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Another stupid "mystery" post

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Monday, December 26, 2011 

I didn't feel like finishing a post I started on accipiters, so I thought I'd post these photos since it takes no effort. The bird on the left is a Harrier, but can you say what age it is? It was photographed in November in Utah (horrible photo but...).

The bird on the right was photographed in Utah the other day...any guesses? I saw 3 out at Farmington Bay that day.

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Blogger Stephanie Greenwood said...

With the photo on the right, what are we looking at in those plants? Was this down on the ground? What kind of habitat are we talking...

December 27, 2011 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Looks like something disappearing into the reeds on the ground...

The actual field marks for this part of this bird aren't really illustrated in ANY field guides. It may be worth checking some pictures online by searching for species you think it may be.

Great Quiz Jerry.

December 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Bryce said...

For the mystery bird, I'm guessing Sora or Virginia Rail, leaning more towards Sora.

As for the Harrier... no black wing tips, buff and lightly streaked chest, flight feathers not particularly dark. I would say adult female. Even though the belly is not heavily streaked, I would assume the bird would be more rufous if it were a juvenile.

All conjecture and regurgitation of learned information, so I am anxious and excited to hear the consensus on these birds.

Thanks for the challenge Jerry.

December 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes, it does look like reeds on the ground...if so, I'm with Bryce, but I'm going to lean more towards Virginia Rail.

December 28, 2011 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Rueben Lebeef said...

My guesses are 2nd winter female harrier and virginia rail

December 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Yes, an adult female Harrier, and a Virginia Rail.

Although, the Harrier is impossible to age other than simply "adult"....often it is possible to tell adult females in their first adult plumage, but not this one. Hope this helps, and it is a very lightly marked one which I thought could be a tad tricky.

December 28, 2011 at 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Rueben Lebeef said...

Good test Jerry, did you ever get a clear look at any of those rails?

December 28, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Yes, the rails were walking around for nice views in and out of the phrags

December 28, 2011 at 8:31 PM  

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