After reviewing your photos and input and after receiving an email from my
step-brother Jeff in Peru (who looked at my photos and told me he thought
they were both males), I am more than happy to agree with you. Jay, your
experience is vast. And, my step-brother's experience is vast as well
(Jeff's been birding since the age of 14 and is now in his late 60's, and
has nearly 1,300 species on his 2018 *YEAR* list and over 3,000 species on
his* life *list).
I really appreciate your input and that of others with much more experience
than I have and have updated my report to reflect that they are both males.
On Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 9:03 PM Jay Withgott <withgott...> wrote:
> Hi Nels, and all —
> My feeling is that both the bluebirds are males. One is perhaps slightly
> grayer-headed than the other, but neither of them seemed gray enough to be
> a female, based on my recollection of many Eastern Bluebirds over the years
> from back East, as well as online photos. I’m certainly willing to be
> proved wrong, but they both seemed quite blue to me in the field. FWIW,
> some of my own photos are here:
> Fascinating that for a first-ever West-coast record of this species, two
> individuals would show up rather than one … and then on top of that,
> interesting that they’d be of the same sex.
> I’m more agnostic on whether they look to be the eastern subspecies (S. s.
> sialis) or the southwestern subspecies (S. s. fulva) of Eastern Bluebird.
> The eastern one is by far what we’d expect based on geography, migratory
> tendency, and sheer abundance, but I don’t feel we should simply assume it.
> Some photos, like Nels’s, appear to show non-orange mottled-looking chins,
> which would point toward the eastern subspecies. But truth be told, the
> dark lighting and the spitting rain this morning made for poor conditions
> for photography, so nailing down the subspecies may be easier if folks can
> get crisper shots in nice sunlight in future days if the birds stick around.
> Jay Withgott
> - *From*: Nels Nelson <nelsnelson7@xxxxxxxxx>
> - *To*: OBOL <OBOL@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> - *Date*: Mon, 26 Nov 2018 16:09:58 -0800
> Based on my photos, I'm thinking the bird showing the most white on the
> throat (and especially my photo showing the dark lateral stripe on the
> white throat) indicates the female of the pair. I do believe the other
> bird is a male, based on the darker, more extensive rufous on the throat
> and sides of neck on the male. This being a life bird for me, I've based
> my ID on photos and other field ID info. in Sibley's 2nd Ed. Guide.
> Nels Nelson