Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another prob Colo albino hummingbird (Phantom Canyon Ranch)

Photo ©Carolina Kyvik Ruiz This little beauty was seen from Sept 2 through 6 on the Phantom Canyon Ranch, NW of Livermore, CO. The top photo,courtesy of Carolina Kyvik Ruiz, clearly shows a red eye and white plumage plus when further enlarged the feet appear to be whitish. (Click on pic to enlarge it for better viewing)
The bottom pic courtesy of Robin Mitchell shows a pinkish bill. All of these characteristics are those found in albino hummingbirds as I note in my post below about a probable albino hummingbird in the Salida area. Since I have been told that the Salida area probable albino may have returned on several days after it was first seen, this may be a second hummingbird seen in Colorado in the past several weeks that appears to meet the criteria for albino. Thanks to Douglas Murray for providing the opportunity to share this white beauty here. There is a photo of a white hummer found in New Jersey with a link to a video of it on this Bird and Blooms magazine blog site. SeEtta

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ted Eubanks takes on birders

I found this in a recent publicly viewable blog by Ted Eubanks for the American Birding Association (his blog is quite lengthy as is some repartee that a very conservative ABA member enters into with Ted, all readable at the link).  Ted always has a way with words and well-honed ability to get under peoples' skin:

"Bird conservation is fundamentally about politics, and politics is fundamentally about body count. Yet birding is cursed by being a closed community, a clique where members are more interested in impressing each other than in explaining the wonders of birds to the world outside. How else can you explain big years, big days, life lists, tics, twitches, the minute differences between the Empidonax flycatchers, and the like?

. . .  But to protect birds and birding from these recent Teaper assaults, birders and birding will have no choice but to engage the public. I have seen little evidence of a willingness to do this in the past. I see little reason to be confident of a change in the future."

Prob hybrid dark ibis in Colo

Since the small flock of Plegadis ibis were moving around as they were feeding in the flooded agricultural field, I cannot say if these are from different or from the same bird. In the lower pic there is an additional Glossy Ibis field mark showing that does not show in other pics. In his book Advanced Birding Kaufman states, " the shape of the pale border on Glossy Ibis is quite consistent. The upper border widens between the eye and the bill . . . ." (p.40) Kaufman also notes that Glossy Ibis "retain at least a hint of this pale edging all year" and each of these pics in this post and in the previous post show pale edging which looks slightly bluish to me. There are other field marks such as very small size difference and leg color that seem less reliable for separating these two species in winter. (click on each pic to further enlarge) I looked on the internet for pics of White-faced Ibis in Basic plumage and this webpage (JohnAvise, CA) can be enlarged nicely to show the difference to my pics. SeEtta (Note: to reduce issues for id, only editing was cropping to enlarge ibis pics , no color corrections or lighting changes,etc--just hard daylight at 1:30 pm on sunny day)
Post note: H. David Pratt has reviewed photos and says he believes it is probably a hybrid GlossyXWhite-facied. Dr. Pratt, who is the Research Curator of Birds at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and who has who provided species accounts of both of these in the The Audubon Society master guide to birding, is a respected contributor to Bird Id Frontiers. In his email to me Dr Pratt said he was traveling and would send me his detailed analysis when he returns home next week. I will ask his permission to share his remarks.

Probable Glossy Ibis near Florence,CO-now prob hybrid GlossyXWhite-facedIbis

Having just read a big discussion about identifying Glossy Ibis in non-breeding plumage (actually the facial skin is the issue most discussed) as the field marks are substantially less obvious in field after breeding season. Both of these pics are of the same bird, top just further enlarging it to show more detail. I photographed this along with several other Plegadis ibis in a flooded field near Florence, CO earlier this week. As can be seen in both pics this bird has a dark brown iris which though a field mark for Glossy Ibis is also seen in juvenile White-faced Ibis. (Birds of North AmericaBNA online states, "immature White-faced until at least first winter has gray-brown iris") However, this bird appears to be an adult in Basic plumage per BNA and article on Plegadis ibis published in Sora by Patten and Lasley which states, "It is straightforward to distinguish between a Plegadiis in Juvenal plumage and one in basic plumage. A. uniform muddy-brown head and neck lacking white streaking and the dull brown underparts characterize Juvena plumage(Kaufman1990). Juveniles exibit a variable amount of white splotching on the throat. . . ." Also apparent in both pics is that this bird has pale bluish/grayish facial skin which is consistent with Glossy Ibis in winter per BNA which further clarifies winter plumage identification as follows: "Facial skin on White-faced Ibis becomes dull grayish-pink during nonbreeding season. Pale blue-gray skin bordering facial skin o
n Glossy Ibis may be confused with white feathering of White-faced, but note blue-gray lines of Glossy do not extend behind eye." (found in 'Distinguishing Characteristics section). More pics and discussion coming in next post. SeEtta (Note: to reduce issues for id, only editing was cropping to enlarge ibis pics , no color corrections or lighting changes,etc--just hard daylight at 1:30 pm on sunny day) Post note: H. Douglas Pratt has reviewed photos and says he believes it is probably a hybrid GlossyXWhite-facied. Dr. Pratt, who is the Research Curator of Birds at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and who has who provided species accounts of both of these in the The Audubon Society master guide to birding, is a respected contributor to Bird Id Frontiers. In his email to me Dr Pratt said he was traveling and would send me his detailed analysis when he returns home next week. I will ask his permission to share his remarks.