Date: 12/2/18 3:07 pm
From: Jamie Adams (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Possible Barrow's
Mr. Tove,

If you are going to disparage my attempts to identify a strange looking bird (even if you think I am wrong), at least read what I have written correctly. You have written a couple things below which lead me to believe you have not even carefully read what I wrote. First you reference a Sibley article implying I did not read it which is strange because I quoted it and linked it numerous times in my blog.

You also say something about Common having more of a third white wing patch which is precisely what I said in my blog so what are you arguing here? I clearly pointed to an article where it shows that a Common would have MORE white than a Barrow’s. The bird I photographed has mottled white on scapulars, not solid white like I would expect on a female Common Goldeneye and in fact like the bird sitting next to it which had a third Solid White patch on the scapulars.

You said the wing patterns are not a field mark, but the Canadian website I linked clearly does not agree with you. Sibley actually referenced the Canadian site.

Put yourself in my shoes for a second, I saw a female goldeneye sitting on a pond that has a yellow bill. I see it sitting next to a “normal” female Common Goldeneye and the two birds look very different. So first I look on my Sibley App and see that nowhere does it say in the description that a Common Goldeneye can have an all yellow bill. Then I see on my App that the Barrow’s has the all yellow bill as a distinguishing field mark. I personally have seen quite a few Barrow’s in the Northeast and none of them had yellow bills. Next, myself and another very competent birder google Female Goldeneye Identification and Sibley article comes up in which he says in his experience (and Shai Mitra’s) that yellow-billed female Common Goldeneyes are probably more rare than Barrow’s in the northeast. So to say I am trying to force an identification of desire is not fair. I was simply using the tools at my disposal. Not everyone is as all knowing and wise as you are. That being said I can’t remember the last time you found a rare bird in NC.. Perhaps you are dismissing everything as common. Next time you criticize something, at least do a little research and don’t misquote the person you are disparaging.

I have abandoned the report of the bird as a Barrow’s and in fact never reported it as such in eBird. It is still my opinion that the bird is some sort of hybrid as I still think it does not perfectly fit Common. That may go against your superior knowledge and some anecdotal comments on a Facebook page, but I am sticking with it.

Also, per list serv rules aren’t you supposed to write in where you are located after your name when you post? Even if you are a birding god you should try and stick to the rules.

Jamie Adams

Wilmington, NC



> On Dec 2, 2018, at 5:17 PM, Adams, Jamie <Jamie.Adams...> wrote:
>
>
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
>> From: <mtove...> <mailto:<mtove...>>
>> Date: December 2, 2018 at 3:25:26 PM EST
>> To: <carolinabirds...> <mailto:<carolinabirds...>>
>> Subject: RE: Possible Barrow's
>> Reply-To: <mtove...> <mailto:<mtove...>>
>>
>> Answer to Question # 1. YES. It’s well a known occurrence that Common Goldeneyes can have pale bills in fall. Sibley has an entire identification article on this. It’s available online. National Geographic Guide notes this as well.
>>
>> Answer to Question # 2. YES and No (because it’s NOT a field mark for Barrow’s):
>> 1. “Mottled 3’rd White Patch” on upper-wing is not evident in Jamie’s pics nor on genuine Female Barrow’s Goldeneyes swimming. I have photos of female Barrow’s that show NO white patches evident in the folded wing. More to the point. . .
>> 2. It is not a field mark. NOTE: Sibley actually illustrates Common with MORE of a third white patch on the upper-wing than Barrow’s. National Geo Guide states: “Slightly LESS white on wing coverts than Common.” (Emphasis on the word “LESS” is mine). Neither guide relies on this is a field mark at all – but if anything, less so for Barrow’s than Common.
>>
>> What both guides (and ALL guides others) do emphasize is that the only (or most) definitive field mark is what everyone has been saying all along: head shape and relative bill shape/size. In Jamie’s bird, these are solidly in the Common Goldeneye camp.
>>
>> I have literally seen hundreds of individuals of BOTH species, spanning 40 years – including both THIS year (hundreds of Barrow’s & scores of Commons in 2018 alone). Inasmuch as I wish the bird in question were a Barrow’s Goldeneye, I see nothing in the photos of Jamie’s bird that even remotely draws me toward that conclusion. Not only is the pale bill NOT a problem for Common Goldeneye (if anything, it’s the WRONG color of “yellow” for Barrow’s). Other than the pale bill as a supposed Barrow’s field mark (which it is not), everything else, in my opinion, screams Common. All the rest of this, I fear, is contorted effort to force an identification of desire rather than one of impartial logic and reason. Barrow’s Goldeneye is so rare a species in our region that there are ZERO current records. By that fact alone, the justification for such an identification should be beyond reproach; which MUST start with the correct head and bill shape. In the present bird, these are not. Nothing else really matters.
>>
>> Mike Tove
>>
>> From: <carolinabirds-request...> <mailto:<carolinabirds-request...> [mailto:<carolinabirds-request...> <mailto:<carolinabirds-request...>] On Behalf Of Christopher Hill (via carolinabirds Mailing List)
>> Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2018 11:58 AM
>> To: <badgerboy...> <mailto:<badgerboy...>
>> Cc: Carolinabirds
>> Subject: Re: Possible Barrow's
>>
>> All right, I’ll wade in again.
>>
>> On Nov 29, 2018, at 12:51 PM, <badgerboy...> <mailto:<badgerboy...> wrote:
>>
>> Just 2 questions for all:
>>
>> 1. Has anyone ever before seen, in the carolinas, a female goldeneye with an all-yellow bill?
>>
>> I have only seen maybe two or three goldeneyes total in the Carolinas. They’re very scarce in South Carolina, so this question is not really the relevant standard. What is relevant is that people who are in areas where both goldeneyes occur said (in the Facebook advanced ID group thread) that they saw Common Goldeneyes with bills like that, and that it did not look like a Barrow’s Goldeneye to them.
>>
>> 2. Does anyone have any published information refuting Jamie's info about the 3rd mottled white patch on the upper wing for Barrow's?
>>
>> Because his pictures clearly show the mottled patch.
>>
>> OK, let’s back up. Here’s what’s in Jamie’s blog at https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__photographicbirdlistomania.blogspot.com&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=gwuRzxAbtab1g17tRbdiMFngo9TZkMGB3e_Zxrv0PQ8&s=tc8N481DFfGy_WHHNqLwJQo6o1WjGgyAopFqMkL2eFI&e= <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com_-3Furl-3Dhttps-253A-252F-252Furldefense.proofpoint.com-252Fv2-252Furl-253Fu-253Dhttp-2D3A-5F-5Fphotographicbirdlistomania.blogspot.com-2526d-253DDwMGaQ-2526c-253DimBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj-5FgZ4adc-2526r-253DymRCw6Q-2DsBitug-5FrdeO1Tokz-2DI-5FSX2LQN2-5FOcvlal9U-2526m-253DKVoOs94C9jC8cYvKU9OzmXQJ-5F9KSo5CbMr7-2D1h5r1eU-2526s-253DJ4UGNOE17CEBe9V-5FaZHqtB5owSBypFNyW8kxKMwVMTM-2526e-253D-26data-3D02-257C01-257Cjamie.adams-2540quintiles.com-257C83e4ba0828c24f0b141808d65893f242-257C5989ece0f90e40bf9c791a7beccdb861-257C1-257C0-257C636793789803132846-26sdata-3Dk3P7WS0W7yziyPRYoVElWDk5mT-252Bsqw3z23qkXVjd-252FBA-253D-26reserved-3D0&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=gwuRzxAbtab1g17tRbdiMFngo9TZkMGB3e_Zxrv0PQ8&s=MeJ6cYZ-MjBLyW4ZQ1CqrUHOkYNYKs0j9o6ILyPABFA&e=>
>>
>> What I like about this ID card is more in relation to the number of white wing panels, not so much the number of feathers or the amount of white within each panel since Sibley clearly thinks it is not too important.
>>
>> For an adult female, which I am fairly sure my bird is, the middle left picture is what I was looking for in confirmation. Unfortunately yesterday I was not successful in getting an overhead shot of the wing only the under wing.
>>
>> That line there, “for an adult female, which I’m fairly sure my bird is.” I disagree. I had just played “match the picture” with the scan of the ID card that Jamie included, and based on that, not even pulling out other references, this is an immature female. Adult females of both species have two black lines across the white patch, formed by broad dark tips to the median and greater secondary coverts. The photos of the NC bird show no such lines, only the tiniest dark tip to the greaters. So this looks like an immature female, which makes the “third mottled patch” argument moot.
>>
>> And again, the two questions above pull out only the points in support of BAGO and ignore or dismiss the clear points against it. There are 7 (more like 7 1/3) white feathers in the secondary patch: Common. Just because Sibley says that is useless in the field and of limited value in photos is not reason to dismiss it. Of course on a flying bird through binocs, or in many photos, you couldn’t count feathers. In THESE photos the white feathers are clearly visible, and there are 7 or 8, depending on how you count that outermost one (there’s even a 9th with a white tip). Also on the card (don’t know how reliable this is) it says for Barrows “able to see through the nostrils.” In a near-perfectly positioned profile photo of the NC bird, you can’t see through the nostril. And in the whole collection of comparative photos, the head profiles are essentially identical. I’ve seen lots of Barrow’s females, and in my opinion the difference would be obvious if it actually were a Barrows. It’s not THAT hard. As Harry pointed out, and I just confirmed by scanning the photos quickly without focussing on the beaks, the black-and-yellow billed bird has the more “Barrows-like” head profile in about half the photos.
>>
>>
>> Thanks, Guy
>>
>> Guy McGrane, Deep Gap, NC
>>
>> Chris Hill
>> Conway, SC
>>
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