Date: 10/3/18 10:14 am
From: Derek Hill <derekthehill...>
Subject: [cobirds] Re: Possible Gray-cheeked Thrush at First Creek
This photo looks OK for Hermit Thrush. Thrushes can be tough, considering
their similar plumage and tendencies to stay hidden in the shadowy
thickets. Keep in mind we also can potentially have migrants of unusual
subspecies - dark Veery, russet-backed Swainson's, etc., which could make
things more challenging. We used to get hundreds of Swainson's Thrushes in
spring and fall migration back in NCTX, with Gray-cheeked being outnumbered
probably 50:1 or 100:1. Gray-cheeked, after seeing enough, become
pretty distinctive in the different appearance of the face. Gray-cheeked
typically doesn't really have an "eye-ring" per se, but more of a lack of
eyering. Let me put it this way, a lack of pale orbital ring in the
frontal half, and a semblance of an eyering on the rear half, being
pronounced as a pale 'teardrop' behind the eye - think Cordilleran/PacSlope
Flycatcher, but less pronounced. Hermit Thrush seems to be somewhat
in between Swainson's (usually buffy complete eyering) and Gray-cheeked
(incomplete, teardrop to the rear) with Hermit being a simple eyering, like
in this photo. Oft times Hermit would throw a wrench in the gears because
of it's 'middle of the road' facial pattern - but time-of-year, and of
course a view of the rusty tail would typically solve that. Now Bicknell's
Thrush.... good luck with that one.
Derek Hill

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