When you can't get an immediate ID on one of these perpetual puzzlers in the
field, an easy solution (unless you are really the obsessive type <g>) is to
move on to other birds and call this type of critter a "Baypoll." This
works for us when we're busy trying to catch everything in a fall wave,
count hawks, geese, etc.
If you've only got one bird, and it's one of these, then by all means study
your heart out - and of course, when you have the corpus in manus (as Ernie
did) you have ample opportunity. It's so wonderful these days to have the
kind of photography tools that permit sharing this kind of scrutiny,
although one must always use caution in interpretation of color as shown in
From: Vermont Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Fred and Chris
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 11:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] confusing Fall warbler
Well, you're right - with just these two photos a definitive answer may
not be possible. For example, I am uncomfortable pronouncing the back
streaked (and therefore a Blackpoll or a Bay-breasted) or unstreaked
(and therefore a Pine). Also, is the mantle a dark green as the top
photo suggests or almost yellow-greenish as the lower photo suggests?
The latter color might push us towards Blackpoll (though leg color isn't
as pale or as orange as one would like for Blackpoll). Finally, the
lower photo suggests a touch of buff or bay on the flank (barely
visible) which of course could close the deal for Bay-breasted.
Another interesting thing to note is the eye which seems to have
crescents rather than an eyebrow. To me this is suggestive of a Pine
If I saw this bird in the field, I am sure it would be readily
identifiable. However, if I were still on the Bird Records Committee, I
would be seeking to know how other members would respond to the
questions I have raised regarding the two photos.
I guess I think the back is streaked - and therefore not a Pine - so if
a gun were at my head, I would probably go with a bay-breast.
But who knows - maybe the poor thing is a Blackpoll! Or maybe that back
isn't streaked after all.
Ernie Buford wrote:
> Here's a Fall quiz bird for you all. I have my own guess plus an
> opinion from a member of the bird records committee, but be forewarned
> that there may not be a definitive answer. All I have at the moment
> are these two photos:
> This bird hit a window in Bristol last week and was photographed by a
> friend of mine. Which warbler is it, and why? Give it a shot.
> Ernie Buford