[CT Birds] Sunrise Birding Walk - SISP - 2 Dickcissels +

streatham2003 at aol.com streatham2003 at aol.com
Sun Oct 4 17:54:26 EDT 2009


Hi All,

A very good mornings birding at Sherwood Island State Park this morning. Highlight was obviously the two Dickcissels seen in the weedy, brush dump area behind the East Beach field. At one point they sat and posed for views and photographs in the same binocular/camera view. Anyway I'll try to post pictures later on my blog as I'd be interested on peoples thoughts on the age/sex of these birds. Is it me or are the illustrations in the field guides not that satisfying? I have Sibley and Nat Geo as my main references and the illustration of non-breeding birds seem to me confusing at best. One bird was a first winter for sure. The first winter female in the Sibley seems way too drab and heavily streaked to my eye than the bird appears in the field but the Nat Geo shows the male as having a quite buffy/brown wash to it's breast - not the soft yellow wash of the bird in the field. The adult bird we saw looks like most illustrations of breeding females however it showed a distincty black malar stripe etc as I recall (which sibley shows but Nat Geo illustrates as a thin brown malar). I don't think of the many birds I have seen at Allen's I have seen a Dickcissel with the fairly strong black breast plated look of the Nat Geo's winter adult male - so of the many I have seen have they all been females? It seems so unlikely. Anyway I'll stick them up later and people can have a look and see what they think. 

Apart from the Dickcissels we had one White-crowned Sparrow, one Lincoln's, six Nelson's Sparrows (have they officially dropped the sharp-tailed bit yet?), 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a flyover adult Bald Eagle at tree-top height. The only other birds of interest were a petrochelidon swallow which came over - looking overhead against a dark sky and in foggy/hazy conditions I'd still say the throat was too dark looking for Cave - have any been reported north yet? The other interesting bird was a Yellow Warbler that was incredibly pale - I imagine that it was a first fall female of the amnicola subspecies but illustration wise it almost had more in common with the Peterson's Warblers illustration of "Golden" Yellow Warbler. Incredibly pale - for a nono-second it almost had me thinking Virginia Warbler. Would have liked pictures just to have a record of the bird but it disappeared and we got caught up in the Dickcissel show. 

Luke Tiller, Wilton
www.underclearskies.com



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