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  1. nartreb

    Houston Texas USA

    I'm stumped too. It's not likely you saw a whole flock of northern wheatears, or got confused by a bunch of yellow-rumped warblers or northern flickers. You're on the wrong continent for Common House Martin, and even though Cliff Swallow has a paler (but certainly not white) rump you're in...
  2. nartreb

    Houston Texas USA

    Dark-eyed junco is the first thing to come to mind - the white on the tail shows up suddenly when they fly away (they keep their tails folded the rest of the time), and it's easy to get the impression that the white is from the rump. Small, likely to be seen in flocks, mostly dark until they fly.
  3. nartreb

    Distant bird in flight - Southeastern Massachusetts

    Definitely the wrong proportions for a nighthawk. Hard to be confident in tail length for this photo but that looks like another point in favor of woodpecker. I've also been reviewing a bunch of photos and I think you're more likely to see the spread "fingers" like we do here on a woodpecker...
  4. nartreb

    Distant bird in flight - Southeastern Massachusetts

    Excellent suggestion. Narrower wing bars than mockingbird, might be a better fit.
  5. nartreb

    Distant bird in flight - Southeastern Massachusetts

    Crescents too strong for RSH. I'm on a very small screen but it looks like a Northern mockingbird from here.
  6. nartreb

    Is this a shearwater? (Capitola, Monterey Bay, California)

    Shearwaters are tubenoses, so if you get a good look a the beak you'll notice the nostrils are quite different from those of gulls. Other differences are hard to generalize - there's a range of species with somewhat different shapes and colors. You have to compare each local species (and age...
  7. nartreb

    Duck and Blackbird? in Santa Cruz, California ID help needed

    In this case, it's a mallard, Anas platyrhynchos. There are also domesticated Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata), and the two species can hybridize, but yours is a mallard. (Ducks of some further species are sometimes kept in parks and gardens, and eider may be semi-domesticated for easy harvest...
  8. nartreb

    North Carolina, USA - longshot (L. Waterthrush?)

    I've been looking at these photos for days on a smaller screen. Now that I have a better view, I will say that while the photos leave plenty of room for doubt, wood thrush looks like the best candidate. Thrasher seems less likely. Besides the spots-not-streaks issue, we should be able to see...
  9. nartreb

    White Ducks- Dodder River in Ireland

    They are indeed a domestic breed of mallard. How long ago they, or their ancestors, escaped from a farm is not obvious. But given that both have perfectly white feathers (a recessive trait), the odds are good that they or their parents were farm-bred, unless there is a colony of white feral...
  10. nartreb

    ID please. USA Hawk

    Almost certainly red-tailed hawk. I don't see any indication to inform us about it's age.
  11. nartreb

    Another Hawk, Toronto. ON

    Got to be broad-wing. Not red-tailed (tail pattern, lack of clear patagial bars), not red-shouldered (tail pattern, lack of "windows" on wings), definitely not rough-legged (tail pattern)
  12. nartreb

    Sharp-shinned Hawk? - Winnipeg, Manitoba

    You're right, I left out an adverb: that source says that in Coop's the rectrix 6 is (usually) "obviously" shorter than r1 (whereas any difference in sharpie is never obvious). Looking at the "top" (bird's leftmost) feather in the photo, compared to the feather it overlaps, I think the...
  13. nartreb

    Sharp-shinned Hawk? - Winnipeg, Manitoba

    I think we're talking about the same contrast; if the nape is pale it helps the cap to stand out. The nape does look pale in the photo but it's not nearly as clear - cut as I'd like. Sharp-shin does frequently show some contrast between cap and neck, it's a question of how sharp and strong the...
  14. nartreb

    Sharp-shinned Hawk? - Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Both species have legs that are skinniest when viewed from the front. The legs are practically identical when viewed from the side, and extremely hard to judge when viewed from the front, too. I see Butty's point about a pretty strong cap contrast which should mean Coop, but I can't get past...
  15. nartreb

    Qingdao, Shandong, China

    Bird has a grey cap, thin dark beak, dark eye with a short black eye-stripe, pale grey chest, and pale belly with hints of olive drab or a mixture of yellowish and greyish tones. Wings seem to be darker/browner than the belly or chest. Leg color uncertain but apparently more grey than...
  16. nartreb

    Two waders, South Ontario

    First one gives a fine impression of a bad photo of spotted sandpiper (nonbreeding plumage), which is practically the default for that location in the summer. Unfortunately, this time of year, lots more stuff may be migrating through. There's solitary of course, but there's also Least and...
  17. nartreb

    Pocket field guide for Ohio song birds

    You're not going to find a printed guide for birds of just Ohio (though you might find a list on Wikipedia). You want a guide to birds of Eastern North America. (Ohio gets the same birds as the rest of the eastern US, minus some subtropical and pelagic species.) I'm partial to the Peterson...
  18. nartreb

    Bats or birds? August around 7:30 pm old building in St. Louis, Missouri

    The concern with bats would be rabies. While the chances of any bat having rabies are extremely low, they're the leading vector for human rabies in the US (which means they're responsible for about one human case a year). The problem is that rabies can be transmitted through a tiny bite that...
  19. nartreb

    Some kind of wren? - Eastern Ontario, Canada

    Wet, rumpled birds are tough. The capped appearance is too strong for House wren, but Marsh wren should have a whiter eye-line. Could it be a Winter Wren? (Should show more barring, especially on the belly, but maybe that can be explained by wetness.)
  20. nartreb

    Espanola, Ontario, Canada - This orange head does not come up in any searches...September 6, 2021

    I didn't think of that! I'm convinced. Pale flank, pale undertail, thick lower wing bar.
  21. nartreb

    Espanola, Ontario, Canada - This orange head does not come up in any searches...September 6, 2021

    Off the top of my head, Baltimore oriole female. Need to double-check if any other orioles are possible in Ontario, or if immature male is a possiblity. edit: yep, you can forget about the othe orange-ish orioles, they're too far away. It's a Baltimore, though it's not easy to tell a female...
  22. nartreb

    On the beach in Plymouth, Massachusetts Sept 3. Its feathers were whiter then they appear in shadow. Tern? Thank you.

    It's a tern all right. I think reddish legs plus dark wingtips mean it's a Common Tern.
  23. nartreb

    Which hummingbird? Central Texas

    Just going by the illustrations in my books, but I'd agree. Also, your exact location may help. The two species' ranges overlap at about the longitude of San Antonio, but by the time you get to, say, Eagle Pass, black-chinned is much more likely.
  24. nartreb

    4 Herring Gulls and 1 Ring-Billed Gull? Niagara, Ontario

    Far-left bird looks good for Herring breeding adult (don't ask me about things like Thayer's, but that should be out of season anyway.) Not certain about the bird behind it - it seems smaller and thinner-billed?? Pass on the immatures. Far-right bird has pink legs, can't be an adult...
  25. nartreb

    roadkilled hawk – Oklahoma, USA

    Young red-tail indeed.
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