[CT Birds] thoughts on junco
ctgregh at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 18 16:37:58 EST 2012
I was able to observe the East Shore junco on 2 different occasions and in different light and from different angles this morning. There's only about one thing I'm willing to say with a good degree of certainty - it's not a standard "Slate-colored" Junco. What it is beyond "junco" probably cannot be determined for reasons cited by Mark, not the least of which is the fact we're seeing it away from its breeding grounds, which of course are unknown to us. Mark pointed out a very salient fact - range is a key factor in identifying subspecies.
Here's what I saw. The bird seemed nicely hooded once you saw it from enough angles and the hood overall appeared a smooth pale gray. The back and flank colors seemed much less consistent depending on lighting and angle of view. The back definitely appeared brown and contrasted with the gray nape, but generally it didn't seem especially rich or to have much in the way of reddish tone.
The flanks really changed in appearance with angle and light. We first say the bird on the ground in heavy cover, facing us. From their the pinkish-buffish color at the breast side was pretty apparent, but it was hard to see farther back on the flanks. The bird moved so that we were looking at the rear flanks from the back at an angle. At that time I was convinced there really wasn't any buff there. However, it eventually flew and landed in good light, where a full profile view did show fairly wide and long pinkish-buffish sides. A photo taken then showed the same.
Looking back now I suspect that there are grayish feathers mixed into the pinksih-buffish which contribute to the mutable aspect of that area. (Mark - I believe you've drawn some conclusions in the past from a gray admixture, but I don't want to put words into your mouth).
Interesting bird that I was happy to see and perfectly comfortable leaving without a trinomial.
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