Date: 9/29/17 6:22 pm
From: Glenn d'Entremont <gdentremont1...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Probable Black-headed Grosbeak-Quincy Point Park, 9/29/17
I am reported what I believe is a Black-headed Grosbeak which flew over Quincy Pont Park calling this morning about 7:00ish. I heard an unfamiliar call note and this bird flew out. My eyes as they are these days unless perfect lighting leave details at distance difficult. What I could see was a chunky bird with noticeable white patch, not wing bar and the rest silhouette. It did land at the end of the runway (west) with a very bright background. It appeared to have a whitish eye line with dark face. Fortunately it flew east and landed with better background. As it dropped showing better contrast the back was dark (brownish?). Now I could see orangey underparts which reminded me of young northern wheatear, which this bird was not. It looked like a grosbeak shape with white eyeline and dark cheek. It then flew a third time north and over the runway and right at me and over me. The orange color was over the underparts brighter on the chest and white wing patch on eac!
h wing and could be seen from the underside as windows. The shape of this patch was roundish, oval. It appeared to be the base of the primaries.

Every time this bird flew, and some of the time while on the ground, this bird called. I have no recollection of this sound. It was not the sneaker-on-the-gym floor sound of Rose-breasted. I originally incorrectly IDd this bird as a potential Bullock's (the 'churt' note was similar) but realized the shape and placement of the wing patch was inconsistent, not to mention the whitish eyeline, dark back and dark cheek(duh).

I have just researched Black-headed Grosbeak vs Rose-breasted and the "chit" note of the Black-headed is consistent with what this bird was calling. Also, I have never seen this color on Rose-breasted and usually the color on Rose-breasted is in the form of the "V" of the rose color, although females does show a wash, but not this shade or intensity or extensive.

It is interesting there are few birds with white ovals on the outer part of the wing. Most birds have wing-bars which are on the coverts. I think this is an optical illusion as the bases of the primaries actually form an arc, but maybe too quick for our eyes to see or else the wing is not completely opened to show the arc on each stroke.

Not sure this will pass muster for the MARC, but there it is for all. This bird continued south over the trees and out of sight. I recently saw another bird heading south and over trees and pronounced it gone only to have it return for others later, so make your own decision.


Glenn d'Entremont: <gdentremont1...> Stoughton, MA
Join us on Facebook!