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VTBIRD  August 2012

VTBIRD August 2012

Subject:

Re: Possible MacGillivray's Warbler at Dead Creek

From:

Fred and Chris Pratt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:43:46 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)

The comments of Scott Morrical and Bryan Pfeiffer reflect exactly my 
concerns previously stated regarding the configuration of the eye ring 
(eye crescents?) of the bird in the two photos. I agree absolutely with 
Scott that a MacGillivray's will show heavy and well-defined eye 
crescents that are clearly visible in the field. If that had been the 
case, it is unlikely the observers would have initially thought the bird 
was a Nashville. And, interestingly, the two photos give the same 
impression (of a nearly complete eye ring). It is true that when the 
photos are blown up (which I was able to do with Ted Murin's help), the 
interrupted eye ring takes on the appearance of crescents - but the 
excellent photos of the McGill Bird Observatory posted to VTBIRD of an 
after-hatch-year female Mourning (and also of a second-year female 
Mourning) show birds with a whitish throat and an eye ring that could 
easily be described as crescents. I will leave it to others to wonder 
whether blowing up photos can be misleading, but, in any case, I see too 
much similarity to a young female Mourning to allow, as of now, the 
conclusion that the bird at Dead Creek was Vermont's first confirmed 
MacGillivray's Warbler.

Frederick Pratt

On 8/21/2012 02:12, Scott Morrical wrote:
> Ok, I will start by saying that I have a lot of experience with MacGillivray's Warbler from my years of birding out west.  I think this is a very interesting bird, but based on the two photos that were posted, I am not convinced that it is a MacGillivray's. I am leaning toward ID-ing it as an immature Mourning Warbler.  Here's why:  (1) The tail projection beyond the undertail coverts is much too short.  In the first photo the tail length appears consistent with Mourning and could even be consistent with Connecticut. I have never seen a short-tailed MacGillivray's in the field (when I could get a good look at the tail, that is!).  (2) Bona fide MacGillivray's have two heavy white eye crescents, above and below the eye, that are very well defined.  The pattern on this bird as seen in the two photos is different-- it looks more like an interrupted eye ring that converges in front and in back of the eye more than I have seen in MacGillivray's. Indeed  it looks like the eye ring might continue very faintly around the eye.  This is a relatively bold pattern for a Mourning Warbler, but not inconsistent with reports of some strongly marked immatures of this species.  (3) The whitish throat and color separation on the breast can be marks for MacGillivray's, but cannot stand alone without other consistent field marks.  Also it is possible that the photographs overestimate the whiteness of the throat depending on exposure and lighting.
>
> Obviously I did not see this bird in the field and others did.  I have only seen these two photos and so it is possible that I am missing important clues that would be more evident in the field.  I am not absolutely ruling out MacGillivray's, but I think that immature Mourning Warbler is a better overall fit to the data that I have seen.  But let the discussion continue;  Others may have different impressions/insights!
>
> Scott Morrical,
> South Burlington
> <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> On Aug 20, 2012, at 3:19 PM, Bryan Pfeiffer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Greetings, VTBIRDers:
>>
>> Sorry to be late to the party, but one other thing to consider on the Mourning/MacGillivray's challenge is call note. It's fairly distinctive in the two species. Mourning issues an odd, flat, almost scratchy "chit" or "chet" note; MacGillivray's offers a short, sharp "tik" note. Not as easy as it may seem in writing, but it's something to consider if the bird resurfaces. Also note that hatch-year Mourning Warblers and even some female after-hatch-year birds can show narrow eye-arcs. But this bird, with its whitish throat and thicker eye arcs, does look pretty good for MacGillivray's. I don't like the tail proportions at all for MacGillivray's, but I'm less familiar with that as a field mark.
>>
>> Best,
>> Bryan Pfeif
>> -- 
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> Birding: http://www.VermontBirdTours.com
>> Blogging: http://www.DailyWing.net
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>

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