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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 00:51   #1
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mountain bluebird or indigo bunting. . . in connecticut, USA

hi all,
i am a baffled beginner birder

ok, so i was mountain biking here in connecticut yesterday, and i saw a blue bird that i don't recall seeing before. it was maybe about 6" tall, standing in some dry grass all by itself, on the edge of a wooded area that opened onto a reservoir. the bird had smooth, solid coloring: a blue body, grey belly, possibly a bit o' gray toward the bottom of the wings.

i checked my sibley's AND some bird ID websites, but am still baffled. the illustration that looks most like my bird IS the mountain blue bird, except i feel my bird may have been a tinge darker blue, and my bird doesn't exactly fit the habitat as described for the mountain blue bird. the indigo bunting habitat may be more in line with what i saw, plus the illustration (and moreso, some photos i saw) of the indigo bunting, represent a much chubbier bird than the one i saw.

i guess i'm leaning toward the mountain bluebird, but i am skeptical to call it. . . seeing that it is an uncommon in connecticut, especially given our altitude.
help!! . . . any thoughts?
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 01:28   #2
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How about an Eastern Bluebird? They are more orange on the throat and breast, but it might not have been obvious in the lighting? Or perhaps a juvenile? (I'm not sure what their coloring is). Bluebirds often perch on posts and fences in a somewhat conspicuous location as they are fly catching.
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 02:48   #3
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Mountain Bluebird would not just be uncommon in Connecticut -- it would be accidental, and even more unusual at this time of year. I agree with Gretchen that Eastern Bluebird sounds most likely. A female Eastern Bluebird can be pretty close to the coloration of a Mountain Bluebird. Compare this photo of a female Eastern:

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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 14:56   #4
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hi all! i also ran this past an experienced birding friend of mine who also lives in ct, and he too thinks it's the indigo bunting. but i have to say, i am more frustrated than ever! the more i look at photos of the indigo bunting, the more convinced i am that it is NOT my bird. i know what i saw, and the indigo bunting is chubbier, fluffier, smaller and has more color variations than my bird.

my bird was taller and leaner. .. even the feet (err....or whatever) and beak were thinner than the indigo bunting. my bird was more streamlined with a more upright posture than an indigo bunting. his colors were smooth and solid. . . mostly a med blue with a lil' med grey on tummy and wing bottoms.

wow. how frustrating! i know what i saw. ha! :)
maybe it's something else??? i didn't see any matches in the sibley's or on the online bird identifiers.

.....any other thoughts?
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 23:18   #5
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Any chance of going back to the spot with a camera? If it is a rarity that is your only chance of true confirmation.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 16:41   #6
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I agree, get a camera to that spot. It would be really something if it actually is a Mountain Bluebird. Your written description seems to fit but a picture would really help.
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