Date: 4/1/21 9:13 pm From: Kevin Lucas <vikingcove...> Subject: [Tweeters] April Fool's Day birds -- for real, and an eBird help request.
Today I was treated with several April Fool's Day birds in the lower Yakima Valley. The first was a Eurasian Green-winged Teal with the boldest white facial markings I've seen on a Green-winged Teal. I didn't see the horizontal white line on its sides until I reviewed my photos. It April-fooled me into thinking it didn't have any white side marks.
With American vs Eurasian Green-winged Teal, I see lots of eBird "complete" checklists here that list only Green-winged Teal (American). I can only identify drake (male) Green-winged Teal to American vs Eurasian vs American x Eurasian. Is there some trick that experts are using, other than assumption, to distinguish female Green-winged Teal here to be American and not Eurasian? Even when female Green-winged Teal flush and show their speculums, I think it would be tough to make the distinction on every hen based on field observation. I enter drakes as Green-winged Teal (American), and hens as simply Green-winged Teal, choosing accuracy over precision lumping. Perhaps there's a hen Green-winged Teal field mark I'm missing.
The second treat today was a drake Blue-winged Teal. I watched him fly across in front of me and didn't even think to try for a photo until he'd flown out of view, when I realized my report would be disbelieved by the usual suspects. But I'd gotten a great view, and that's what it's about for me. It's a bit early for Blue-winged Teal here. My wife & I had seen a couple of Blue-winged Teal drakes on a Solstice bird count near Toppenish Creek in December some years back, but our sighting was dismissed by the local experts -- portending a pattern of such disbelief. Fortunately today, I got another sighting of a drake Blue-winged Teal, probably the same individual, and had capable cameras ready. He gave me plenty of time to admire him in the scope too.
The third treat today was a Western Sandpiper in a flock of forty-two Dunlin with a Least Sandpiper. The Western Sandpiper is a bit early, and is flagged by eBird. The Dunlin aren't early. I've found them here in winter. But forty-two set off the eBird alarm. Anyway it was great to watch the dun ones pretty close in great light on a balmy day, and to keep seeing and hearing the two peeps here and there among them.
Today I tried using an eBird link I'd created a few years ago. It would give me a list of the "earliest arrival dates" for each species in the county. I know that didn't show sightings not entered, nor reports not "confirmed", and it showed some "confirmed" reports should not be, but it gave me an idea if something I saw was off the charts. The bar chart doesn't cut it for this for me. Can anyone tell me how to navigate to such an arrivals report on eBird now?
This is the bookmarked link I'd saved, that no longer works. It's a "retired tool" not an April Fool's joke per-se, but it's got me fooled: