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Alvaro Jaramillo
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"I'm not a taxonomist, but I play one on TV" is what came to mind when Steve mentioned he was not a taxonomist. I think a taxonomist is one who does taxonomy, and for years Steve you have been doing this, in your field guides and books and scientific papers dealing with the relationships of birds. So out of all of the stuff I read above, this is the part that stuck out. You do taxonomy Steve, doesn't that make you a taxonomist? Maybe not a professionally funded one? Like it or not you are one of "THEM" :-) Saludos and enjoy the tequila.
Super job! A couple of points, in States/Provinces I think there is no need to divide them up, pile all together alphabetically. It is odd to have an alphabetical list and then have to go past "Z" to find British Columbia. I think in the long run this will make it easier for users. Also why not use some of the categories popular in Surfbirds lists? In particular yard list...the one I really care about!! Maybe I missed it. Also are there country lists accessible, did I miss that? If this aims to be listing central then it should have more and wider categories, and I think this will also bring in interest and new members perhaps? Good stuff - I hope the feedback is useful. Alvaro.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2013 on The ABA presents Listing Central! at ABA Blog
To me the tricky one is bird 1, 2-3 look like pretty standard Pomarine based on bulk/shape, bill etc. Similarly 4 looks like a petite, narrow winged, small billed Long-tailed. Number one trips off the ID switches in my brain as a Long-tailed, not sure why. But the analytical part of my brain tells me it is a Pomarine - with that long bill, short tail and most important of all active outer primary molt in August. I would not expect to see primaries at this stage on a Long-tailed in the northern hemisphere, but I could be wrong. See also that all three (1-2-3) of the Pomarines are in molt, #4 (Long-tailed) is not. Cheers - Alvaro.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2012 on Jaeger ID at ABA Blog
Ted - I am conducting a growing number of pelagic trips out of California (Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay). Indeed county listing is a big deal here, and some of my trips have been San Francisco focused or San Mateo county focused to give some examples. Also on any pelagic trip we have lots of local folks interested in which county waters we are in. We use the principle of equidistance, and have have for a long time. Don Roberson thought about the topic and brought it to everyone's attention here many moons ago. Some counties get gobbled by others (Santa Cruz is one that comes to mind), but it is just the way it is. I don't think it causes any debate here. It would be like debating where the land based county border is, no one would do it. From my experience it is very easy to apply, I created county lines on google earth and have them on my GPS when I am on the boat to know roughly where they are. But then if we have a Hawaiian Petrel or Flesh-foot that we need to figure out, I take the coordinates, get home and measure it out on google earth in minutes. It is pretty easy to do, and entirely unambiguous. This year we had Hawaiian Petrel in San Mateo and San Francisco counties :-)
You know, this bird looks unusual for an Elegant Tern. The bill is thick and does not narrow in the typical way that Elegant Tern bills do. The face pattern appears odd as well, with such a big indent of white below the eye. The crest is also not as shaggy as typical. In every way that this bird is unlike a typical Elegant, it is more Royal Tern like. I think it would be worthwhile for the committee and birders watching it to assess whether it may be a hybrid Royal x something. In fact some Atlantic Elegants have been quite typical, but many are odd looking and suggest that they are in fact hybrids of some type. The other unusual thing is that from what I recall, that few if any Elegant Terns have the classic rose coloration on their underparts. Right now Elegants are nice and rosy, so why are the vagrants not rosy? It all strikes me as unusual, but keep in mind that any overexposure and you lose the rose color in a photo.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2012 on #ABARare - Elegant Tern - New Jersey at ABA Blog
Post breeding dispersal refers to the process and behavior as a whole, not the individual history of the bird. So I would argue that a juvenile can be a post-breeding disperser, no problem. Alvaro.
Toggle Commented Jun 29, 2012 on Rare Bird Alert: June 29, 2012 at ABA Blog
For more subspecies info and discussion, see this: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=168201
Ted - A prof of mine at U of T was a Vireo fanatic, Jon Barlow. He told me that he had areas he was looking at in Alberta where eastern and western Warbling Vireos bred side by side. Jon was good at doing field work, not so good at publishing. He was a collector (of all sorts of things, including punk and garage bands on vinyl) as such he collected tons of audio material on vireos. Unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago and much of his knowledge on vireos passed away with him. However, I was able with very little finagling to have his audio material be sent to Cornell, so it is there now and would be ripe for a grad student to go through and get all sorts of stuff from it! So Jon was convinced that these were biological species as he said they acted like that on the breeding grounds. I think that you in Colorado are best placed to figure out some of this stuff, as here or in the east we have one or the other. I have always wondered exactly what it is that makes the songs different, I hear the differences, but wonder if it is all in my imagination. Thanks Nathan for clarifying exactly what to listen for. How about the scolds, I bet they are different n'est pa? I recall that the DNA fingerprinting work found something like 4% mtDNA difference between eastern and western Warbling Vireo populations, something like that anyway. Alvaro.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2011 on Pieplow Made Me Do It at ABA Blog
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Jun 13, 2011