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Laguna Grande Park, Seaside, Monterey, CA, Oriole, 8/29/21 (1 Viewer)

I led a Stanislaus Audubon field trip to Monterey County today, our first stop was Laguna Grande Park in Seaside. We walked along the creek, from the lake toward Fremont Blvd. When we got to the end of the trail it was extremely birdy! We found this oriole there. I thought it looked very small, there were a few House Finches just behind it and it did not look very much larger than they did. I have only ever seen two Orchard Orioles in my life and both of them were males, one in full alternate plumage (50' up in a Paulownia Tree, in Merced County), and one molting into alternate (in San Francisco, it was at eye-level, but it was very flighty and I never got a good look at the bill), and I have never seen a female Orchard. Based on my impression of size, I am thinking that this might be a female Orchard Oriole, but I cannot rule out Hooded based on my limited knowledge of Orchard. Does anyone have an opinion on this bird, perhaps someone who has a good deal of experience with Orchard Oriole?

Thanks in advance for any help,
A Terrible Human Being (AKA Ralph)


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I do not have a great deal of experience with Orchard Oriole, but were it not for your assessment of the size of the bird I would be inclined to call it a Hooded Oriole, based on the long curved bill and dull colors.
Thanks, that's not what I was hoping to hear, but what I was expecting. It looked so small ITF (in the field), but I know how hard that can be to judge, and whenb looking through my bins the bill did not look like it had that much curve, either.

Yesterday seemed to be a pretty good day for me to mis-ID birds, though o_O. We saw a female Laz Bunting in the same spot we saw the oriole and not much later we saw what I thought was another female Laz, but this bird looked a little bigger, with a larger bill. The bill on the second bird was horn-colored, not two-toned black-and-gray, and the wingbars were white, w/o a trace of buff/cinnamon, though. So I said it was probably another female Laz, well, when I got home and looked at the photos it definitely had a very gross beak (pun intended), and a touch of cinnamon on the median coverts, and there were two Blue Grosbeaks reported there today. Then, after we spent some time looking for a previously reported Pacific Golden-Plover at Asilomar State Beach, and not finding it, we went to Moss Landing where I thought I had found a Semipalmated Sandpiper (there was one reported just a few miles away a couple days earlier), through bins and scope, it appeared that this bird had absolutely no rufous on the scaps or crown, and the bill looked perfect for Semi. When I got home last night and looked at the pics, though, it was definately a Western!
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