Date: 1/10/19 11:06 pm From: Noah Arthur <semirelicta...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> Subject: Re: [NEBirds] BOL Mountain Bluebird: maybe a Western?
I just looked at today’s photos of the BOL bluebird, and it looks fine for a Mountain to me. (Probably a 1st-winter male.) Western Bluebird is common where I’m from in coastal California, and this bird would immediately stick out as a Mountain Bluebird if seen there. It’s too pale sky-blue for any plumage of Western, and lacks the distinct deep rust breast of a male Western. A female Western would be grayer (less blue) overall, and would still have more rust on the breast.
Boni’s photos of the BOL bird show brownish feathers admixed with the blue not only on the breast (where expected for Western or hybrid), but also on top of the head and elsewhere, so I think these are just remnants of a brown immature plumage.
On Thursday, January 10, 2019, 7:39:35 PM CST, Ross Silcock <silcock...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> wrote:
Noah (and others),
Both checklists (Leger, Edwards) with photos are on eBird.
From: <NEBirds...> <NEBirds...>
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:34 PM
To: Daniel Leger <dleger1...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...>
Subject: Re: [NEBirds] BOL Mountain Bluebird: maybe a Western?
Have you posted the photos on ebird yet? I am very interested to see what you got, and I’ll probably go out there tomorrow to try to find the bird...
On Thursday, January 10, 2019, 4:29:12 PM CST, Daniel <Legerdleger1...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> wrote:
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.