing?

    James

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  2. Hmmm... I'm going with Juvi. Golden-crowned Kinglit, though it would be missing the wingbars and any black on the head. Tricky ID.

    Brendan

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  3. Again, the quiz proves tougher than I thought it would be. I guess when you know what the bird is, you look at it differently. So far, none of the guesses are right. Keep guessing though.

    Eamon

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  4. Dark-eyed junco? I do have another guess, but we will try that one for now.

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  5. Yeah, this ones really difficult. All the the birds I can think of would not be around in december. Was this at a sewage plant? If not, even though I'm pretty sure I'm wrong- Maybe Goldfinch?

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  6. So, far, still no correct guesses, so I'm going to give some hints.

    First, no, it is not a sewage plant, but treat it as if it were- the date tells you nothing.

    Second, look at the wings and back. Look at what? Exactly.

    Third, that berry in front of the face did a great job in obscuring field marks, but it couldn't totally cover them.

    Fourth, for New York/Connecticut birders, what are those shapes in the background?

    And lastly, though it isn't really a hint, you can always click on the photo to enlarge it by a lot, if you didn't already know that.

    Good Birding, and guessing,
    Eamon

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  7. OHHHH.... Yellow-breasted Chat!

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  8. Nice, yes. It is the Yellow-breasted Chat that was seen in Central Park for a couple days in December. I will post a full answer with the id process later.

    Brendan- did you use any of the hints, or did you just look closer and realize the id?

    Eamon

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  9. Well the hint about the plain back really helped, and because you must be referring to a popular location, I put two and two together- which bird has a plain olive back and was hanging out in a popular location?

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  10. The biggest field mark here is actually the absence of any field marks- the back, nape, crown, tail, and wings are all unmarked, and appear to be brownish or greenish. The lack of markings, especially on the wings, eliminate the vast majority of songbirds, including all sparrows and almost all warblers. We are left with less than a dozen possibilities based only on that one point.

    Most of these can be ruled out fairly easily- phoebe would have some marking on the wings, and a different posture, vireos would show a supercillium and a yellowish vent, titmouse would be a lighter gray, as would gnatcatcher (which is also completely different in size and shape), hermit thrush would have a rusty tail, waxwings would have white lines on the edge of the wings, and junco would be much darker and have a pale, not dark, bill.

    This leaves us with only a few birds- robin, a couple of thrushes, and yellow-breasted chat. Looking closer at the berry blocking much of the head, we can see that the area under the bill, what seems to be the throat, is actually bright yellow. This seals the id-- the bird is a Yellow-breasted Chat, the bird that was found in Central Park around the same time the Varied Thrush first appeared there, in early December. This explains my fourth clue- if you look in the background, you can actually see the buildings that surround the park.

    Good guesses everyone, and congrats to Brendan for getting it right. Next quiz will go up early next week, probably.

    Eamon

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