[CT Birds] Mystery Kingbird

Clay Taylor ctaylor at att.net
Sat Jan 12 08:01:51 EST 2008


OK, that obviously changes things.    Any chance to get a better scan?   I'm
intrigued.

Clay

BTW - this and the Warbler exercise show the pitfalls of relying exclusively
on a photographic ID with no sighting information, especially when the photo
generates more questions than it answers.   Of course, there are plenty of
examples of observations gone awry, too......

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Szantyr" <birddog55 at Charter.net>
To: "Clay Taylor" <ctaylor at att.net>; <james.bair at snet.net>; "CT Birding
Listserv" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 1:16 AM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Mystery Kingbird


> While I know the answer to this quiz, I just want to say that the bird was
> in fact yellow on the body.
>
> Mark
> Mark S.Szantyr
> 80 Bicknell Road
> Apt. 9
> Ashford, CT 06278
> USA
>
> Birddog55 at Charter.net
> 860-487-9766
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Clay Taylor" <ctaylor at att.net>
> To: <james.bair at snet.net>; "CT Birding Listserv"
> <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 11:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Mystery Kingbird
>
>
> > All -
> >
> > I'm writing this from my hotel room in GA, so all I have for reference
are
> > my photos on the laptop, my Nat Geo guide, and whatever I can find
online.
> >
> > OK, with the Warbler Fiasco in mind, can we see ALL the images, not just
> > the
> > sitting shot and cropped wing shot?   How were the slides scanned /
duped,
> > and are the tones and color balance similar to the original slides?
> >
> > As for the sighting, WHY was it "unusual"?    What caused you to
question
> > it?
> >
> > I have a real problem with Cassin's Kingbird - the leaves are showing
some
> > color against the sky, so the image is not totally blown out by the sky
> > color, but I don't see a hint of yellow on the undersides.   This bird
is
> > showing a "capped" look, and the dark chest is not a function of
> > shadowing,
> > as the belly and UTCs are definitely lighter, yet are more shielded from
> > the
> > sun.
> >
> > I'm actually looking at Cassin's K photos that I shot in CA a month ago,
> > and
> > on one pose where the bird's head is in shadow, the white of the throat
> > actually extends up toward the eye and base of the bill, while the
cheeks
> > are as dark as the side of the head.   In the Hammo bird, the throat is
> > not
> > white enough against the breast / head color, it doesn't extend up
toward
> > the bill, and the cheeks and nape appear to be lighter than the cap,
while
> > Cassin's has a head, nape, and cheeks that are all close in tone.
> >
> > OK, on to Western K.   Again, where's the yellow?    Western also should
> > show a post-ocular line that is darker than the crown, nape, etc., and
the
> > whitish of the throat goes past the eye.  This bird does not.
> >
> > The Nat Geo guide shows that there can be a diffuse breast band on
Eastern
> > Kingbird, and a quick Google Images search of EAKI finds plenty of
> > examples
> > of this - some breast bands appearing pretty smudgy.   That plus the
dark
> > cap and lighter nape makes the bird appear pretty good for Eastern, with
> > the
> > apparent lack of the signature white terminal band on the tail to
explain.
> > Mark (or any of the banders out there), when do Kingbirds molt their
> > flight
> > feathers?    I photographed a Gray Kingbird in TX in November, and it
was
> > just starting to molt both its primaries and tail feathers.  With the
> > August
> > 19 date, this might be a bird that has worn most of the weaker white
> > feather
> > barbs off the end of its tail (kind of like a Cooper's Hawk in spring
vs.
> > fall) but has yet to molt its flight feathers for the fall (wish I could
> > see
> > the entire wing shot, but all the feathers appear to be the same age
> > class).
> >
> > The other mostly black & white kingbirds (Loggerhead and Thick-billed)
do
> > not seem to have the diffuse breast band, and the bills are far too long
/
> > fat for the Hammo bird.
> >
> > A Fork-tailed Flycatcher with short tail feathers has a phoebe-sized
body,
> > so I won't even go there.
> >
> > I vote Eastern Kingbird.
> >
> > Clay Taylor
> > Moodus, CT
> > ctaylor at att.net
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
> > From: <james.bair at snet.net>
> > To: "CT Birding Listserv" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> > Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 8:11 PM
> > Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Mystery Kingbird
> >
> >
> >> Dear Brian:
> >>
> >> You wrote:
> >> I was going through some old slides when I happened upon one that
created
> > quite a stir back in 1998.
> >>
> >> Jay Kaplan and myself were leading a bird walk at Hammonasett SP on
> >> August
> > 19, 1998.  Our group was enjoying a couple of Philadelphia Vireos in
this
> > large isolated tree.  When all of a sudden this unusual looking kingbird
> > flew in.  I managed to get a couple shots before it was never seen
again.
> > Now, before I tell you the conclusion of the story I would like your
> > thoughts on this bird.  I was never truly satisfied with the
> > identification.
> >>
> >> If you are familiar with this photo please don't give it away ~ just
yet.
> >>
> >> Click on the link below to see the pic.
> >>
> >> http://members.cox.net/snaketat/kingbird%20web.jpg
> >>
> >> Have Fun!
> >>
> >> This was fun! It has enough features to make one think it was a
Cassin's
> > Kingbird--darker breast, white on tip of tail and fine white lines on
> > wings.
> > However, the photo is fuzzy enough and apparently backlit by the sun,
that
> > my inclination is to call it a Western. We get them in CT; the first
> > Western
> > I ever saw was a fall bird with no white on the outer tail. The darker
> > breast could be attributed simply to the shadow since the sun is clearly
> > behind it. The realtively dark underwing coverts are clearly attributed
to
> > the position of the sun as all the yellow-bellied kingbirds have yellow
> > coverts.
> >>
> >> That position of the sun could also account for the whitish appearance
of
> > the tail feathers in the photo as a refraction through the tips or edges
> > of
> > the feathers.
> >>
> >> Photos don't always have the complete answer. Last summer there was a
> > photo in this forum we discussed as a possible Mourning Warbler or
> > Yellowthroat. The photo by itself could have been of either one, but the
> > jizz of each of those two birds is so different, that the field
> > observation
> > would be critical. In the case of the warblers, I would ask, "Did it
look
> > and act like a green wren [Yellowthroat] or a green thrush [Mourning
> > Warbler}?" Similarly, my question would be to you and Jay: did you see
the
> > white band on the end of the tail or was that only visible in the photo?
> > If
> > the white band at the end of the tail was clearly part of the tail and
not
> > just a trick of the lighting, then perhaps it was a Cassin's. I might
> > still
> > be leaning to Western...or did anyone consider a Western x Eastern
hybrid?
> > The time of year would certainly be appropriate for any of the western
> > kingbirds to be a vagrant here.
> >>
> >> In the meantime, I will wait till the next issue comes out with the
> >> puzzle
> > solution...
> >>
> >> Jim Bair
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association
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> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association
(COA)
> > for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut.
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> >
>
>





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