Posted by: 3pomjaeger3 | 10 September 2013

10 September: Interesting birds!

cwwi-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresA bit after 3 pm, this “nighthawk” came flying by the tower from the direction of the East Motte.  I quickly grabbed my camera because it looked browner than Commons typically do and started firing away.  While I was taking pix, I realized that it wasn’t a nighthawk at all!  All photos copyright 10 September 2013 by Tony Leukering.  Click on image(s) to see larger version(s).

It was Tad Finnell’s day to count at the tower and I don’t, yet, have the day’s data.  But, I spent a bit of time with him at the end of the day and saw a few interesting birds.  The first one to really surprise me was the above Chuck-will’s-widow masquerading as a nighthawk and the second, below, was found by Tad shortly before he left for the day at 4.

selasphorus-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-01-cropscreen-lowresselasphorus-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-02-cropscreen-lowres selasphorus-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-03-cropscreen-lowres selasphorus-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-04-cropscreen-lowresThis Selasphorus hummingbird’s apparent outermost tail feather on the left side is very narrow, strongly suggesting that this is an Allen’s Hummingbird.  However, the bird is missing half its tail (best seen on the third picture) — two feathers on the left, and three on the right, so it’s difficult to assess just exactly which feather that narrow feather is.  Additionally, the bird has one rufous feather on its head in a place that seems to me to be beyond the area on the head in which Allen’s males have rufous, though I suppose that it could be right on the edge of that area.  Nancy Newfield, if you’re watching, could you weigh in?

The attempted 11 September addendum:  Nancy has responded and believes this bird to be an immature male Rufous Hummingbird.  Part of that belief depends upon that narrow feather being the actual outermost feather (r5), rather than the next feather in (r4).  Granted, there is a lot of space between that feather and the next feather present, which is definitely r2, so that narrow feather probably is r5, thus this is a Rufous Hummingbird.  However, absolute certainty will not be possible without capturing the bird and confirming (or refuting) the belief that the narrow feather is r5.  Since the bird was not present today, the hope for absolute certainty shall remain just that, a hope.  Thanks, Nancy, as always, for your expert opinion.

piwo-m-smithpoint-9-10-13-tl-1-cropscreen-lowresThough not of the rarity of Allen’s Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker is not at all common here, so I appreciated it when this male, which has been here three days, now, finally posed for photos.

Raptors counted:

  • Swallow-tailed Kite – 1
  • Mississippi Kite – 52
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 1
  • Peregrine Falcon – 1
  • Total – 55


  1. I’ll have a go at it. Female or subadult male Chuk-wills-widow based upon overall cryptic markings, lack of any white in the long tail or in the wings, suggestion of a semi collar.Massive maw/head behind a small bill. Pointed wings indicate a bird that migrates longer distances.

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