Date: 9/28/19 10:10 am
From: Alex Lamoreaux <aslamoreaux...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Those fall kingbirds
Well the Oregon Pelagic Tours guides made those reports not me, but every
Sooty was scrutinized by those on board as sightings allowed. I
photographed 60+ individuals and turned up no hidden Short-tails post-trip
(indeed many are found in photo review after these west coast pelagics).

More time at sea is your best bet for learning to pick up on the subtle
differences, although again the two species can be much more similar than
birders (and field guides) would like to acknowledge.

If future trips want to be more conservative with distant birds and enter
them as Sooty/Short-tailed, I’m all for it. But again, this petty case
study you’ve chosen is not quite relatable to the Tropical/Couch’s
situation as the two shearwaters can be IDed confidently by fieldmarks, and
no vocal confirmation is required.

Alex

On Sat, Sep 28, 2019 at 10:50 AM Conor Scotland <scotland.conor...>
wrote:

> Now seems like as good a time as any to ask for seabirding advice. Alex, I
> see you have reported in eBird several encounters with Sooty Shearwaters
> this month. Imagine my surprise then as I do not see any accompanying field
> notes making the tricky distinction between that species and Short-tailed
> Shearwater. But surely, as someone with such outrageously conservative
> reporting criteria, you did indeed eliminate short-tailed for each of these
> cases (without stooping to using seasonality and geographic distribution
> like the rest of us). As I can only assume many of these birds were seen
> briefly in flight at hundreds of meters, I’d be keen to get any tips on an
> identification that I admittedly find challenging.
>
> Thanks,
> Conor Scotland
> NW Portland
>
> On Sat, Sep 28, 2019 at 7:20 AM Josh Spice <joshspice...> wrote:
>
>> First and foremost, my sincere apologies to all for stepping out of line
>> with name-calling. That was unnecessary and unacceptable. I seem to have
>> read the two emails differently and was offended at the tone. That did not
>> warrant name-calling. Swallowing my own pride here and my sincere apologies
>> to all. A valuable lesson learned in my first experience (and year) with
>> listservs.
>>
>> Off less importance, a second thought I had in reading some great replies
>> by experienced kingbird-ers is if the the main difference between the two
>> species is voice, could the 'two species' just be a matter of splitting
>> instead of lumping? It'd be fun to hear more from those who know more about
>> this.
>>
>> Again, I stepped out of line with my name-calling and I apologize to
>> everyone for that. Let's all keep this a non-attacking place, hopefully
>> always from the start of every email thread.
>>
>> Good birding to all and thanks for everyone's contributions. I, for one,
>> have been grateful for this resource and the people that make it up.
>>
>> Josh
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 22:00 Wayne Weber <contopus...> wrote:
>>
>>> Alex,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> You are probably correct that non-vocalizing Tropical and Couch’s
>>> Kingbirds cannot usually be distinguished from each other under field
>>> conditions. However, geographic distribution is a major factor that should
>>> be considered in making bird identifications. Tropical Kingbird is a
>>> species which has a well-documented pattern of fall occurrence along the
>>> West Coast. There are records north to Alaska, and there are scores of
>>> sightings every fall in coastal BC, Washington, Oregon, and California. On
>>> the other hand, there is only one confirmed record of Couch’s Kingbird on
>>> the west coast (in 1998 in Orange County, California). Given these facts,
>>> it is a certainty that fewer than 1%, if any, of the Tropical/Couch’s type
>>> Kingbirds seen in Oregon are actually Couch’s. Observers should feel safe
>>> in reporting such birds as Tropical Kingbirds, with very little likelihood
>>> of error.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Your statement that non-vocalizing birds MUST be recorded as
>>> Tropical/Couch’s is ludicrous. Using your standards, we would have to
>>> report all non-vocalizing meadowlarks seen in Oregon as Eastern/Western,
>>> because these two are very difficult to separate.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Please do not bother to send any more of your dogmatic and
>>> bluntly-worded messages about bird identification to OBOL. Many of us have
>>> been birding much longer than you, are well aware of the various pitfalls
>>> in bird identification, and do not need to be lectured by you on how to
>>> report things in eBird. Thank you.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Wayne C. Weber
>>>
>>> Delta, BC, Canada
>>>
>>> <contopus...>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> *From:* <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>] *On
>>> Behalf Of *Alex Lamoreaux
>>> *Sent:* Friday, September 27, 2019 4:38 PM
>>> *To:* Oregon Birders OnLine
>>> *Subject:* [obol] Re: Those fall kingbirds
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Similar to my rant on crossbills yesterday, without vocalizations
>>> Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds are not identifiable under field conditions.
>>> Some variation in shape of the P4 on adult males, and other subtle in-hand
>>> features can separate them but otherwise they must be recorded as
>>> Tropical/Couch’s until vocals can confirm species. Current eBird records of
>>> this Newport bird make no mention of calls and the records should be
>>> changed to the dreaded ‘slash’.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Tropical has shown a solid pattern of northward movement up the west
>>> coast in fall in recent years (and up the east coast to a lesser extent,
>>> with overwintering in Florida etc) but Couch’s Kingbird has also greatly
>>> increased its US population in the last 10 years and should be expected as
>>> a fall vagrant throughout the country. 4+ have been confirmed by vocals in
>>> the west, and many more in the northeast and Great Lakes.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Alex
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Alex Lamoreaux
>>>
>>> 717-943-7086
>>>
>>> Naturalist and Senior Leader/North America Specialist for Wildside
>>> Nature Tours
>>> https://wildsidenaturetours.com/team-member/alex-lamoreaux/
>>>
>> --
Alex Lamoreaux
717-943-7086
Naturalist and Senior Leader/North America Specialist for Wildside Nature
Tours
https://wildsidenaturetours.com/team-member/alex-lamoreaux/

 
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