Date: 1/10/19 2:29 pm
From: Daniel Leger <dleger1...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...>
Subject: [NEBirds] BOL Mountain Bluebird: maybe a Western?
Hi folks,

I went out to Branched Oak Lake this morning hoping to see the Mountain Bluebird most recently reported by Larry Einemann. After 4+ hours birding over the west end of the lake, I finally got a look, although from too far away to be satisfactory. It flew off and I followed, eventually getting good looks and fairly good photos. My conclusion at the time was an adult female Mountain Bluebird. It showed a pale rufous wash to the breast, which is consistent with female Mountain. However, when I got home and looked at my photos in more detail, I'm torn. No, not Eastern Bluebird. But maybe Western. To my non-expert eyes, it looks to be at least as good a match to what Sibley calls "Drab adult female" Western as to anything Mountain. I'm looking at tail projection, blue on the nape, and other details. Yes, I know Western is a very long shot, but so was Fulvous Whistling-duck a few months ago! I'll post a few photos on eBird shortly; that should get them riled up!

If anyone wants to give chase, I found it around the place Larry described. Area 1 upslope a bit from the kiddie playground area. It was with about 10 Eastern Bluebirds in a loose flock, moving from place to place. Several of them even went down to the ice just east of the picnic shelter to drink from a puddle that had formed next to a branch laying on the ice. I hope someone can find it and get some more photos. Good luck.

Dan Leger


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