Date: 9/7/17 5:38 pm
From: Lee Schoenewe <lschoe...>
Subject: [ia-bird] Black Rail lifer.....not!
On Labor Day I posted adding the Black Rail to my life list and my Dickinson
County list. Today I am officially rescinding both of those designations.
Although I am one of the last people on earth who is not on Bookface, I am
privy to the photos Joe took and posted of what I now believe is the same
dark rail I had a brief encounter with that day. Thank goodness for
talented photographers and the evidence for further review their efforts
provide. Good learning occurs for the curious and open-minded among us. I
now know much more about Black Rail than I ever did and one day I will
indeed find one most likely by hearing it. Reading from my Bent series
books is always enlightening and the entries for rails were quite
entertaining. At least we now have photos instead of lead shot for the
study of birds.

I still do not know what the bird is that Joe photographed. The bird I saw
did not have the size or beak of an immature (dark) Virginia Rail so that
suggestion does not hold water for me. A melanistic Sora is my best guess
with the white streaking instead of speckling on the back but my problem
there is that the wings in the photos are not as long as I expect them to be
for a Sora. A melanistic Yellow Rail would, I believe, still have white
patches on the trailing edge of the wings so although the size, shape and
wings would all be good that is out, too. In my search for discovery the
best match I came up with was an Australian Spotted Crake! But, I am not
going to count it as that either!

I will be documenting and am confident about the immature light phase
Ferruginous Hawk, a beautiful bird. It is #301 for me for Dickinson County
and that is a very respectable number. May all of you see a bird that you
need to research and learn more about to be certain of your ID!

Lee A. Schoenewe


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