Requesting help with Bird IDs


Alex Loucks
 

Grr. Despite my careful efforts, gmail still screwed up my picture order:

3339 - Lincoln Sparrow?
3710 - Red-shouldered Hawk?
3840, 3849, 3847 - Savannah Sparrow?
4267, 4271 - Mallard hybrid?
4287, 4301 - Great-tailed Grackle?


On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 11:21 PM Alex Loucks <admail1776@...> wrote:
Hi all,

Excited to join the birding world. I'm new to the activity, but have thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with the community thus far.

In the midst of the pandemic, it's difficult to ID birds since I can't walk around with experts every weekend and absorb, so I'm hoping I can post some photos here and get some confirmations on ID (also shout out to Dawn Lemoine, Whitney Grover, and Keith Maley for their zoom classes!). In particular, I would love to hear the rationale for any IDs relative to similar species, or tips on what field marks to look for when out and about, or how my provided rationale was incorrect.

Below I've put my guess and the location/timing, # photos in the set, my rationale, and then what Merlin BirdID suggested it was (used after I came up with my own rationale).

(Oh, and by all means tell me if this is an inappropriate place to ask for IDs!)

Thank you!!!
Alex Loucks

1) Lincoln Sparrow? - Mission Bay, Jan '21 -- 1 photo
My rationale: This sparrow was lighter than the surrounding sparrows that I would classify as song sparrows. The streaking is thin and sharp-edged, not smudgy. It seems like the coloring on the breast is "buffier" than a song sparrow. He ran off before I could get better lighting.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests it's a Lincoln Sparrow (or one of the sparrows not in the US West Coast pack, which seems unlikely)

2) Red-shouldered Hawk? Sacramento NWR, Dec '20 (technically not SF, but I'm hoping you guys can still help me out!) - 1 photo
My rationale: Based on breast pattern/color and tail, I would think Cooper's, Sharp-shinned, or Red-shouldered. Size I would think Red-shouldered. The black tail bands also seem to be too thick to be Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. And there's no dark "cap" on the head. I don't think red-tailed bc of the breast patterning.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Red-shouldered Hawk or a RTH

3) Savannah Sparrow? - Heron's Head, Jan '21 -- 3 photos
My rationale: Pretty much the yellow coloring around the eye
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Savannah or Vesper Sparrow (I don't think it's the Vesper)

4) Mallard Hybrid? - Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Looks like a mallard, swims with mallards, acts like a mallard.... but the beak is like that of a scaup, light "blue" with a black tip! The tip doesn't seem to be as extensive as that of a wigeon. The white ring around the neck also seems less marked than the neighboring mallards. But he doesn't look like a scaup or a wigeon to me.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Mallard, Greater Scaup, American Wigeon

5) Great-tailed Grackle? Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Watched them for awhile; male is black-ish in color, not multi-colored like a common grackle.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Great-tailed Grackle

Sadly I appear to have photographed every sparrow at Vista Canal except for the swamp sparrow.... maybe next time...




Alex Loucks
 

Hi all,
 
Excited to join the birding world. I'm new to the activity, but have thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with the community thus far.  (Having a terrible time navigating groups.io though! Sorry if you've gotten random posts that make no sense!)
 
In the midst of the pandemic, it's difficult to ID birds since I can't walk around with experts every weekend and absorb, so I'm hoping I can post some photos here and get some confirmations on ID (also shout out to Dawn Lemoine, Whitney Grover, and Keith Maley for their zoom classes!). In particular, I would love to hear the rationale for any IDs relative to similar species, or tips on what field marks to look for when out and about, or how my provided rationale was incorrect.
 
Below I've put my guess and the location/timing, # photos in the set, my rationale, and then what Merlin BirdID suggested it was (used after I came up with my own rationale).
 
(Oh, and by all means tell me if this is an inappropriate place to ask for IDs!)
 
Thank you!!!
Alex Loucks
 
1) Lincoln Sparrow? - Mission Bay, Jan '21 -- 1 photo
My rationale: This sparrow was lighter than the surrounding sparrows that I would classify as song sparrows. The streaking is thin and sharp-edged, not smudgy. It seems like the coloring on the breast is "buffier" than a song sparrow. He ran off before I could get better lighting.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests it's a Lincoln Sparrow (or one of the sparrows not in the US West Coast pack, which seems unlikely)
 
2) Red-shouldered Hawk? Sacramento NWR, Dec '20 (technically not SF, but I'm hoping you guys can still help me out!) - 1 photo
My rationale: Based on breast pattern/color and tail, I would think Cooper's, Sharp-shinned, or Red-shouldered. Size I would think Red-shouldered. The black tail bands also seem to be too thick to be Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. And there's no dark "cap" on the head. I don't think red-tailed bc of the breast patterning.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Red-shouldered Hawk or a RTH
 
3) Savannah Sparrow? - Heron's Head, Jan '21 -- 3 photos
 
 
My rationale: Pretty much the yellow coloring around the eye
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Savannah or Vesper Sparrow (I don't think it's the Vesper)
 
4) Mallard Hybrid? - Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Looks like a mallard, swims with mallards, acts like a mallard.... but the beak is like that of a scaup, light "blue" with a black tip! The tip doesn't seem to be as extensive as that of a wigeon. The white ring around the neck also seems less marked than the neighboring mallards. But he doesn't look like a scaup or a wigeon to me.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Mallard, Greater Scaup, American Wigeon
 
5) Great-tailed Grackle? Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Watched them for awhile; male is black-ish in color, not multi-colored like a common grackle.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Great-tailed Grackle
 
Sadly I appear to have photographed every sparrow at Vista Canal except for the swamp sparrow.... maybe next time...

(In case my photo order gets screwed up on attachment...)

3339 - Lincoln Sparrow?
3710 - Red-shouldered Hawk?
3840, 3849, 3847 - Savannah Sparrow?
4267, 4271 - Mallard hybrid?
4287, 4301 - Great-tailed Grackle?


tracy_farrington
 

Alex,
I.D.’s look good to me. And I think you’re getting a very good start by applying an analytical approach. Welcome to the rich and rewarding world of birding!
Best,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek


On Jan 12, 2021, at 8:22 AM, Alex Loucks <admail1776@...> wrote:

Hi all,
 
Excited to join the birding world. I'm new to the activity, but have thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with the community thus far.  (Having a terrible time navigating groups.io though! Sorry if you've gotten random posts that make no sense!)
 
In the midst of the pandemic, it's difficult to ID birds since I can't walk around with experts every weekend and absorb, so I'm hoping I can post some photos here and get some confirmations on ID (also shout out to Dawn Lemoine, Whitney Grover, and Keith Maley for their zoom classes!). In particular, I would love to hear the rationale for any IDs relative to similar species, or tips on what field marks to look for when out and about, or how my provided rationale was incorrect.
 
Below I've put my guess and the location/timing, # photos in the set, my rationale, and then what Merlin BirdID suggested it was (used after I came up with my own rationale).
 
(Oh, and by all means tell me if this is an inappropriate place to ask for IDs!)
 
Thank you!!!
Alex Loucks
 
1) Lincoln Sparrow? - Mission Bay, Jan '21 -- 1 photo
My rationale: This sparrow was lighter than the surrounding sparrows that I would classify as song sparrows. The streaking is thin and sharp-edged, not smudgy. It seems like the coloring on the breast is "buffier" than a song sparrow. He ran off before I could get better lighting.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests it's a Lincoln Sparrow (or one of the sparrows not in the US West Coast pack, which seems unlikely)
 
2) Red-shouldered Hawk? Sacramento NWR, Dec '20 (technically not SF, but I'm hoping you guys can still help me out!) - 1 photo
My rationale: Based on breast pattern/color and tail, I would think Cooper's, Sharp-shinned, or Red-shouldered. Size I would think Red-shouldered. The black tail bands also seem to be too thick to be Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. And there's no dark "cap" on the head. I don't think red-tailed bc of the breast patterning.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Red-shouldered Hawk or a RTH
 
3) Savannah Sparrow? - Heron's Head, Jan '21 -- 3 photos
 
 
My rationale: Pretty much the yellow coloring around the eye
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Savannah or Vesper Sparrow (I don't think it's the Vesper)
 
4) Mallard Hybrid? - Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Looks like a mallard, swims with mallards, acts like a mallard.... but the beak is like that of a scaup, light "blue" with a black tip! The tip doesn't seem to be as extensive as that of a wigeon. The white ring around the neck also seems less marked than the neighboring mallards. But he doesn't look like a scaup or a wigeon to me.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Mallard, Greater Scaup, American Wigeon
 
5) Great-tailed Grackle? Lake Merced, Jan '21 -- 2 photos
My rationale: Watched them for awhile; male is black-ish in color, not multi-colored like a common grackle.
Merlin BirdID app "Photo ID": Suggests Great-tailed Grackle
 
Sadly I appear to have photographed every sparrow at Vista Canal except for the swamp sparrow.... maybe next time...

(In case my photo order gets screwed up on attachment...)

3339 - Lincoln Sparrow?
3710 - Red-shouldered Hawk?
3840, 3849, 3847 - Savannah Sparrow?
4267, 4271 - Mallard hybrid?
4287, 4301 - Great-tailed Grackle?
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