[CT Birds] Probable Dark Morph Broad-winged Hawk

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Fri Nov 18 08:45:05 EST 2011

Hey Luke & others,

"I don't think the ARCC ever look at morphs or subspecies which I kind
of think is a shame in some scenarios..."

For the record, the ARCC welcomes written and photographic
documentation of any rare subspecies or morph. Though I am not sure of
our exact bylaws regarding these things off the top of my head, it is
*not* true that we do not ever review them. Recently reviewed records
of "Black" Brant serve as an example. It's actually incredibly rare
that we ever receive any reports of rare subspecies or morphs of
otherwise common species. This may be due to either lack of observer
interest or unawareness that we do review such things...or both. I,
for one, highly encourage the review of rare subspecies/morphs, and
I'm sure that most ARCC members feel the same way. Perhaps this is
something the committee can more officially and publicly address in
the near future.

Thanks for bringing it up Luke.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

On Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 4:12 PM,  <streatham2003 at aol.com> wrote:
> Hi Scott, Bill et al
> An interesting report. Ligouri suggests strongly that shape is the key factor in identifying dark morph hawks as plumage can be so similar, so that certainly counts as a positive in your sighting. If lighting was anything like it was here this morning (all day in fact) it's not surprising you didn't pick up details on the underwing which would support your ID but also suggests that you need to be careful with other plumage details that were observed. Lighting is an important factor for all hawkwatchers to consider - it's amazing what harsh light or late day/early morning light will do to the appearance of a bird.
> Weighing against the sighting of a dark morph Broadie would be that they are exceptionally uncommon here in the east as you probably know. I think Quaker has maybe one record and even Braddock Bay where they have 30k Broadies on average a season has only a handful of records (we didn't observe one in the circa 70k birds I counted this spring). I would also think the date would count against the likelihood of seeing a Broadie of any morph as well, but it has been a weird year. I'm wondering why you haven't ruled out something more prosaic such as a dark morph Rough-legged (the 'common' dark morph buteo out east) seeing as you went through other possibilities - though not always illustrated that way in standard guides their tale patterns can often have the same black and white banding pattern that an adult dark Broad-winged would show and descibed in your report. Nicely illustrated in this shot of a bird taken by Bob Marcott in the Braddock area: http://php.democratandchronicle.com/blog/birds/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/roughlegdarkdoug.jpg
> Anyway an interesting siting - I don't think the ARCC ever look at morphs or subspecies which I kind of think is a shame in some scenarios so the final decision rests with you guys.
> Luke Tiller Greenwich
> www.underclearskies.com
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