Date: 10/23/18 6:03 pm From: Steve Mayo and Rebecca Horowitz via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Cave vs Cliff
Stefan and Greg are keeping honest people honest. I'd reported 8 Cave Swallows at Lighthouse on Sunday October 21. At least 6 have to go back in as Petrochelidon, sp.
Enough about honesty, let's talk accuracy. On Sunday, there were many rarities and 990 hawks, including 86 Merlins (many adults). Many of the hundreds of accipiters were beautiful adults as well. But finches comprised the most migrants. A poor, presumably low estimate of 7,000+ finches were seen over the 9 3/4 hours of coverage. For the first 4-5 hours, there were often flocks at a rate of 10-30 per minute. Composition of that number is as follows: 4500 Purple Finch, 2000 Finch, sp.(presumably Purple Finch), 100 House Finch, 500 Am Goldfinch, 44 Pine Siskin (mostly 2 afternoon flocks). Counting is problematic when one is busy trying to keep track of almost a thousand hawks of 12 species, swirling about. It was an amazing day with strong NW winds (gusts past 30 mph).
Refer to HawkCount and eBird (S49408935).
Steve Mayo Bethany
From: Gregory Hanisek via CTBirds <ctbirds...> To: CT Birds <ctbirds...> Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 10:30 AM Subject: [CT Birds] Cave vs Cliff
To emphasize the excellent points made by Stefan Martin today and yesterday, it's rather late for Cliff Swallow and somewhat early for Cave Swallow (which has been primarily a November arrival but with some recent records for late Oct). In other words either is possible, so you can't make any assumptions based on seeing the rump color. You've got to look at the underside (seeing both surfaces on flying birds isn't always easy).
On Cave Swallow you want to see the uniform buffy underparts from throat onto the breast with that color wrapping onto the "cheeks" and creating strong contrast with the dark cap. Cliff Swallow has a very dark throat and primarily white underparts. The forehead spot also is white on Cliffs we expect to see here. Also, as Stefan noted, when looking at underparts remember there are still some Barn Swallows around.
So try not to let your strong desire to see a Cave Swallow compromise the extra time it may take to confirm an ID.