Posted by: PMGDD | February 18, 2016

Winter Bird List for Northumberland County Update 5

From: David McLeod []
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 2:18 AM
Subject: Winter Bird List for Northumberland County Update 5

Hi Everyone:

Since the last update when we had 64 species on the list, we have added four more species to bring the total to 68 (list attached), which ties last year’s record 68 with 11 days still remaining to set a new one.

The four new species are: Pine Siskin reported by Mike and Rachel Hovey on Jan. 10 from the Mullin Stream Road and then photographed by Anne Assaff (photo attached) at Barnaby on Feb. 4; Red-bellied Woodpecker, a male photographed by Laura Comeau at her feeder in Derby on Dec. 26, 2015 (photo attached); Hoary Redpoll female photographed by Aldo Dorio at Comeau Settlement on Feb. 8, 2016 (photo attached); Snowy Owl photographed by Mario Mazerolle at Escuminac on Feb. 4, 2016 (photo attached).

I’ve also attached another photo of the Red-bellied Woodpecker taken by Laura on Jan. 14, 2016, that shows the red on the back of the neck (nape) extending onto the crown characteristic of the male, while the red on the female is restricted to the nape only.

The Snowy Owl photo by Mario at Escuminac with the extensive black markings that can be seen on the crown and wings, plus the dark barring on the underside (front facing the camera), are typical for a first-year female.

It’s usually difficult to separate a Common Redpoll from a Hoary Redpoll without paying close attention to details. The Hoary Redpoll in Aldo’s photo is a female because it lacks the rosy wash of a male

(what looks like pinkish edging I think is a “fringing” artifact of the photo; the same pink fringing can be seen on the twigs above and below the bird).

UnfortunateIy, you can’t see the unstreaked, white rump on the individual in the photo, typical of a Hoary Redpoll. The streaking on the female is more prominent than for the male, plus it’s a bit blotchier-looking and not so distinctly continuous as for the Common Redpoll female. There also seems to be more white on the greater coverts (wider lower wing bar) and secondaries below them (next to the sky in photo) than for the Common as mentioned by Sibley. To me, the paleness of the head suggests the Greenland or Hornemann’s population, rather than the browner look of the head of the female Southern population of the Hoary Redpoll. The black bib also looks a little smaller than would be the case for the Common Redpoll, but it’s hard to say if the bill is any stubbier than a Common’s since it’s foreshortened because of the angle of the shot. I should also add that the edges of the rear scapulars above the lower wing bar are paler, the undertail coverts look to be unstreaked, plus the

pale back of the neck, and overall whitishness distinguish this bird from a Common Redpoll female.

Here’s a link to a photo by Michael Butler showing all 4 subspecies of redpoll in one frame, with comments by David Sibley: (I think Aldo’s shot looks most like the Hornemann’s subspecies of Hoary in Butler’s photo)

Link to Sibley on various Common vs Hoary characters:

There are quite a few species still needed that have been on previous winter lists, including Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Pheasant, Spruce Grouse, Great Horned Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, Black-backed Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and White-winged Crossbill. There’s also the chance of other rarities showing up.

Thanks for the high level of participation and enthusiasm shown for this project by so many. Special thanks to Laura Comeau and Mario Mazerolle for permission to used their photos of the Red-bellied Woodpecker and Snowy Owl.


2015_16 Winter Bird List for Northumberland Co., Update 5, Feb 17, 2016.docx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: