Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: , , , , ,

[Mystery birds] American White Pelican, sometimes known as the Rough-billed Pelican due to the structure that develops on the upper mandible of breeding adults, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, photographed at Smith Point, Texas. Numerous Broad-winged hawks, Buteo platypterus (background) with two red-tailed hawks, Buteo jamaicensis (right of center, lower left) [I will identify these birds for you in 48 hours — If you can convince me there’s other species in this image, feel free to add your comments and supporting arguments]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 26 September 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/1250s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Can you name ALL the species in this image?

Review all mystery birds to date.

Comments

  1. #1 Nick
    October 28, 2009

    I see an American White Pelican and a whole lot of Broad-winged Hawks…

  2. #2 David
    October 28, 2009

    American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos); many Broad-winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus); probably a Cooper’s Hawk in the top left quadrant (Accipiter cooperii); but that light-colored hawk, center right, is giving me some trouble- maybe a Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)?

  3. #3 psweet
    October 30, 2009

    David, I’m not sold on the Cooper’s — looks to me like a bunch of Broad-wings, and two Red-tails. (There appears to be another one in the lower left corner). Both of them show very clean underwings, large pale windows typical of immature Red-tails, and broader secondaries than the Broad-wings.
    The two upper left birds appear to me to possibly be dark-morph Broad-wings — I know that Corpus Christi gets them every year.

  4. #4 David
    October 30, 2009

    psweet, missed the second Red-tailed… I just can’t get enough resolution on the enlargement of the photo to do any more than guess at the unusual ones: dark morph Broad-wings sounds good but then could the two “Red-wings” be light morphs instead?

  5. #5 psweet
    October 30, 2009

    Actually, the ‘light morph’ Broad-wing is the one we think of as typical. Dark-morphs are very rare in the East — they only breed in Alberta (and maybe northern B.C.). And most of these birds are clearly Broad-wings. On the other hand, a quick check of Wheeler shows some immature Broad-wings with a single dark subterminal band on the tail, similar to the one in the center. Since a Red-tail would have to be significantly higher to appear the same size as the Broad-wings, I guess maybe you’re right — unfortunately, it seems we may be down to two species, then.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.