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Fwd: [CB] RE: [nwcalbird] Re: [CALBIRDS] Red-legged Kittiwake-Del Norte County

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  • Steve Rovell
    Rob asked this to be forwarded. ... Steve Rovell vagrant@redshift.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 11, 2003
      Rob asked this to be forwarded.

      Begin forwarded message:

      > From: MigratoriusFwlr@...
      > Date: Mon Mar 10, 2003 10:49:38 PM US/Pacific
      > To: smca@... ("Sean")
      > Cc: jmorlan@..., feignervogel@...,
      >   nwcalbird@yahoogroups.com, countybirders@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [CB] RE: [nwcalbird] Re: [CALBIRDS] Red-legged Kittiwake-Del
      > Norte County
      > Sean and others, Sorry for the cross posting.    (This is somewhat
      > of a lengthy message so bear with me).It is now apparent that I have
      > made a mistake in aging this Kittiwake. After looking at some other
      > sources I, and Brooke Mcdonnel, both came up with the conclusion,
      > (independently from one another), that this bird is a 2nd
      > winter/winter adult bird. So sorry about the mistake.  A boo-boo that
      > should have been apparent with the features that were presented on
      >  this bird but excitement and nervousness of finding such a
      > mega-rarity overrode my thought process. Rookie move anybody? Here's
      > why I now think that this bird was a 2nd winter/winter adult:
      > 1st point: bill color- I am bringing up this point 1st since this is
      > the feature that was brought into question by Sean Mcallister. The
      > bird definitely had and all yellow bill, which according to Harrison's
      > seabirds, and  the North American Bird (reference set?), points
      > towards 2nd winter/winter adult. But, Sibley's illustration has a 1st
      > summer bird with an all yellow bill with a black tip? The Nat. Geo 4th
      > ed. illustrates a bird with a all yellow bill? P.J. Grant states that
      > the yellow bill is aquired by 1st summer plumage. Interesting indeed.
      > I smell an identification paper brewing. Just to state again this bird
      > had an all yellow bill.
      > 2nd point: leg color- The bird that I saw had bright red legs. It was
      > the "coral" color that Sibley calls it. Brooke had a different opinion
      > as far as this is concerned, thinking it was more "reddish". But she
      > also admitted that I have better eyes then here and people do perceive
      > colors differently. Correct me if I am wrong but I think that with the
      > combination of red legs and an all yellow bill there is no question to
      > the identification of the bird. But I am not basing the i.d. only on
      > these 2 features. That would not be good birding skills put to work
      > for such a mega-rarity. Also, just a note on leg color for
      > Black-legged Kittiwakes- the best source I found on this topic was in
      > P.J. Grants book. He stated that 1st winter Black-leggeds can
      > sometimes have flesh to orange-flesh and rarely bright pink or
      > orange-red legs. Harrison's book states that some BLKIs  can have
      > reddish legs but no age was given. Sibley states that some BLKIs
      > (especially 1st year birds) can have pink, yellow, and even orange-red
      > legs. So I must pose a question: What is the exact idea behind the
      > range of coloration of legs of BLKI and is that rare feature only on
      > 1st year birds?  There was a paper published in British Birds in 1959
      > by a person by the name of J.C. Coulson that I think can shed some
      > light on this topic. The title of the paper was "The Plumage and Leg
      > Colour of the Kittiwake and Comments On the Non-breeding Population".
      > 52: 189-196. I tried to find it here at Humboldt State but there
      > records only go back to the 60's. If somebody has better access to
      > this paper can somebody check it out and post their findings.
      > Other features: bill length: the bird definitely had a shorter bill
      > than neighboring Black-legged Kittiwakes. This was apparent 300 meters
      > away looking through my Kowa 82 mm scope at 60x. Also the bill
      > appeared to, me at least, not having as long of a decurved culmen as
      > the Black-legged Kittiwakes that is was associated with. It also
      > seemed to have a more rounded, blunt- shaped tip. This feature of bill
      > length was one that Brooke said she definitely noticed. Some of the
      >  sources that I consulted also noted that the depth of the bill should
      > be a little bit thicker. This I did not notice. Brooke, who went to
      > Humboldt State University, where we both attend, did numerous
      > measurements on the bills of numerous specimens of Black-legged
      > Kittiwakes (adults and immatures) and 3 specimens of Red-legged
      > Kittiwake (all adults ) and noted that there was a strong difference
      > in the depth of the bill with the Red-leggeds all having thicker
      > bills. Another note on bill length difference. Most of the kittiwakes
      > that I got to compare the Red-leggeds bill to were adult birds.
      > American Birds species accounts stated that there were culmen
      > measurments taken of breeding Red-legged/Black-legged Kittiwakes on
      > the Pribilofs and Bouldin island and Red-legged max=32.5 mm and
      > min=22.6 while Black-legged had a max=45.5 mm and a min of 33.5 mm.
      > Since this was during the breeding season I assume that these were all
      > adult birds that were measured.
      > Head shape and coloration: The bird, in relation to the other birds,
      > had a somewhat different shaped head with a somewhat steeper forehead
      > and flatter crown. The size of the bill also gave the impression of a
      > smaller headed bird. The head was white with a grey ,smudgy, ear spot,
      > and a greyish nape which turned into a darker grey  half collar on the
      > back of the neck.  These features were subtle but evident on the bird
      > when next to the Black-leggeds. To me there was some difference in
      > coloration of the spot and collar in relation to the Black-leggeds. I
      > think, though, that if this bird was alone this feature would not have
      > much validity since there would be nothing to compare it to.
      > Mantle color: The bird had a slightly darker mantle (1 to 2 shades). I
      > saw the bird at all angles and with the overcast skies this feature
      > did not seem to change with the birds movement. Of course if it was
      > seen alone I would think that this point would lose its validity
      > pretty fast.
      > Leg length: In some of the sources (Sibley illustrates it well) it was
      > stated that Red-legged Kittiwakes have shorter legs than Black-legged
      > Kittiwakes. This feature was one that I unfortunaetly spent little
      > time with although a few times I had the impression that the birds
      > legs were indeed shorter than the neighboring Black-leggeds.
      > Overall the bird seemed to be slightly smaller than the Black-legged
      > Kittiwakes.  Conclusion: I believe that this is indeed a Red-legged
      > Kittiwake that was in 2nd winter/winter adult due to the combination
      > of both bill color, length and shape; shape of the head; leg
      > coloration and length, overall size and color of the mantle. If there
      > are some skeptics out there, which there should be, please feel free
      > to e-mail me privately.
      > Just  a note to others today: I haven't heard if anybody had
      > successfully seen the bird today so I assume not. Also Elias Elias put
      > a message on th North western Cal. bird box  stating that he did see a
      > Black-legged kittiwake with some red tags (bands?) on its legs and had
      > a dark carpal bar on its wing. This was definitely not what we saw,
      > (just for those skeptics out there). Anyways, I am beat from studying
      > up on this bird and need to get some actual school stuff done. If
      > anybody wants to discuss this bird with me feel free to e-mail me
      > privately. I would love to hear other peoples ideas and comments. Take
      > care and good luck to those who look for the bird.
      > Oh, one more question.... What was the ages of the 2 accepted records
      > for California and the 1 for Nevada? Joe you probably know this one. I
      > know that there is a record for Washington also (which Brooke was
      > lucky enough to see) which was of an adult bird.
      > Rob Fowler
      > P.S. Can somebody post this to Calbirds I am still having problems
      > with it. Thanks in advance.
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      Steve Rovell
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