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Updated on Wednesday, September 2 at 08:23 AM EST
The most recently received Mail is at the top.


Black Francolin,©Jan Wilczur

2 Sep Estimating numbers [Ian McLaren ]
2 Sep Identification of White-tipped Swift ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
2 Sep Archilochus hummingbird in Flagstaff, AZ [Jason A Wilder ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [jkennedy366 ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Jim ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification/CBC data [Tony Leukering ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Jim ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification []
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Angus Wilson ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [John Sterling ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Alvaro Jaramillo ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Ross Silcock ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification ["Lethaby, Nick" ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Joseph Morlan ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification []
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Tim Vaughan ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [John Sterling ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Mike Patterson ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Chuck Sexton ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Jim ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Chris Hill ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Reid Martin ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [John Sterling ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Jay Withgott ]
1 Sep Re: Numbers not identification [Clay Kempf ]
1 Sep Numbers not identification [Alvaro Jaramillo ]
31 Aug Re: Requesting opinions on odd peep []
31 Aug Re: Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt [Peter Pyle ]
30 Aug Re: Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt [Mark B Bartosik ]
30 Aug Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt [Amar Ayyash ]
29 Aug Re: Requesting opinions on odd peep [julian hough ]
28 Aug Requesting opinions on odd peep [Suzanne Sullivan ]
28 Aug Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office. [Paul Wood ]
27 Aug Collaborative Identification and the future of Rarity Assessment ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
24 Aug Re: Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts [Reid Martin ]
23 Aug Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office. [Paul Wood ]
22 Aug Help with Seaside Sparrow images [Ian McLaren ]
22 Aug Progress on a Birders Digital Identification Manual ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
20 Aug Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments [Peter Adriaens ]
18 Aug Re: Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts [julian hough ]
17 Aug Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts [David Hollie ]
17 Aug Re: Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico []
15 Aug Re: Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico [John Sterling ]
15 Aug Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico [Noah Arthur ]
15 Aug Mystery bird from Colorado in May []
8 Aug Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office. [Paul Wood ]
7 Aug Re: Birding Images in 3D ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
7 Aug Re: Birding Images in 3D [Mark B Bartosik ]
6 Aug Birding Images in 3D ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
28 Jul "Buttons" the Passenger Pigeon -- perhaps not pure Passenger? [Noah Arthur ]
21 Jul King or Cling Rail? [Michael Britt ]
20 Jul Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper? [Suzanne Sullivan ]
20 Jul Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper? [Jan Jörgensen ]
19 Jul Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper? [Andrew Baksh ]
19 Jul Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper? [Jan Jörgensen ]
19 Jul Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper? [Jan Jörgensen ]
16 Jul Re: stint fever and migration timing [Kevin McLaughlin ]
16 Jul stint fever and migration timing [Paul Lehman ]
13 Jul Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
12 Jul Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos [Tristan McKee ]
12 Jul Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
12 Jul Gulls and stints: metrics in photos [Tristan McKee ]
12 Jul Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos [Tristan McKee ]
12 Jul Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
11 Jul Gulls and stints: metrics in photos [Tristan McKee ]
11 Jul Common Tern with many longipennis characteristics -Texas [Mark B Bartosik ]
10 Jul Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments [Peter Pyle ]
10 Jul Re: Stint Fever ["Mike O'Keeffe" ]
9 Jul Re: Stint Fever [Blake Mathys ]
9 Jul Re: Stint Fever ["Lethaby, Nick" ]
9 Jul Re: Stint Fever [Alvaro Jaramillo ]
9 Jul Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments [Steve Hampton ]
9 Jul Re: Stint Fever [Reid Martin ]
8 Jul Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments [Alvaro Jaramillo ]
8 Jul Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments [Peter Pyle ]
8 Jul Re: Stint Fever ["Lethaby, Nick" ]

Subject: Estimating numbers
From: Ian McLaren <I.A.McLaren AT DAL.CA>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2015 13:15:44 +0000
All:


Wayne Hoffman gives some useful advice on the subject, but otherwise there may 
be some unawareness of the Law of Large Numbers in this discussion. Bias is 
always bad, but if you think you can get a ball-park number, do it. The 
maligned CBC counts and other such sources of large amounts of data do give 
pretty good state-wide (or province-wide) trends over the years. Even 
order-of-magnitude (1-10, 10-100, 100-1000, etc) estimates, if combined from 
many sources, for example, all squares within a breeding-bird-survey state, can 
be processed to give a pretty accurate total for that state. 



So, keep estimating.

Cheers, Ian McLaren

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Identification of White-tipped Swift
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2015 11:41:58 +0100
Hi,

While preparing a post for my blog I was carefully studying an image I took of 
an apparent White-tipped Swift (Aeronautes montivagus) while birding some years 
ago in Venezuela. The breast and belly on the bird I photographed appears quite 
pale and mottled, which seems at odds with what I have found published for 
them. Just wondering if someone with experience of this and similar species 
could get in touch privately and give me a hand with this bird? 


Thanks

Regards

Mike O'Keeffe
Ireland


http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/09/birds-and-light-against-sky.html 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Archilochus hummingbird in Flagstaff, AZ
From: Jason A Wilder <Jason.Wilder AT NAU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2015 03:46:52 +0000
An adult male Archilochus hummingbird has been coming to a feeder at a private 
residence in Flagstaff, AZ since 26 August 2015. With occasional brief glimpses 
the color and pattern on the gorget seems a better fit for Ruby-throated than 
the expected Black-chinned Hummingbird. Today a few pictures were obtained, 
though not as clear-cut as one might hope for. A narrow point to P10 appears 
evident in the photos, as well as a hint of gorget color. Any opinions as to 
the identify of this bird? 


https://www.flickr.com/gp/37893733 AT N06/y8nD9Q

Thanks,
Jason Wilder
Flagstaff, AZ


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: jkennedy366 <jkennedy366 AT COMCAST.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 19:12:10 -0500
I have been doing hawk watches for about 10 years and found a number of
sites that help estimate numbers.

We do fall back on photographs and counting to check on field estimates. Not
sure how accurate 10,000 broad-wings can be especially when you are trying
to count other species of hawks plus anhingas, ibis storks, pelicans etc in
the same kettle. It is easier than further south where you can have 500,000
or millions in a day from one spot.

Martin Reid mentioned his site to estimate numbers and the shorebird people
have a site that allows you to practice with blocks and densities and at the
end has an actual count.
http://www.migratoryshorebirdproject.org/uploads/documents/Estimating_Shoreb
ird_Flock_Size_&_Composition.pdf

There was a site that ran like a powerpoint presentation that flashed flocks
of birds for like 20 seconds and then gave you the chance to estimate the
number. Interestingly, they would show the same picture square and
rectangular etc which seemed to be different. But they went from a dozen to
thousands of birds. Would like to find it again.

We did 8,000 plus gnatcatchers one day with clickers and there are days with
1100 rough-winged swallows a minute just over the tower with as many in
front and in back and 2 other large streams further away so it keeps things
busy.

But my best method is to photograph each flock of say of white ibis, write
down an estimate, and then count ibis from the pictures later to check what
I wrote. With time, the counts can be pretty good. Once upon a time, 2 of us
each wrote down the number of ibis in the flock and each noted 621 for what
that is worth.

Practice tied with pictures and learning to do blocks of 25 or 100 really
can be accurate especially when species form regular patterns. Density is
the main problem as to determing how many birds deep a flock extends.

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 11:55 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification

Folks, 

  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 

Thanks

Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Jim <epiphenomenon9 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 18:52:24 -0400
Martin,

I think we agree. But, I am talking about the situation in which there is
no single best estimate, and all you can do is guess at a range, e.g.
80-120.  My choice is to report the lower number.  And here's another
example from eBird as to why.  Suppose two birders bird the same area in
the same day; one sees all the birds well and does precise counts, the
other does not and only does estimates.  If the estimator reports the high
range--120--and the careful counter reports his accurate figure of 94, the
estimator's report essentially nullifies the more accurate data, because
eBird will simply record 120 at that location on that day.  On the other
hand, if the estimator reports the low range, the precise counter's total
is preserved as the correct count for that day.

Cheers,
Jim

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 6:19 PM, Martin Renner 
wrote:

> Yes, Jim, you're right that some estimates will be consistently biased.
> The problem you address is detectability. However, those five jays should
> still be the best estimate, not the most conservative estimate. Unless they
> were all in one flock, who is to guarantee that there was not one bird
> following the observer around? Best estimate is key here. Over and
> under-counts will average out (to some degree), detectability can be
> addressed with distance sampling (in surveys designed with that in mind).
> However, introducing a bias away from the best estimate is generally a bad
> thing, from a statistical point of view, as it will get you farther away
> from the truth.
>
> Cheers,
> Martin
>
>
>
> > On 1 Sep 2015, at 13:57 , Jim  wrote:
> >
> > Did not mean to create a big fuss about this, but here is an explanation
> of
> > what I meant.  Under and over counting might both be equally bad data
> under
> > some bird counting situations I will grant, but I do not think it is in a
> > typical bird counting situation (e.g. eBird). When a birder records his
> > sightings and lists 5 Blue Jays.  It's accurate if he saw five Blue Jays.
> > It's never thought of as a guarantee that there weren't more Blue Jays in
> > the area, because every birder knows there may be many birds he did not
> > see.  So if you undercount, no one should be misled by your report--they
> > will always leave open the possibility that more birds were present but
> you
> > just did not see them.  But if you overcount, and you saw all the birds
> in
> > the area, your data will be reporting birds that simply were not there.
> > Overcounting can be a particularly bad result if your data is being used
> > for conservation purposes, e.g. to track endangered species populations.
> >
> > That's it.  If you are still not convinced then we'll just have to agree
> to
> > disagree.
> >
> > Jim M.
> >
> > On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 4:44 PM, Lethaby, Nick  wrote:
> >
> >> Underestimates are still incorrect/bad data. You're not reporting birds
> >> that are there. Generally any species that occurs in big enough numbers
> to
> >> make counting difficult, isn't in imminent danger of extinction, so I
> don't
> >> think undercounting is any worse than overcounting.
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
> >> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of John Sterling
> >> Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:58 PM
> >> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> >> Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification
> >>
> >> Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that we need to train
> ourselves
> >> to overcome our natural tendency to grossly underestimate.
> >>
> >>
> >> John Sterling
> >> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
> >>
> >> 26 Palm Ave
> >> Woodland, CA 95695
> >> 530 908-3836
> >> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> >> www.sterlingbirds.com
> >>
> >> Monterey Seabirds
> >> www.montereyseabirds.com
> >> (831) 375-4658
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 12:24 PM, Jim  wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Interesting.  But it should be noted that while underestimates are
> >>> incomplete data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are
> >>> reporting birds that aren't there.  So I tend to err on the side of
> >>> conservatism when estimating bird numbers--though of course doing what
> >>> can be done to eliminate any error is best of all.
> >>>
> >>> Jim M.
> >>> Maryland
> >>>
> >>> On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling
> >>> 
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt
> >>>> State University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of
> >>>> birds in photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower
> >>>> than the actual numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to
> >>>> not underestimate bird numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
> >>>>
> >>>> John Sterling
> >>>> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
> >>>>
> >>>> 26 Palm Ave
> >>>> Woodland, CA 95695
> >>>> 530 908-3836
> >>>> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> >>>> www.sterlingbirds.com
> >>>>
> >>>> Monterey Seabirds
> >>>> www.montereyseabirds.com
> >>>> (831) 375-4658
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott 
> >> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Hi Alvaro --
> >>>>>
> >>>>> In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon
> >>>>> have
> >>>> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater
> >>>> spectacles, and I believe some have tried to use the footage to help
> >>>> estimate numbers. Of course even with this approach, it is still a
> >>>> guessing game, since the birds often extend far enough into the
> >>>> distance that one has a hard time telling whether one is seeing the
> >>>> "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a bigger issue is that if the
> >>>> flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of
> >>>> the Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again
> >>>> as they pass by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize
> >>>> they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos
> >>>> from airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these
> >>>> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help
> >> improve on our estimates.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
> >>>> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done
> >>>> a simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his
> >>>> home in the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first
> >>>> estimate the number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By
> >>>> laboriously counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a
> >>>> number of times, he came to the meticulously precise conclusion that
> >>>> he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I
> >>>> imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that!
> >>>> Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my
> >>>> own error rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think
> >>>> it's a great idea that would help just about anyone become better at
> >> estimating bird numbers.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a
> >> challenge!
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Jay Withgott
> >>>>> Portland, OR
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> Folks,
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of
> >>>>>> this group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in
> >>>>>> coastal California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to
> >>>>>> estimate. Yes, I do
> >>>> the
> >>>>>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
> >>>> wheeling
> >>>>>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of
> >>>>>> 400
> >>>> per
> >>>>>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know
> >>>>>> we
> >>>> have
> >>>>>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000
> >>>>>> look like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like?
> >>>>>> Are there photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would
> >>>>>> be helpful in getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort
> >>>>>> scale" of birds,
> >>>> some
> >>>>>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how
> >>>>>> many
> >>>> are out
> >>>>>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls
> >>>>>> does it
> >>>> take
> >>>>>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any
> >>>>>> thoughts on tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Thanks
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Alvaro
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Alvaro Jaramillo
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> www.alvarosadventures.com
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>>>
> >>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>
> >> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>
> >> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification/CBC data
From: Tony Leukering <greatgrayowl AT AOL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 17:59:00 -0400
Hear, hear, John! Despite all of the effort that has gone into analyzing CBC 
data, my experience with various CBC participants on >200 CBCs in at least 15 
US states (plus Mexico and Costa Rica) has shown an INCREDIBLE variation in how 
individual participants conduct these counts, both in gross methodology (when, 
where) and in counting mechanics (from counting every individual, one at a time 
to estimating a single number for a species over the course of an entire day 
while sitting at the count tally after the day is over). While I greatly enjoy 
doing CBCs, other than gross estimates of species presence, I think that most 
of the data are simply noise. 


Tony

 

 


Tony Leukering
currently Cut Bank, MT
http://cowyebird.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_leukering/

http://aba.org/photoquiz/

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: John Sterling 
To: BIRDWG01 
Sent: Tue, Sep 1, 2015 2:54 pm
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification


I agree that it is important not to change in mid-stream for a fairly rigorous
protocol, but CBC is not rigorous by any stretch of the imagination. Individual
biases, weather and other factors play a large part in that data collection. I
wouldn’t worry about becoming more accurate in estimating numbers if you keep
the larger geographic scale in mind. It may affect a single count circle but so
would changing observers. The important consideration is in interpreting CBC
data which I would treat with extreme caution!


John
Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530
908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey
Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Sep 1, 2015, at
1:16 PM, Joseph Morlan  wrote:
> 
> On Tue, 1 Sep 2015
11:31:56 -0700, John Sterling 
> wrote:
> 
>> Nearly
all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual numbers. It is very
important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird numbers.
> 
> While I
agree this is an interesting topic, I worry how improving our
> ability to
estimate numbers impacts long term projects such as Christmas
> Bird Counts,
Breeding Bird Surveys or eBird pelagic protocol reports.  
> 
> Sometimes we
are admonished to gear up for these events by improving our
> ability to
estimate large numbers. But is that really a good idea? Changing
> a protocol
in mid-stream means that our data is inconsistent and obfuscates
> what may be
important trends.  In cases like this, I think it's more
> important to be
consistent than to be correct.
> 
> I admit my Christmas Bird Count large
flock estimates may be way off.  But
> I've decided not to change the way I do
these estimates.  If they are 50%
> lower than the actual numbers, that's fine
as long as I don't suddenly
> change my method to a new one which is 100%
accurate.  If I were to do
> that, it would show a sudden false otherwise
unexplained doubling of large
> flock numbers.  
> --
> Joseph Morlan,
Pacifica, CA
> 
> Archives:
http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives:
http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Jim <epiphenomenon9 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 17:57:49 -0400
Did not mean to create a big fuss about this, but here is an explanation of
what I meant.  Under and over counting might both be equally bad data under
some bird counting situations I will grant, but I do not think it is in a
typical bird counting situation (e.g. eBird). When a birder records his
sightings and lists 5 Blue Jays.  It's accurate if he saw five Blue Jays.
It's never thought of as a guarantee that there weren't more Blue Jays in
the area, because every birder knows there may be many birds he did not
see.  So if you undercount, no one should be misled by your report--they
will always leave open the possibility that more birds were present but you
just did not see them.  But if you overcount, and you saw all the birds in
the area, your data will be reporting birds that simply were not there.
Overcounting can be a particularly bad result if your data is being used
for conservation purposes, e.g. to track endangered species populations.

That's it.  If you are still not convinced then we'll just have to agree to
disagree.

Jim M.

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 4:44 PM, Lethaby, Nick  wrote:

> Underestimates are still incorrect/bad data. You're not reporting birds
> that are there. Generally any species that occurs in big enough numbers to
> make counting difficult, isn't in imminent danger of extinction, so I don't
> think undercounting is any worse than overcounting.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of John Sterling
> Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:58 PM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification
>
> Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that we need to train ourselves
> to overcome our natural tendency to grossly underestimate.
>
>
> John Sterling
> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
>
> 26 Palm Ave
> Woodland, CA 95695
> 530 908-3836
> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> www.sterlingbirds.com
>
> Monterey Seabirds
> www.montereyseabirds.com
> (831) 375-4658
>
>
> > On Sep 1, 2015, at 12:24 PM, Jim  wrote:
> >
> > Interesting.  But it should be noted that while underestimates are
> > incomplete data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are
> > reporting birds that aren't there.  So I tend to err on the side of
> > conservatism when estimating bird numbers--though of course doing what
> > can be done to eliminate any error is best of all.
> >
> > Jim M.
> > Maryland
> >
> > On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling
> > 
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt
> >> State University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of
> >> birds in photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower
> >> than the actual numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to
> >> not underestimate bird numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
> >>
> >> John Sterling
> >> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
> >>
> >> 26 Palm Ave
> >> Woodland, CA 95695
> >> 530 908-3836
> >> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> >> www.sterlingbirds.com
> >>
> >> Monterey Seabirds
> >> www.montereyseabirds.com
> >> (831) 375-4658
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott 
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Hi Alvaro --
> >>>
> >>> In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon
> >>> have
> >> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater
> >> spectacles, and I believe some have tried to use the footage to help
> >> estimate numbers. Of course even with this approach, it is still a
> >> guessing game, since the birds often extend far enough into the
> >> distance that one has a hard time telling whether one is seeing the
> >> "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a bigger issue is that if the
> >> flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of
> >> the Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again
> >> as they pass by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize
> >> they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos
> >> from airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these
> >> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help
> improve on our estimates.
> >>>
> >>> Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
> >> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done
> >> a simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his
> >> home in the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first
> >> estimate the number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By
> >> laboriously counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a
> >> number of times, he came to the meticulously precise conclusion that
> >> he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I
> >> imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that!
> >> Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my
> >> own error rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think
> >> it's a great idea that would help just about anyone become better at
> estimating bird numbers.
> >>>
> >>> Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a
> challenge!
> >>>
> >>> Jay Withgott
> >>> Portland, OR
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Folks,
> >>>>
> >>>> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of
> >>>> this group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in
> >>>> coastal California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to
> >>>> estimate. Yes, I do
> >> the
> >>>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
> >> wheeling
> >>>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of
> >>>> 400
> >> per
> >>>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know
> >>>> we
> >> have
> >>>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000
> >>>> look like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like?
> >>>> Are there photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would
> >>>> be helpful in getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort
> >>>> scale" of birds,
> >> some
> >>>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how
> >>>> many
> >> are out
> >>>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls
> >>>> does it
> >> take
> >>>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any
> >>>> thoughts on tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
> >>>>
> >>>> Thanks
> >>>>
> >>>> Alvaro
> >>>>
> >>>> Alvaro Jaramillo
> >>>>
> >>>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> >>>>
> >>>> www.alvarosadventures.com
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>
> >> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >>
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: whoffman AT PEAK.ORG
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 14:37:32 -0700
Hi - 

I learned a method back in the 1970s when I was doing shipboard and a few 
seawatch type surveys in Alaskan waters. It begins with teaching yourself to 
accurately estimate modest numbers. Do this by guessing then counting - do it 
with flying flocks of geese, etc. Al, you are probably very good at this 
already for numbers less than 1000. Essentially, this is memorizing what 45 
birds, or 320 birds, or 870 birds looks like. I refresh this whenever I have an 
opportunity. Then I look for opportunities where I can accurately count a 
portion of a really large flock, do so, try to fix an image of what that 
portion looks like, than count off similar frames. For example I have often 
estimated the numbers of Common Murres rafting off Yaquina Head by counting 50, 
then counting fifties until I have 1000, then blocking off 1000s for the rest 
of the gathering. On occasion I have photographed subflocks to estimate then 
count. My counts of Murres on the water there in spring tend to run up to about 
35,000, which I think has been as many birds as are normally there. 


Another thing I do is look for "better" opportunities to count flying birds. In 
Sept. 1976 I spent several days on East Unalga Island in the eastern Aleutians. 
One afternoon Short-tailed Shearwaters began streaming south through Akutan 
Pass to the east of the island. I set up my binoculars on a headland across the 
pass, started a stopwatch, and and counted birds passing until I reached 1000. 
I wrote down the elapsed time, then watched until the rate of flow changed 
visibly, and then did a new count. I kept this up for as long as the stream was 
passing, something less than an hour, and expanded the "1000 birds time" to the 
length of time for each period of consistent flow, added them up, and came up 
with 180,000. I had an idea that I was going to be able to record the fall 
migration of shearwaters out of the Bering Sea, but then the tide hanged and 
they all streamed back north into the Bering Sea, and continued to move back 
and forth as long as I was in the area. 


I have on occasion had opportunities to count a stream that flew to a location 
and gathered into a swirling flock, which has given me a mental picture of what 
a large flock looks like. Back then I felt I could tell a swirl of 20,000 
shearwaters from 50,000, from 100,000, but I am way out of practice now. 


Wayne 


From: "Alvaro Jaramillo"  
To: "BIRDWG01"  
Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 9:55:29 AM 
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification 

Folks, 

This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this 
group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal 
California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the 
count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling 
flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per 
minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have 
tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look 
like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there 
photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in 
getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some 
simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out 
there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take 
to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on 
tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 

Thanks 

Alvaro 

Alvaro Jaramillo 

alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com 

www.alvarosadventures.com 




Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Angus Wilson <oceanwanderers AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 17:18:53 -0400
Hadn't seen Martin Reid's examples before and find them fascinating. For
the smaller groups my 'eyeball-o-metric counts' tend to be 1/3-1/2 of what
they should be, echoing typical error rates mentioned by others, but on
some of the very large flocks I was way, way off. As a habitual counter and
note taker, under-estimating comes as no surprise but I am troubled by my
mishandling of the large flocks, which almost by definition can't be
counted in the field. Counting based on photographs seems the way to go
when birds start numbering in the thousands. For examples like the Sooty
Shearwater feeding flocks, re-circulation is always a concern and
complication. In coastal New York we have the same issue with very large
concentrations of wintering scoter and eider where the tidal flow causes
birds to drift over and away from the preferred feeding areas. Distant
birds loop around, sometimes almost unseen, and thus make repeated passes
over the best areas.

Angus Wilson
New York, USA

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 4:34 PM, Ross Silcock 
wrote:

> Let's hope the entire population (estimated 20,000,000) doesn't show up
> together!
>
> Ross
>
> Ross Silcock
> New Zealand Land and Pelagic Bird Tours
> www.rosssilcock.com
> Tabor, IA
>
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Alvaro Jaramillo" 
> Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 11:55 AM
> To: 
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification
>
>
> Folks,
>>
>>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
>> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
>> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do
>> the
>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
>> wheeling
>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400
>> per
>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
>> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
>> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
>> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are
>> out
>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it
>> take
>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
>> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
>>
>> Thanks
>>
>> Alvaro
>>
>> Alvaro Jaramillo
>>
>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
>>
>> www.alvarosadventures.com
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>>
>>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>



-- 
Angus Wilson
New York City & The Springs, NY, USA
http://birdingtotheend.blogspot.com/

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: John Sterling <jsterling AT WAVECABLE.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 13:52:20 -0700
I agree that it is important not to change in mid-stream for a fairly rigorous 
protocol, but CBC is not rigorous by any stretch of the imagination. Individual 
biases, weather and other factors play a large part in that data collection. I 
wouldn’t worry about becoming more accurate in estimating numbers if you keep 
the larger geographic scale in mind. It may affect a single count circle but so 
would changing observers. The important consideration is in interpreting CBC 
data which I would treat with extreme caution! 



John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Sep 1, 2015, at 1:16 PM, Joseph Morlan  wrote:
> 
> On Tue, 1 Sep 2015 11:31:56 -0700, John Sterling 
> wrote:
> 
>> Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual numbers. It 
is very important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird numbers. 

> 
> While I agree this is an interesting topic, I worry how improving our
> ability to estimate numbers impacts long term projects such as Christmas
> Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Surveys or eBird pelagic protocol reports.  
> 
> Sometimes we are admonished to gear up for these events by improving our
> ability to estimate large numbers. But is that really a good idea? Changing
> a protocol in mid-stream means that our data is inconsistent and obfuscates
> what may be important trends.  In cases like this, I think it's more
> important to be consistent than to be correct.
> 
> I admit my Christmas Bird Count large flock estimates may be way off.  But
> I've decided not to change the way I do these estimates.  If they are 50%
> lower than the actual numbers, that's fine as long as I don't suddenly
> change my method to a new one which is 100% accurate.  If I were to do
> that, it would show a sudden false otherwise unexplained doubling of large
> flock numbers.  
> --
> Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 13:49:40 -0700
Jim, 
 I am not sure this is really true. It all depends on what you are using the 
numbers for, if you are mixing numbers from others, if you are consistent etc. 
You may be looking for trends, and if it was you always over estimating, but by 
a consistent margin you would adequately find and define that trend. The 
numbers would not be incorrect. It all depends on what you are aiming for with 
the numbers. 

Take care
Alvaro 

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Jim 

Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:24 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification

Interesting. But it should be noted that while underestimates are incomplete 
data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are reporting birds that aren't 
there. So I tend to err on the side of conservatism when estimating bird 
numbers--though of course doing what can be done to eliminate any error is best 
of all. 


Jim M.
Maryland

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling 
wrote:

> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt 
> State University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of 
> birds in photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower 
> than the actual numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to 
> not underestimate bird numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
>
> John Sterling
> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
>
> 26 Palm Ave
> Woodland, CA 95695
> 530 908-3836
> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> www.sterlingbirds.com
>
> Monterey Seabirds
> www.montereyseabirds.com
> (831) 375-4658
>
>
> > On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott  wrote:
> >
> > Hi Alvaro --
> >
> > In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon 
> > have
> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater 
> spectacles, and I believe some have tried to use the footage to help 
> estimate numbers. Of course even with this approach, it is still a 
> guessing game, since the birds often extend far enough into the 
> distance that one has a hard time telling whether one is seeing the 
> "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a bigger issue is that if the 
> flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of the 
> Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again as 
> they pass by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize 
> they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos from 
> airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these 
> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help 
improve on our estimates. 

> >
> > Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done a 
> simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his 
> home in the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first 
> estimate the number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By 
> laboriously counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a 
> number of times, he came to the meticulously precise conclusion that 
> he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I 
> imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that!  
> Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my own 
> error rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think it's 
> a great idea that would help just about anyone become better at estimating 
bird numbers. 

> >
> > Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!
> >
> > Jay Withgott
> > Portland, OR
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
> >
> >> Folks,
> >>
> >> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of 
> >> this group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in 
> >> coastal California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to 
> >> estimate. Yes, I do
> the
> >> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
> wheeling
> >> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 
> >> 400
> per
> >> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know 
> >> we
> have
> >> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 
> >> look like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? 
> >> Are there photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would 
> >> be helpful in getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort 
> >> scale" of birds,
> some
> >> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how 
> >> many
> are out
> >> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls 
> >> does it
> take
> >> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any 
> >> thoughts on tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >>
> >> Alvaro
> >>
> >> Alvaro Jaramillo
> >>
> >> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> >>
> >> www.alvarosadventures.com
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Ross Silcock <silcock AT ROSSSILCOCK.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 15:34:26 -0500
Let's hope the entire population (estimated 20,000,000) doesn't show up
together!

Ross

Ross Silcock
New Zealand Land and Pelagic Bird Tours
www.rosssilcock.com
Tabor, IA

--------------------------------------------------
From: "Alvaro Jaramillo" 
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 11:55 AM
To: 
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification

> Folks,
>
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do 
> the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have 
> wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 
> per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are 
> out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it 
> take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
>
> Thanks
>
> Alvaro
>
> Alvaro Jaramillo
>
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
>
> www.alvarosadventures.com
>
>
>
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby AT TI.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 20:44:57 +0000
Underestimates are still incorrect/bad data. You're not reporting birds that 
are there. Generally any species that occurs in big enough numbers to make 
counting difficult, isn't in imminent danger of extinction, so I don't think 
undercounting is any worse than overcounting. 


-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of John Sterling 

Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:58 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification

Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that we need to train ourselves to 
overcome our natural tendency to grossly underestimate. 



John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Sep 1, 2015, at 12:24 PM, Jim  wrote:
> 
> Interesting.  But it should be noted that while underestimates are 
> incomplete data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are 
> reporting birds that aren't there.  So I tend to err on the side of 
> conservatism when estimating bird numbers--though of course doing what 
> can be done to eliminate any error is best of all.
> 
> Jim M.
> Maryland
> 
> On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling 
> 
> wrote:
> 
>> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt 
>> State University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of 
>> birds in photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower 
>> than the actual numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to 
>> not underestimate bird numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
>> 
>> John Sterling
>> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
>> 
>> 26 Palm Ave
>> Woodland, CA 95695
>> 530 908-3836
>> jsterling AT wavecable.com
>> www.sterlingbirds.com
>> 
>> Monterey Seabirds
>> www.montereyseabirds.com
>> (831) 375-4658
>> 
>> 
>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott  wrote:
>>> 
>>> Hi Alvaro --
>>> 
>>> In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon 
>>> have
>> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater 
>> spectacles, and I believe some have tried to use the footage to help 
>> estimate numbers. Of course even with this approach, it is still a 
>> guessing game, since the birds often extend far enough into the 
>> distance that one has a hard time telling whether one is seeing the 
>> "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a bigger issue is that if the 
>> flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of 
>> the Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again 
>> as they pass by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize 
>> they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos 
>> from airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these 
>> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help 
improve on our estimates. 

>>> 
>>> Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
>> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done 
>> a simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his 
>> home in the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first 
>> estimate the number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By 
>> laboriously counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a 
>> number of times, he came to the meticulously precise conclusion that 
>> he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I 
>> imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that!  
>> Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my 
>> own error rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think 
>> it's a great idea that would help just about anyone become better at 
estimating bird numbers. 

>>> 
>>> Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!
>>> 
>>> Jay Withgott
>>> Portland, OR
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Folks,
>>>> 
>>>> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of 
>>>> this group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in 
>>>> coastal California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to 
>>>> estimate. Yes, I do
>> the
>>>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
>> wheeling
>>>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 
>>>> 400
>> per
>>>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know 
>>>> we
>> have
>>>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 
>>>> look like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? 
>>>> Are there photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would 
>>>> be helpful in getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort 
>>>> scale" of birds,
>> some
>>>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how 
>>>> many
>> are out
>>>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls 
>>>> does it
>> take
>>>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any 
>>>> thoughts on tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks
>>>> 
>>>> Alvaro
>>>> 
>>>> Alvaro Jaramillo
>>>> 
>>>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
>>>> 
>>>> www.alvarosadventures.com
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>> 
>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Joseph Morlan <jmorlan AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 13:16:27 -0700
On Tue, 1 Sep 2015 11:31:56 -0700, John Sterling 
wrote:

>Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual numbers. It is 
very important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird numbers. 


While I agree this is an interesting topic, I worry how improving our
ability to estimate numbers impacts long term projects such as Christmas
Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Surveys or eBird pelagic protocol reports.  

Sometimes we are admonished to gear up for these events by improving our
ability to estimate large numbers. But is that really a good idea? Changing
a protocol in mid-stream means that our data is inconsistent and obfuscates
what may be important trends.  In cases like this, I think it's more
important to be consistent than to be correct.

I admit my Christmas Bird Count large flock estimates may be way off.  But
I've decided not to change the way I do these estimates.  If they are 50%
lower than the actual numbers, that's fine as long as I don't suddenly
change my method to a new one which is 100% accurate.  If I were to do
that, it would show a sudden false otherwise unexplained doubling of large
flock numbers.  
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: dominic.mitchell AT YAHOO.CO.UK
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 20:05:50 +0000
Hi Alvaro (and all)
I've seen your footage of these vast Sooty Shearwater flocks on Facebook, and 
can instantly see the problem! I too have had similar issues, albeit on a 
smaller scale, with wintering gull flocks on landfills. 

Given the density and movement of the birds and the size of the flocks, it 
would probably be hard to beat Chuck Sexton's techniques for arriving at a 
reasonably accurate estimate. Chris Hill mentioned graphics programs that 
specialise in counting dots on images, and there may indeed be ways of 
'automating' the counting process - see e.g. this project 
(http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~vgg/research/counting/) by the Visual Geometry 
Group at Oxford University, which seeks to perform a similar task through a 
'continuous density' function. Might be worth contacting the two authors for 
assistance, to see if their techniques can be applied to your problem? 

Rgds
Dominic Mitchell 
----------------------------------------------------------------Managing Editor 
| Birdwatch and BirdGuidesBlog: www.birdingetc.com | 
Twitter:  AT birdingetc Facebook | Bird tours: Azores and more 

      From: Chuck Sexton 
 To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU 
 Sent: Tuesday, 1 September 2015, 20:19
 Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Numbers not identification
   
Alvaro et al.

Greg Lasley and I had an experience last January with a massive flock of 
Lapland Longspurs in the Texas Panhandle.  I used some wide angle images of my 
own to estimate the breadth of the flock based on known landmarks in the 
background, then blew up a close-up (by Greg) of a tiny portion of the flock to 
poster size and blocked it off in easily counted increments.  With some simple 
algebra, I ended up estimating that the flock contained over 15,000 Laps.  Of 
particular interest, I used the poster of Greg’s image of a fraction of that 
flock as an estimation exercise at the Laredo Birding Festival a month later.  
The image contained 2,210 longspurs and, surprisingly, the median guess by 36 
entries was 2,000, only about 10% low.  Although a few outlier guesses 
(ranging from 267 to 12,013) skewed the average, eight entries (22%) were +/- 
10% of the real number. 


To your original inquiry, photographic documentation and tedious counting with 
some extrapolation can be useful, but I can see that for seabirds which are 
mostly in one horizontal plain near the water surface, such a technique would 
be difficult.  It works better with something up in the air like a flock of 
longspurs or a kettle of hawks. 


Chuck Sexton
Austin, TX

> On Sep 1, 2015, at 11:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo  wrote:
> 
> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html



Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


  
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Tim Vaughan <timjvaughan AT ICLOUD.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 20:42:31 +0100
Hi Álvaro
A timely question. The flocks of Sooty Shearwater (Sooties) off California this 
Summer have indeed been impressive. Counting them has been thought-provoking. 


As a visiting birder to the area, my own count of 30,000 passing by in ten 
minutes was breathtaking. In seeing this huge flock a number of times from 
various watchpoints between Point Lobos and Point Sur on 6 August 2015, I felt 
that the advantage to assist my counting was height. I felt able to see the 
breadth as well as the density of the feeding flock of Sooties. Had I been 
closer to sea level, how might I have fared? 


I counted by 100s then 1,000s then 10,000s. It can only be an estimate, but 30 
years practise at counting large bird flocks helps. 


Regardless, all those Sooties - truly memorable.

Best wishes

Tim Vaughan
UK



> On 1 Sep 2015, at 17:55, Alvaro Jaramillo  wrote:
> 
> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: John Sterling <jsterling AT WAVECABLE.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 12:58:20 -0700
Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that we need to train ourselves to 
overcome our natural tendency to grossly underestimate. 



John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Sep 1, 2015, at 12:24 PM, Jim  wrote:
> 
> Interesting.  But it should be noted that while underestimates are
> incomplete data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are reporting
> birds that aren't there.  So I tend to err on the side of conservatism when
> estimating bird numbers--though of course doing what can be done to
> eliminate any error is best of all.
> 
> Jim M.
> Maryland
> 
> On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling 
> wrote:
> 
>> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt State
>> University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of birds in
>> photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual
>> numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird
>> numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
>> 
>> John Sterling
>> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
>> 
>> 26 Palm Ave
>> Woodland, CA 95695
>> 530 908-3836
>> jsterling AT wavecable.com
>> www.sterlingbirds.com
>> 
>> Monterey Seabirds
>> www.montereyseabirds.com
>> (831) 375-4658
>> 
>> 
>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott  wrote:
>>> 
>>> Hi Alvaro --
>>> 
>>> In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon have
>> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater spectacles, and
>> I believe some have tried to use the footage to help estimate numbers. Of
>> course even with this approach, it is still a guessing game, since the
>> birds often extend far enough into the distance that one has a hard time
>> telling whether one is seeing the "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a
>> bigger issue is that if the flocks are spinning in circles (as I've
>> witnessed off the mouth of the Columbia), one may end up counting the same
>> birds again and again as they pass by. If the circles are so large that one
>> doesn't realize they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial
>> videos from airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these
>> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help
>> improve on our estimates.
>>> 
>>> Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
>> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done a
>> simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his home in
>> the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first estimate the
>> number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By laboriously
>> counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a number of times, he
>> came to the meticulously precise conclusion that he tended to
>> under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I imagine for many of us
>> the figure would be further off than that!  Although I've been too lazy
>> (and perhaps fearful of discovering my own error rate!) to do this in any
>> systematic way myself yet, I think it's a great idea that would help just
>> about anyone become better at estimating bird numbers.
>>> 
>>> Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!
>>> 
>>> Jay Withgott
>>> Portland, OR
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Folks,
>>>> 
>>>> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
>>>> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
>>>> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do
>> the
>>>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
>> wheeling
>>>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400
>> per
>>>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we
>> have
>>>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
>>>> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
>>>> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
>>>> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds,
>> some
>>>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many
>> are out
>>>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it
>> take
>>>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
>>>> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks
>>>> 
>>>> Alvaro
>>>> 
>>>> Alvaro Jaramillo
>>>> 
>>>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
>>>> 
>>>> www.alvarosadventures.com
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>> 
>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Mike Patterson <celata AT PACIFIER.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 12:39:31 -0700
For those who've never experienced one of these shearwater flocks,
perhaps we should further define the problem...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO7NMU8Acq0


-- 
Mike Patterson
Astoria, OR
On a clear(cut) day
http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/northcoastdiaries/?p=2847

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Chuck Sexton <gcwarbler AT AUSTIN.RR.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 14:19:55 -0500
Alvaro et al.

Greg Lasley and I had an experience last January with a massive flock of 
Lapland Longspurs in the Texas Panhandle. I used some wide angle images of my 
own to estimate the breadth of the flock based on known landmarks in the 
background, then blew up a close-up (by Greg) of a tiny portion of the flock to 
poster size and blocked it off in easily counted increments. With some simple 
algebra, I ended up estimating that the flock contained over 15,000 Laps. Of 
particular interest, I used the poster of Greg’s image of a fraction of that 
flock as an estimation exercise at the Laredo Birding Festival a month later. 
The image contained 2,210 longspurs and, surprisingly, the median guess by 36 
entries was 2,000, only about 10% low. Although a few outlier guesses (ranging 
from 267 to 12,013) skewed the average, eight entries (22%) were +/- 10% of the 
real number. 


To your original inquiry, photographic documentation and tedious counting with 
some extrapolation can be useful, but I can see that for seabirds which are 
mostly in one horizontal plain near the water surface, such a technique would 
be difficult. It works better with something up in the air like a flock of 
longspurs or a kettle of hawks. 


Chuck Sexton
Austin, TX

> On Sep 1, 2015, at 11:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo  wrote:
> 
> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Jim <epiphenomenon9 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 15:24:21 -0400
Interesting.  But it should be noted that while underestimates are
incomplete data, overestimates are incorrect/bad data--you are reporting
birds that aren't there.  So I tend to err on the side of conservatism when
estimating bird numbers--though of course doing what can be done to
eliminate any error is best of all.

Jim M.
Maryland

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM, John Sterling 
wrote:

> Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt State
> University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of birds in
> photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual
> numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird
> numbers. Takes a bit of practice.
>
> John Sterling
> VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
>
> 26 Palm Ave
> Woodland, CA 95695
> 530 908-3836
> jsterling AT wavecable.com
> www.sterlingbirds.com
>
> Monterey Seabirds
> www.montereyseabirds.com
> (831) 375-4658
>
>
> > On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott  wrote:
> >
> > Hi Alvaro --
> >
> > In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon have
> captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater spectacles, and
> I believe some have tried to use the footage to help estimate numbers. Of
> course even with this approach, it is still a guessing game, since the
> birds often extend far enough into the distance that one has a hard time
> telling whether one is seeing the "end" of the flock or not.  And perhaps a
> bigger issue is that if the flocks are spinning in circles (as I've
> witnessed off the mouth of the Columbia), one may end up counting the same
> birds again and again as they pass by. If the circles are so large that one
> doesn't realize they are circles, then one could grossly overcount. Aerial
> videos from airplanes or drones may be a solution. Still, even with these
> challenges, I think that land-based photos and video can at least help
> improve on our estimates.
> >
> > Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's
> estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done a
> simple but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his home in
> the large flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first estimate the
> number of birds, and then take a photo of the flock. By laboriously
> counting the birds in his photos and replicating this a number of times, he
> came to the meticulously precise conclusion that he tended to
> under-estimate numbers by something like 27.43%.  I imagine for many of us
> the figure would be further off than that!  Although I've been too lazy
> (and perhaps fearful of discovering my own error rate!) to do this in any
> systematic way myself yet, I think it's a great idea that would help just
> about anyone become better at estimating bird numbers.
> >
> > Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!
> >
> > Jay Withgott
> > Portland, OR
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
> >
> >> Folks,
> >>
> >> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> >> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> >> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do
> the
> >> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have
> wheeling
> >> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400
> per
> >> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we
> have
> >> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> >> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> >> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> >> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds,
> some
> >> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many
> are out
> >> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it
> take
> >> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> >> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups.
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >>
> >> Alvaro
> >>
> >> Alvaro Jaramillo
> >>
> >> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> >>
> >> www.alvarosadventures.com
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Chris Hill <chill AT COASTAL.EDU>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 15:14:40 -0400
I’ve dealt with the same problem in a much smaller way - gulls at the 
landfill. Like many of you, I can estimate “reasonable” flocks of birds (up 
to a thousand or two) and know my normal error rate, but above a certain 
number, and with birds wheeling in circles in one direction, while flocks 
lounge at various distances and angles in other directions, it’s guesswork 
and I don’t like guesswork. 


So once every few years I take photos and count the little white dots one by 
one (this is for about 20,000 birds). It takes hours and hours to count them 
this way. It’s really a lot of work. 


There are graphics programs that specialize in counting dots on images (google 
“colony counting software" - microbiologists use them to count bacterial 
colonies on plates). That might automate and speed up the process of counting 
dots on images. But I haven’t taken the time to try to use one on bird flock 
images. 


CH

************************************************************************
Christopher E. Hill
Biology Department
Coastal Carolina University
Conway, SC 29528-1954
843-349-2567
chill AT coastal.edu
http://ww2.coastal.edu/chill/chill.htm

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Reid Martin <upupa AT AIRMAIL.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 14:07:24 -0500
FYI I created an estimating test/calibration section on my web site a while 
ago: 


http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/estimatingind.html

For the issue of the shearwaters, I'd do as others have suggested and take a 
series of photos: the trick is to capture as many birds as possible in one 
image BUT not so many that they are dense enough (or too small in the photo) to 
prevent accurate counting. At the time of taking the photos, note what you feel 
is the proportion of the total number of birds that is in the photo frame. 


If anyone wants to donate a good photo of shearwaters for addition to my 
estimating page, I'd appreciate it! 


Martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com





On Sep 1, 2015, at Sep 1, 11:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:

> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: John Sterling <jsterling AT WAVECABLE.COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 11:31:56 -0700
Stan Harris, the retired waterfowl management professor at Humboldt State 
University tested students yearly with estimating numbers of birds in 
photographs. Nearly all students’ estimates were 50% lower than the actual 
numbers. It is very important to train ourselves to not underestimate bird 
numbers. Takes a bit of practice. 


John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Sep 1, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Jay Withgott  wrote:
> 
> Hi Alvaro -- 
> 
> In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon have 
captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater spectacles, and I 
believe some have tried to use the footage to help estimate numbers. Of course 
even with this approach, it is still a guessing game, since the birds often 
extend far enough into the distance that one has a hard time telling whether 
one is seeing the "end" of the flock or not. And perhaps a bigger issue is that 
if the flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of the 
Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again as they pass 
by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize they are circles, then 
one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos from airplanes or drones may be a 
solution. Still, even with these challenges, I think that land-based photos and 
video can at least help improve on our estimates. 

> 
> Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's 
estimates can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done a simple 
but brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his home in the large 
flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first estimate the number of birds, 
and then take a photo of the flock. By laboriously counting the birds in his 
photos and replicating this a number of times, he came to the meticulously 
precise conclusion that he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 
27.43%. I imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that! 
Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my own error 
rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think it's a great idea 
that would help just about anyone become better at estimating bird numbers. 

> 
> Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!
> 
> Jay Withgott
> Portland, OR
> 
> 
> 
> On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
> 
>> Folks, 
>> 
>> This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
>> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
>> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
>> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
>> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
>> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
>> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
>> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
>> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
>> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
>> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
>> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
>> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
>> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
>> 
>> Thanks
>> 
>> Alvaro
>> 
>> Alvaro Jaramillo
>> 
>> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
>> 
>> www.alvarosadventures.com
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Jay Withgott <withgott AT COMCAST.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 10:36:48 -0700
Hi Alvaro -- 

In recent years at this time of year, some observers here in Oregon have 
captured photos and videos of the whirling Sooty Shearwater spectacles, and I 
believe some have tried to use the footage to help estimate numbers. Of course 
even with this approach, it is still a guessing game, since the birds often 
extend far enough into the distance that one has a hard time telling whether 
one is seeing the "end" of the flock or not. And perhaps a bigger issue is that 
if the flocks are spinning in circles (as I've witnessed off the mouth of the 
Columbia), one may end up counting the same birds again and again as they pass 
by. If the circles are so large that one doesn't realize they are circles, then 
one could grossly overcount. Aerial videos from airplanes or drones may be a 
solution. Still, even with these challenges, I think that land-based photos and 
video can at least help improve on our estimates. 


Even in more mundane instances, using photos or video to check one's estimates 
can be instructive. For instance, Jim Danzenbaker has done a simple but 
brilliant thing: To count Cackling Geese flying over his home in the large 
flocks we get here in the PNW, Jim would first estimate the number of birds, 
and then take a photo of the flock. By laboriously counting the birds in his 
photos and replicating this a number of times, he came to the meticulously 
precise conclusion that he tended to under-estimate numbers by something like 
27.43%. I imagine for many of us the figure would be further off than that! 
Although I've been too lazy (and perhaps fearful of discovering my own error 
rate!) to do this in any systematic way myself yet, I think it's a great idea 
that would help just about anyone become better at estimating bird numbers. 


Still, Sooty Shearwater megaflocks will no doubt always pose a challenge!

Jay Withgott
Portland, OR



On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:

> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Numbers not identification
From: Clay Kempf <ltjaeger AT ATT.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 10:33:20 -0700
I think this is a great topic, and I've often been frustrated while trying to 
estimate the size of these flocks over the years. Even trying to measure the 
flyby rate per minute isn't easy to do accurately, and if you do, how do you 
measure the total birds involved in such a flight if neither end of the flock 
can be seen? 


I've always though it would be an excellent student project to accurately count 
the number of shearwaters in a photo of these massive flocks, like, maybe in 
this one Sooty Shearwaters 6-11-14 photo - LT Jaeger photos at pbase.com or 
others in the same area. That would give all of us along the Central Calif 
Coast some tools to help in our estimates. But I've never had the patience to 
do so. 


Clay Kempf
Elkhorn, Calif.

On Sep 1, 2015, at 9:55 AM, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:

> Folks, 
> 
>  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
> group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
> California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
> count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
> flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
> minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
> tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
> like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
> photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
> getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
> simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
> there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
> to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
> tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Alvaro
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> 
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> 
> www.alvarosadventures.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Numbers not identification
From: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 09:55:29 -0700
Folks, 

  This is not an ID question, but one that requires the expertise of this
group. We are seeing huge numbers of Sooty Shearwaters here in coastal
California. Numbers that I am finding impossible to estimate. Yes, I do the
count by hundreds, but it is nearly impossible to do when you have wheeling
flocks or lots of movement. My friend Mark Kudrav has seen rates of 400 per
minute going by for over an hour, at migration points, so we know we have
tons and tons of them around. But the question is what does 10,000 look
like, what does 50,000 look like, what does 100,000 look like? Are there
photos out there, or descriptions of some kind that would be helpful in
getting to the right ball park? Is there a "Beufort scale" of birds, some
simple rules that might be applicable to getting a sense of how many are out
there when numbers are huge? How many shearwaters, ducks, gulls does it take
to entirely cover a patch of water so you see no water? Any thoughts on
tools that may be helpful beyond counting by groups. 

Thanks

Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Requesting opinions on odd peep
From: karlson3 AT COMCAST.NET
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2015 18:15:56 +0000
Suzanne and all: 
this is a "typical" juvenile Semi, since there is no such thing as typical for 
this species as a juvenile. So many discussions crop up this time of year when 
fresh juv Semis start to move south, and the variability of this species in 
juvenile plumage is greater than any other shorebird species I have ever seen, 
by far. I suggest that people start to closely look at many, many juvenile 
Semis in mid to late August, especially the bright rust of heavy buff colored 
ones, and build a mental or photo database of these birds. You will find that 
the variation is staggering, and maybe the suggestions for so many Little 
Stints, Least Sandpipers and other rare species will diminish. I spent last 
Saturday at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in NYC, and we had about a hundred 
juvenile Semis of all different plumage varieties and brightness levels. Some 
were peachy in color, others rusty on the back and wing coverts, others mostly 
grayish with buff upperpart fringes, and some with very dark internal feather 
markings on the scapulars and lower wing coverts while others showed very 
little of these dark markings. The other interesting scenario is the 
variability in body size, wing length, bill length and shape, and body 
structure. Males are distinctly smaller with shorter wings and rear body, a 
shorter, more blunt tipped bill, and a more rounded body structure. Females can 
have very long, decurved, fine tipped bills (a bit longer and more fine tipped 
and decurved than male Westerns in the Eastern US), very long rear bodies and 
consequently long wings that extend slightly past the tail and noticeably past 
the longest tertials, and longer legs than males (although not as long as 
Little Stint, especially the tibia). Toe webbing is another feature that is 
very difficult to see in the field and in photos unless you get a perfect 
spread foot on dry sand or mud. If you see a Little Stint's feet and toes, 
there is no doubt that there is no webbing since it looks like three skinny 
sticks attached to the leg joint without any web joining anywhere. It is very 
obvious in photos as well as in the field. Caution should be taken on photos on 
Semis that don't appear to have any webbing, but some photos (like the Illinois 
bird from last week) will show it sometimes. This webbing is very limited on 
Semi, so it doesn't stand out unless it is standing on dry land with its foot 
flat on the ground. 


My point is that this species is extremely variable, and to really know how 
variable people need to spend a bunch of time truly studying them instead of 
just calling them a juvenile Semi and walking away until a real bright one 
appears. Kevin Karlson 



----- Original Message -----

From: "Suzanne Sullivan"  
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU 
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 9:26:45 PM 
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Requesting opinions on odd peep 

Hello All, 
I was wondering if some folks out there would take a look at this confusing 
peep. It was photographed at Sandy Point Plum Island Massachusetts a few 
days ago. 

From a distant this bird caught my eye for 3 reasons, the color, the 
pattern on the scaps and coverts ( almost Baird’s like). and the odd shape 
( very front heavy, deep chested). The photos don’t reflect the true orange 
reddish color unfortunately, the under exposed ones come much closer. 
Although there are certainly plenty of "fresh of the press” SESA’s out 
there this one was a different color than I have ever seen.The long, thin 
almost LESA like toes are a mystery to me. Even the shape of this bird 
seems off, almost pinched in the rear end, look like it could tip over.. 
The supercillium is split also. Do I see stint characteristics? Or is this 
just a very strange SESA? Hybrid? There is no web at all between the inner 
toes, but looks like there is one between the outer toes. 
Can a SESA have this feature. Can a stint? I looked and looked and looked 
for an example of a SESA foot that would look like this ? I have not been 
able to find anything written either. 

All the photos are not great and they are digiscoped in cloudy conditions. 
The exposures aren’t great, I started high and went down to the lower so I 
could focus better (have to manual focus.), it was distant and they are 
cropped well. I left the option to "right click” open if someone 
wants/needs to enlarge on their own computer. 
http://www.pbase.com/suzsull/odd_peep 
Thank you in advance. 
-- 
Suzanne M. Sullivan 
Wilmington, MA 
swampy435 AT gmail.com 

Be the Voice of the River 
http://www.ipswichriver.org 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt
From: Peter Pyle <ppyle AT BIRDPOP.ORG>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:05:59 -0700
Hello Amar -

Interesting bird and questions.

I would call it the right "5th tertial" (T5) that has been replaced. 
Although traditionally gulls are reported to have three tertials they 
actually seem to have 4-5 tertials, as do at least several other 
Charadriiformes like golden-plovers. [The number of "tertials" in 
birds is surprisingly under-studied and in some cases there may be 
some overlap between what should be considered the outermost tertial 
(attached to the fleshy area around the ball joint of the ulna) and 
the innermost secondary (attached to the ulnar shaft).] In any case, 
since it is replaced on one wing and not the other I would consider 
it accidentally dropped and replaced. Few if any tertials are 
typically replaced during inserted first-cycle molt(s) of Ring-billed 
Gulls, and if one or two tertials did get replaced it would either be 
T2 (most often) or T1 (as I recall you have documented). The pattern 
to this replaced feather seems rather adult-like and typical of what 
might be expected given how advanced the nearby replaced subscapulars are.

The bases to the juvenile T2-T4 (T1 is missing on the right wing and 
the base not visible on the left wing) do seem unusually pale but I 
would doubt that variation in this is well known, given that this 
area of the feathers is hidden a lot of the time. In gulls, 
post-juvenile (formative/first alternate) feathers become more 
advanced looking with time as they are replaced in fall through early 
spring, and then become more juvenile-like again when replaced in 
late spring through summer during the second prebasic molt (more so 
in larger white-headed gulls than in RBGU). I'm supposing that these 
poorly known "molt-plumage interactions" and the hormones controlling 
them can act during the prejuvenile molt as well (I speculate on this 
regarding juvenile Common Murres in Western Birds, 44:250-261). The 
abrupt break between the pale bases and juvenile-patterned tips could 
indicate that there was a rapid hormonal switch when these tertials 
were at that stage of growth (I've seen similar abrupt switch in 
Ruddy Duck and ptarmigan feathers). Overall, there is a lot still to 
learn about these molt-plumage interactions.

Peter

At 03:33 AM 8/30/2015, Amar Ayyash wrote:
>Yesterday, 29 August 2015, I photographed a fairly advanced hatch year
>Ring-billed Gull showing some interesting patterns (URL to photos below.
>Chicago, Illinois).
>
>Virtually all of the juvenile scapulars have been replaced, although with
>faint brown centers. About half of the upperwing median coverts were also
>renewed. Here's where it started to get interesting: the lowest tertial (on
>the right wing) also appears advanced (all gray but with an obvious brown
>shaft streak). All of this isn't unheard of in HY RBGUs this early in the
>season, but it certainly isn't common.
>
>What did strike me as unusual is the bases to the upper tertials - they're
>mature, adult-like, gray! My very limited understanding of what causes
>these bi-colored feathers is variable hormonal/chemical processes during
>feather development, which is also time-dependent (i.e., feathers
>molted/grown early on will generally appear less advanced than those grown
>late). Confounding matters on this bird, though, is the advanced lower
>tertial. What may have caused this tertial to take on a different pattern
>than the tertials sitting above it? Did they grow out at different times?
>Are these necessarily feathers from two different plumages (i.e., basic
>versus formative/alternate)?  Any insight on this - if only loose personal
>theories - would be greatly appreciated.
>
>PHOTOS:
>https://goo.gl/iQZEc8
>
>
>Amar Ayyash
>Frankfort, Illinois
>
>Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt
From: Mark B Bartosik <MBB22222 AT AOL.COM>
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:50:33 -0400
Hi all,
 
I  see no comments posted to this post. I planned to post some  examples 
related to growing odd feathers in general but I had to leave home  and came 
back too late to do this today. Although, judging from the lack of  comments, 
this might not be an interesting subject on this forum.
 
Here I see an early molt, most likely in individual hatched very early  
during this year breading season.  Why not one juvenile tertial  feather is 
just lacking some pigment and shows abnormal growth; it can happen  with any 
feather. Corresponding tertial appears normal. Other tertials in right  wing 
also show abnormal pattern, grey base (versus normal tertials in the left  
wing), suggesting  that pigment deposition was interrupted during feather  
growth just in the right wing, and probably only in this specific location. 
This  points rather to an example of an oddball with problem related only to 
the  growth of a few feathers, in only one wing, and not to the molt progress 
in  general. 
 
Personally I do not find terms ‘advanced’ and ‘retarded’ appealing,  
especially in HY/SY birds. There can be quite long time lapse between earliest 

and latest hatchings, both in different located populations and inside the 
same  breeding colony; the differences can be seen easily in molt stages 
during the first year. I observe often, in some species, e.g. Least Tern, fresh 

fledglings  and molting juveniles (including primary molt) on the same day 
later in the  breeding season. BTW differences in molt stage can be seen in 
adults as well and  dependent on population location with different dates of 
breeding period; and as  well on individual bird health, condition and 
availability of the food  resources, etc.  
 
Very often a single observation, and these of unmarked birds can be quite  
misleading. I could try to show a couple of examples shortly. Naturally we 
deal  with oddballs from time to time and if we do not follow the bird to see 
the molt  progress we almost always will have some unanswered questions (or 
multiply  possibilities). Like in case posted further observation of the 
molt progress  could provide additional information.
 
Cheers,
 
Mark B Bartosik
Houston, Texas
 
 
In a message dated 8/30/2015 5:35:22 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
amarayyash AT GMAIL.COM writes:

Yesterday, 29 August 2015, I photographed a fairly advanced hatch  year
Ring-billed Gull showing some interesting patterns (URL to photos  below.
Chicago, Illinois).

Virtually all of the juvenile scapulars  have been replaced, although with
faint brown centers. About half of the  upperwing median coverts were also
renewed. Here's where it started to get  interesting: the lowest tertial (on
the right wing) also appears advanced  (all gray but with an obvious brown
shaft streak). All of this isn't  unheard of in HY RBGUs this early in the
season, but it certainly isn't  common.

What did strike me as unusual is the bases to the upper  tertials - they're
mature, adult-like, gray! My very limited understanding  of what causes
these bi-colored feathers is variable hormonal/chemical  processes during
feather development, which is also time-dependent (i.e.,  feathers
molted/grown early on will generally appear less advanced than  those grown
late). Confounding matters on this bird, though, is the  advanced lower
tertial. What may have caused this tertial to take on a  different pattern
than the tertials sitting above it? Did they grow out at  different times?
Are these necessarily feathers from two different plumages  (i.e., basic
versus formative/alternate)?  Any insight on this - if  only loose personal
theories - would be greatly  appreciated.

PHOTOS:
https://goo.gl/iQZEc8


Amar  Ayyash
Frankfort, Illinois

Archives:  http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Ring-billed Gull with Advanced Post-juvenile Molt
From: Amar Ayyash <amarayyash AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2015 05:33:01 -0500
Yesterday, 29 August 2015, I photographed a fairly advanced hatch year
Ring-billed Gull showing some interesting patterns (URL to photos below.
Chicago, Illinois).

Virtually all of the juvenile scapulars have been replaced, although with
faint brown centers. About half of the upperwing median coverts were also
renewed. Here's where it started to get interesting: the lowest tertial (on
the right wing) also appears advanced (all gray but with an obvious brown
shaft streak). All of this isn't unheard of in HY RBGUs this early in the
season, but it certainly isn't common.

What did strike me as unusual is the bases to the upper tertials - they're
mature, adult-like, gray! My very limited understanding of what causes
these bi-colored feathers is variable hormonal/chemical processes during
feather development, which is also time-dependent (i.e., feathers
molted/grown early on will generally appear less advanced than those grown
late). Confounding matters on this bird, though, is the advanced lower
tertial. What may have caused this tertial to take on a different pattern
than the tertials sitting above it? Did they grow out at different times?
Are these necessarily feathers from two different plumages (i.e., basic
versus formative/alternate)?  Any insight on this - if only loose personal
theories - would be greatly appreciated.

PHOTOS:
https://goo.gl/iQZEc8


Amar Ayyash
Frankfort, Illinois

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Requesting opinions on odd peep
From: julian hough <jrhough1 AT SNET.NET>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2015 04:59:00 -0700
Hi Suzanne,

Looking at your pix, your bird is a Semi-p; a fresh juv that still has that 
deep, pink-buff breast band typical of Sesa in August- this will wear off as 
the fall progresses. 

The pale, silvery fringes to the fresh scaps do recall Baird's superficially, 
but are still fine for Sesa. 

The split supercilium is variable in many stints and peeps and not troubling to 
me and often seen on juv Sesa. 

I don't see anything odd shapewise that would push me away from the id of Sesa 
since most other features fit well with that id. 

Best,
Julian



------------------------------
On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 9:26 PM EDT Suzanne Sullivan wrote:

>Hello All,
>I was wondering if some folks out there would take a look at this confusing
> peep. It  was photographed at Sandy Point Plum Island Massachusetts a few
>days ago.
>
>From a distant this bird caught my eye for 3 reasons, the color,  the
>pattern on the scaps and coverts ( almost Baird’s like). and the odd shape
>( very front heavy, deep chested). The photos don’t reflect the true orange
>reddish color unfortunately, the under exposed ones come much closer.
>Although there are certainly plenty of "fresh of the press” SESA’s out
>there this one was a different color than I have ever seen.The long, thin
>almost LESA like toes are a mystery to me. Even the shape of this bird
>seems off, almost pinched in the rear end, look like it could tip over..
>The supercillium is split also. Do I see stint characteristics? Or is this
>just a very strange SESA? Hybrid? There is no web at all between the inner
>toes, but looks like there is one between the outer toes.
>Can a SESA have this  feature. Can a stint? I looked and looked and looked
>for an example of a SESA foot that would look like this ? I have not been
>able to find anything written either.
>
>All the photos are not great and they are digiscoped in cloudy conditions.
>The exposures aren’t great, I started high and went down to the lower so I
>could focus better (have to manual focus.), it was distant and they are
>cropped well. I left the option to "right click” open if someone
>wants/needs to enlarge on their own computer.
>http://www.pbase.com/suzsull/odd_peep
>Thank you in advance.
>-- 
>Suzanne M. Sullivan
>Wilmington, MA
>swampy435 AT gmail.com
>
>Be the Voice of the River
>http://www.ipswichriver.org
>
>Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Requesting opinions on odd peep
From: Suzanne Sullivan <swampy435 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:26:45 -0400
Hello All,
I was wondering if some folks out there would take a look at this confusing
 peep. It  was photographed at Sandy Point Plum Island Massachusetts a few
days ago.

From a distant this bird caught my eye for 3 reasons, the color,  the
pattern on the scaps and coverts ( almost Baird’s like). and the odd shape
( very front heavy, deep chested). The photos don’t reflect the true orange
reddish color unfortunately, the under exposed ones come much closer.
Although there are certainly plenty of "fresh of the press” SESA’s out
there this one was a different color than I have ever seen.The long, thin
almost LESA like toes are a mystery to me. Even the shape of this bird
seems off, almost pinched in the rear end, look like it could tip over..
The supercillium is split also. Do I see stint characteristics? Or is this
just a very strange SESA? Hybrid? There is no web at all between the inner
toes, but looks like there is one between the outer toes.
Can a SESA have this  feature. Can a stint? I looked and looked and looked
for an example of a SESA foot that would look like this ? I have not been
able to find anything written either.

All the photos are not great and they are digiscoped in cloudy conditions.
The exposures aren’t great, I started high and went down to the lower so I
could focus better (have to manual focus.), it was distant and they are
cropped well. I left the option to "right click” open if someone
wants/needs to enlarge on their own computer.
http://www.pbase.com/suzsull/odd_peep
Thank you in advance.
-- 
Suzanne M. Sullivan
Wilmington, MA
swampy435 AT gmail.com

Be the Voice of the River
http://www.ipswichriver.org

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office.
From: Paul Wood <paul.r.wood AT UK.PWC.COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 06:53:42 +0100
I will be out of the office from 27/08/2015 until 01/09/2015.

I will respond to your message when I return.




Note: This is an automated response to your message BIRDWG01 Digest - 24
Aug 2015 to 27 Aug 2015 (#2015-93) sent on 28/08/2015 06:01:20. This is the
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Subject: Collaborative Identification and the future of Rarity Assessment
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:02:40 +0100
Hi,

 

Some thoughts on Collaborative Identification and the future of Rarity
Assessment.  

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/human-bias-collaborative-
identification.html 

 

With the arrival of new online decision making tools like Loomio (
 https://www.loomio.org/) are we seeing the start
of the end for rarity committees and what are some of the challenges ahead?

 

Through the internet we now have to power to harness the knowledge of an
entire birding community for rarity assessment and to help manage regional
and national bird lists?  Loomio is an example of a decision making tool for
democracy but bird identification is not a democratic process.  There are
other hurdles like group think and the problem of 'birds of unknown origin'
that need to be overcome.  But where there is a will there is a way.

 

Perhaps it is time for that debate.

 

Regards

 

Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts
From: Reid Martin <upupa AT AIRMAIL.NET>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2015 09:40:07 -0500
Dear Julian/All,
FYI I have created a page on my web site that illustrates some of issues Julian 
has mentioned: 


http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/SATE2.html

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com





On Aug 18, 2015, at Aug 18, 10:10 AM, julian hough wrote:

> David et al.,
> Birders in the mid-Atlantic states are and should be mindful of the potential 
of Eurasian 'sandvichensis', given the record of adults in Chicago and more 
recently Massachusetts. Much of the current identification info of 
'sandvichensis' and 'acuflavida' is based on information that has come out of 
the investigation that Cabot's (acuflavida) Tern reach Europe as vagrants. 
Martin Garner has delineated and championed some of the key points and gives 
links to Greg Neise's thorough documentation of the Chicago bird which is 
invaluable and informative: 
http://birdingfrontiers.com/2013/11/04/eurasian-sandwich-tern-in-north-america/ 

> David's pix show a bird that is quite worn and molting crown feathers and for 
me this bird, in this state of molt, would be a difficult one to assess…most of 
the outer primaries are worn, and the inner primaries look worn. 
"Sandvichensis', according to the literature, molt earlier and so perhaps this 
individual's state of molt perhaps fits 'acuflavida' better? 

> In assessing a hurricane corpse of a CT "sandwich Tern" to eliminate 
'sandvichensis', it became evident that some features used to separate these 
two races/taxon can be difficult to judge, especially now, in August, when wear 
and molt may impact a true assessment of the key features of primary fringes 
and head pattern that are helpful in separating these forms. Bill size and 
shape is often ambiguous in some birds, and while the CT bird had broad pale 
fringes to the newly-moulted inner primaries very suggestive of 
'sandvichensis', it is the shape and pattern of the outer primaries that are 
more reliable (Neise and Garner, pers.comm) which wasn't something that was 
highlighted in the current information and should be borne in mind when 
deciding which actual primaries on which to concentrate. 

> Regards,
> Julian Julian Hough New Haven, CT 06519 www.naturescapeimages.wordpress.com 
> 
> 
> On Monday, August 17, 2015 9:16 PM, David Hollie  
wrote: 

> 
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> I am currently working as a Roseate Tern resighter in Cape Cod,
> Massachusetts. Yesterday (August 16, 2015), I photographed a
> Sandwich/Cabot's Tern. Having never seen the nominate *sandvicensis* before,
> I do not feel experienced enough to make the call as to the subspecies (or
> species, depending on who you ask!) of this tern and would really
> appreciate some feedback. Since my job involves sorting through hundreds
> and thousands of terns every day, it is not unlikely that I will run into
> another Sandwich/Cabot's Tern, and I would like to be prepared if I do see
> another one.
> Photos of the tern (as well as my comments) are in the eBird checklist
> linked below. If you would like to see larger photos, click on one of them
> and it will take you to flickr where you can zoom in on them.
> 
> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24643201
> 
> Good Birding!
> 
> David Hollie
> Ringgold, GA (currently in Eastham, MA)
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> 
> 
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office.
From: Paul Wood <paul.r.wood AT UK.PWC.COM>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2015 06:44:26 +0100
I will be out of the office from 21/08/2015 until 25/08/2015.

I will respond to your message when I return.




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Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Help with Seaside Sparrow images
From: Ian McLaren <I.A.McLaren AT DAL.CA>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2015 16:23:46 +0000
All:


I wonder if anybody familiar with s.e. U.S. Seaside Sparrows might help me on 
possible IDs of of images of the three birds that I obtained near Halifax, NS, 
in Jan 74 and Jan 80. Many years ago I concluded from the (confusing) 
literature that two of them were nominate maritimus and one possibly 
macgillivraii. The latter also seems to match some web-available images. And it 
would not be totally unlikely, given that we also have an amply confirmed 
specimen of waynei Marsh Wren from the same s.e. US coastal marshes. 



So, if anyone can help, please contact me and I will send the images in 
question. 



Thanks and cheers,


Ian McLaren

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Progress on a Birders Digital Identification Manual
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2015 09:24:22 +0100
All,

 

Some recent postings that might be of interest.  

 

For the gull enthusiasts some work on digital grey scales and gulls.  Under
Shadow Topography I look at the hidden bird topography defined by a bird's
shape and the interaction with light and shadow.  A bit of time in recent
months spent under the topic of gestalt looking at the issues of taking
measurements from bird photographs and related topics.  Also spent a bit of
time again on the complexity of light including a closer look at how
perspective affects tones, the difference between direct and diffuse
lighting in images and some optical illusions we should be aware of.
Finally a bit of forensics - the dangers of fringe artefacts when working in
RAW, maximising image sharpness and some of the science behind 3D lighting
and vignetting.  Hope you find some of this useful.

 

For those interested in getting email updates from the blog I have a set up
a link and some other widgets such as a translate button, visitor trends and
the most popular posts.  

 

If anyone has an interesting imaging puzzle or an area you think the blog
should look at I'd love to hear from you.

 

BIRDS AND LIGHT

Foliage Canopy Edge - where many of us will be training our bins and cameras
over the next couple of months

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/birds-and-light-foliage-c
anopy-edge.html 

 

COLOUR

Beak Colouration

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/05/colour-beak-colouration.h
tml

 

FIELD MARKS

Grey scales and gulls

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/06/field-marks-grey-scales-a
nd-gulls.html

Shadow Topography

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/field-marks-shadow-topogr
aphy.html 

 

FORENSICS

Cosine fourth law explains natural vignetting

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/06/forensics-cosine-fourth-l
aw-of.html 

Lambert's cosine law explains how illuminance works in 3D environments

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/06/forensics-lamberts-cosine
-law.html 

Maximising Image Sharpness

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/06/forensics-maximum-image-s
harpness.html

Fringe Artefacts while working in Raw

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/05/forensics-fringe-artefact
s-while.html 

 

GESTALT

Measurements from photographs

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-measurements-from
-photographs.html 

The limitations of primary projection

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-pr
imary.html 

The limitations of bill to eye ratio

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-bi
ll-to-eye-ratio.html 

The limitations of GISS (General Impressions of size and shape)

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-gi
ss-general.html

The limitations of leg proportion analysis

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-le
g-proportion.html 

Simple 3D modelling from 2D images.  A potentially useful tool

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/gestalt-simple-3d-modelli
ng-from-2d.html

Beak Structure and Shape

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/05/gestalt-beak-shape.html 

An Irish Etymology for JIZZ

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/05/gestalt-irish-etymology-o
f-jizz.html 

 

HUMAN BIAS

Lighting and Perspective (Part 2)

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/birds-and-light-lighting-
and.html 

Brightness Illusions - pales parts of a bird in the shade often appear
brighter than the really are.

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/human-bias-brightness-ill
usions.html 

Tonal gradient illusions - the relative brightness of individual feather
tracts may be influenced by neighbouring tracts.

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/human-bias-tonal-gradient
-illusions.html

 

Regards

 

Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland

 

 
http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/ 

 

 

 

UPDATE MAY 2015

From: Mike O'Keeffe [mailto:okeeffeml AT eircom.net] 
Sent: 01 May 2015 19:00
To: 'BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU'; 'Irish Bird Network'
Subject: Progress on a Birders Digital Identification Manual

 

All,

 

Members of this list may find some recent blog postings of interest.  The
scope of the blog is about as wide as it is likely to get.  There are a web
of strands of investigation now ongoing.  These cross in various places but
I have kept them separate below and as separate pages in the blog. So
hopefully people can easily find what they have an interest in.  Hope people
are finding this stuff of use.  Feedback as always welcome.

 

BIRDS AND LIGHT

Lighting under foliage canopy - it is about that green light we experience
in temperate zones right about now.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/03/birds-and-light-under-fol
iage-canopy.html

 

 

COLOUR

Birders Colour Pallet Rev. 2.0 - A pallet designed with birders in mind to
help with the objective analysis of colour from digital images. 

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/03/birders-colour-pallet-rev
-20.html

UV reflectance in Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus.  A continuation of one of
the more popular series of postings in this blog.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/colour-blue-tit-uv-reflec
tance.html

Colour Profiling - A technique for comparing subtle colour differences
between different images and individual birds.  Chiffchaff forms looked at
here.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/03/chiffchaff-colour-profile
-revisited.html

Colour Saturation Experiments - saturation is interesting as it is not
measured by the camera.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/colour-bold-and-bland.htm
l

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/birders-colour-pallet-col
our-saturation.html

The links between brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpening tools,
post-processing.  All post-processing modifications have a knock-on effect
on colour.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/birders-colour-pallet-eff
ects-of-image.html 

 

 

FIELD MARKS (A categorisation based on feather structure)

A Summary

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-summary-of-fi
eld-marks.html

Fringes, Notches and Tips - i.e. the outer rim

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-fringes-notch
es-and-tips.html

Feather centres - i.e. from the edge inwards.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-feather-centr
es-subterminal.html

Shaft-streaks and Tramlines - i.e. closest to the feather centre.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/field-marks-shaft-streaks
-and-tramlines.html

Colours

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-colours.html

 

FIELD MARKS (Analysis - The Bold versus The Bland)

A Summary of the concept that field marks effectively come in two forms,
bold markings and bland markings.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-bold-and-blan
d.html

Testing the concept

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-field-exposur
e-test.html

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-focus-test.ht
ml

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/02/field-marks-white-balance
-test.html

 

FIELD MARKS (Lighting Considerations)

Lighting and avian anatomy

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/field-marks-lighting-and-
avian-anatomy.html

Lighting and bareparts

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/field-marks-lighting-and-
bare-parts.html

Shadow Topography - when field marks and contours align we have a potential
problem

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/field-marks-shadow-topogr
aphy.html 

False Malar Stripe - one of the more prominent false field marks, owing to a
bald patch, the submalar apterium

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/field-marks-false-malar-s
tripe.html

False Contrast - Manipulating image contrast can make some field marks go
away and cause others to magically appear

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/field-marks-false-contras
t.html

 

FIELD MARKS (False Field Marks)

A summary

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/03/field-marks-false-field-m
arks.html

 

 

FORENSICS

Lighting and shadow direction - a couple of techniques to gauge lighting
direction in an image

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/forensics-analysis-of-lig
hting-and.html

3D Modelling - potential uses in understanding lighting

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/forensics-3d-analysis.htm
l

 

 

GESTALT

An overview - summarising an area where the blog will be heading

 
http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/gestalt-overview.html 

 

 

HUMAN BIAS

Colour - "The Dress" Viral Phenomenon, 2015 - an incredible mass optical
illusion from earlier this year.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/03/the-dress-viral-phenomeno
n_25.html

 

Regards

 

Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland

 

 
http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/ 

 

 

UPDATE JANUARY 2015

 

From: Mike O'Keeffe [mailto:okeeffeml AT eircom.net] 
Sent: 21 January 2015 07:56
To: 'BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU'; 'Irish Bird Network'
Subject: On human cognitive bias, birds and light, and image forensics

 

All,

 

Members of this list may find some recent postings of interest.  

 

FORENSICS / BIRDS AND LIGHT

Lighting and Avian Anatomy

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/field-marks-lighting-and-
avian-anatomy.html 

Lighting and Bareparts

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/field-marks-lighting-and-
bare-parts.html

Underexposure

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/forensics-gaussian-analys
is.html 

Artefacts

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/forensics-gaussian-analys
is-artefacts.html 

White Balance

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/forensics-gaussian-analys
is-white.html 

Lighting and Perspective

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/birds-and-light-lighting-
and-perspective.html 

Defocus

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/forensics-gaussian-analys
is-defocus.html

Colour Sample Homogeneity - a technique using the Gaussian Blur Tool

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/colour-sampling-sample-ho
mogenity-and.html 

High Dynamic Range Imaging

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/forensics-hdr-imaging-fro
m-raw.html

Lighting in Arid and Semiarid Areas

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/birds-and-light-arid-and-
semiarid-areas.html 

Lighting in Snow and Ice

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/11/birds-and-light-on-snow-i
ce.html 

Winter Solstice

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/winter-solstice-in-irelan
d.html 

 

HUMAN COGNITIVE BIAS AND BIRD IDENTIFICATION

An Introduction

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/an-introduction-to-human-
bias.html 

Distraction

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/human-bias-distraction.ht
ml 

Memory Bias

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/human-bias-memory.html

Evaluation Bias

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/human-bias-evaluation.htm
l 

The Self and the Group

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/human-bias-self-group.htm
l

Experimental Bias

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/human-bias-experimental.h
tml 

Ten Tips

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/01/human-bias-summary-conclu
sions.html 

 

A QUICK DIGITAL IMAGING REFERENCE GUIDE

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/12/quick-reference-guide.htm
l 

 

 

Regards

 

Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
From: Peter Adriaens <p_adriaens AT YAHOO.COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 02:29:05 +0000
Hi all, 

this is a very, very late reply on this Korean gull, but I have been traveling 
and had not yet seen the debate. 


First of all, it would be good to establish the age of the bird beyond doubt. 
The observer presumes that the bird was in its first cycle, but the only ageing 
criteria used seem rather 'soft', 

namely dark eye, dark bill, and lack of any grey wing-coverts. 
I would add that the photo at 
http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Identification/ID_Notes/images/Gangneung-Gull-11.jpg 
clinches the age as first winter indeed; 

the regular pattern of parallel dark bars across the greater coverts certainly 
makes these feathers look juvenile, so I agree on the age. 


My first thought on seeing the pictures, however, was that I have photographed 
a few not too dissimilar birds in Japan. 

As a European birder it is a bit intimidating to go against the opinion of 
someone who sees Slaty-backed Gulls all the time like Nial, but I cannot help 
having the impression that the debate too quickly shifted away from this 
species and towards American taxa. 


I have uploaded a few of my photos here: 
http://www.pbase.com/smiths_1/1cslatybackedgullsPhotos were taken in early 
March 2012. 


These birds may be not that extreme as the Korean gull, but I feel that they 
contradict a few of the statements on the birdskorea webpages, and with 
distant, biref views in dull evening light they might give a similar 
impression. Also, earlier on in winter their plumage may have been even darker 
(photos were taken in March, so three months later in the first cycle than the 
Korean bird). 

At the least, these images show that dark grey body colour, extensive dark grey 
on scapulars, dark underside of outer hand, as well as extensively blackish 
tail contrasting with white rump and uppertail coverts can be found in some 
first-cycle East Asian large gulls. 

Can we really be sure that an aberrantly dark Slaty-backed Gull has been ruled 
out here? 


Cheers,Peter

 


     On Thursday, July 9, 2015 7:18 AM, Peter Pyle  wrote:
   
 

 Hello all -

Nial Moores of Birds Korea requests opinion and commentary on a 
candidate first-cycle Western Gull photographed in Gangneung this 
past December. I believe it would represent the first record for the 
Palearctic. Please feel free to comment directly to Nial via the 
above email address and/or to the group.

http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=16214

Thanks, Peter

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
   
Subject: Re: Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts
From: julian hough <jrhough1 AT SNET.NET>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:10:39 +0000
David et al.,
Birders in the mid-Atlantic states are and should be mindful of the potential 
of Eurasian 'sandvichensis', given the record of adults in Chicago and more 
recently Massachusetts. Much of the current identification info of 
'sandvichensis' and 'acuflavida' is based on information that has come out of 
the investigation that Cabot's (acuflavida) Tern reach Europe as 
vagrants. Martin Garner has delineated and championed some of the key 
points and gives links to Greg Neise's thorough documentation of the Chicago 
bird which is invaluable 
and informative: http://birdingfrontiers.com/2013/11/04/eurasian-sandwich-tern-in-north-america/ 

David's pix show a bird that is quite worn and molting crown feathers and for 
me this bird, in this state of molt, would be a difficult one to assess
most 
of the outer primaries are worn, and the inner primaries look worn. 
"Sandvichensis', according to the literature, molt earlier and so perhaps this 
individual's state of molt perhaps fits 'acuflavida' better? 

In assessing a hurricane corpse of a CT "sandwich Tern" to eliminate 
'sandvichensis', it became evident that some features used to separate these 
two races/taxon can be difficult to judge, especially now, in August, when wear 
and molt may impact a true assessment of the key features of primary fringes 
and head pattern that are helpful in separating these forms. Bill size and 
shape is often ambiguous in some birds, and while the CT bird had broad pale 
fringes to the newly-moulted inner primaries very suggestive of 
'sandvichensis',  it is the shape and pattern of the outer primaries that are 
more reliable (Neise and Garner, pers.comm) which wasn't something that was 
highlighted in the current information and should be borne in mind when 
deciding which actual primaries on which to concentrate. 

Regards,
Julian Julian Hough New Haven, CT 06519 www.naturescapeimages.wordpress.com 


 On Monday, August 17, 2015 9:16 PM, David Hollie  
wrote: 

   

 Hi all,

I am currently working as a Roseate Tern resighter in Cape Cod,
Massachusetts. Yesterday (August 16, 2015), I photographed a
Sandwich/Cabot's Tern. Having never seen the nominate *sandvicensis* before,
I do not feel experienced enough to make the call as to the subspecies (or
species, depending on who you ask!) of this tern and would really
appreciate some feedback. Since my job involves sorting through hundreds
and thousands of terns every day, it is not unlikely that I will run into
another Sandwich/Cabot's Tern, and I would like to be prepared if I do see
another one.
Photos of the tern (as well as my comments) are in the eBird checklist
linked below. If you would like to see larger photos, click on one of them
and it will take you to flickr where you can zoom in on them.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24643201

Good Birding!

David Hollie
Ringgold, GA (currently in Eastham, MA)

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


  
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Cabot's/Sandwich Tern ID - Massachusetts
From: David Hollie <featherbrain1223 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 20:28:43 -0400
Hi all,

I am currently working as a Roseate Tern resighter in Cape Cod,
Massachusetts. Yesterday (August 16, 2015), I photographed a
Sandwich/Cabot's Tern. Having never seen the nominate *sandvicensis* before,
I do not feel experienced enough to make the call as to the subspecies (or
species, depending on who you ask!) of this tern and would really
appreciate some feedback. Since my job involves sorting through hundreds
and thousands of terns every day, it is not unlikely that I will run into
another Sandwich/Cabot's Tern, and I would like to be prepared if I do see
another one.
Photos of the tern (as well as my comments) are in the eBird checklist
linked below. If you would like to see larger photos, click on one of them
and it will take you to flickr where you can zoom in on them.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24643201

Good Birding!

David Hollie
Ringgold, GA (currently in Eastham, MA)

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico
From: karlson3 AT COMCAST.NET
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 18:59:18 +0000
Noah and all: 
this is an adult Spotted Sandpiper transitioning to nonbreeding plumage. Common 
Sandpiper averages longer tailed, although some Spotted's can have longer tails 
than depicted in most guides. Your bird has a slightly decurved bill, which it 
typical of Spotted Sandpiper and not Common, which has a slightly longer and 
slightly more slender straight bill. Common also shows a duskier upper breast 
on average. No reason to suspect Common Sandpiper on this bird, and all of your 
behavioral observations occur in both species depending upon their moods or 
behavior. Kevin Karlson 


----- Original Message -----

From: "Noah Arthur"  
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU 
Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2015 11:30:11 PM 
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico 

A couple hours ago, in fading light, I photographed a most unusual Actitis 
sandpiper at a pond in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I first noticed it as a very 
dark-backed Actitis that looked long, tall, and attenuated; structurally 
very like Solitary Sandpiper. I kept having to look closely at the bird 
again prove to myself that I wasn't watching a Solitary. It almost never 
noticeably teetered its rear end, and often craned its neck far forward, 
recalling Upland Sandpiper! 

Some bad pics including a spread underwing video-grab: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/73989529 AT N02/albums/72157657291740982 

I'll try to get the full videos uploaded soon. I want to get the word out 
as fast as possible if this bird looks good... So what do you think, is 
this a good candidate for Common Sandpiper? 

Noah Arthur, Oakland, CA/Lincoln, NE 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html 


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico
From: John Sterling <jsterling AT WAVECABLE.COM>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2015 21:48:57 -0700
tail is too short for a Common Sandpiper

John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling AT wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com

Monterey Seabirds
www.montereyseabirds.com
(831) 375-4658


> On Aug 15, 2015, at 8:30 PM, Noah Arthur  wrote:
> 
> A couple hours ago, in fading light, I photographed a most unusual Actitis
> sandpiper at a pond in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I first noticed it as a very
> dark-backed Actitis that looked long, tall, and attenuated; structurally
> very like Solitary Sandpiper. I kept having to look closely at the bird
> again prove to myself that I wasn't watching a Solitary. It almost never
> noticeably teetered its rear end, and often craned its neck far forward,
> recalling Upland Sandpiper!
> 
> Some bad pics including a spread underwing video-grab:
> https://www.flickr.com/photos/73989529 AT N02/albums/72157657291740982
> 
> I'll try to get the full videos uploaded soon. I want to get the word out
> as fast as possible if this bird looks good... So what do you think, is
> this a good candidate for Common Sandpiper?
> 
> Noah Arthur, Oakland, CA/Lincoln, NE
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Common Sandpiper candidate in New Mexico
From: Noah Arthur <semirelicta AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2015 22:30:11 -0500
A couple hours ago, in fading light, I photographed a most unusual Actitis
sandpiper at a pond in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I first noticed it as a very
dark-backed Actitis that looked long, tall, and attenuated; structurally
very like Solitary Sandpiper. I kept having to look closely at the bird
again prove to myself that I wasn't watching a Solitary. It almost never
noticeably teetered its rear end, and often craned its neck far forward,
recalling Upland Sandpiper!

Some bad pics including a spread underwing video-grab:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/73989529 AT N02/albums/72157657291740982

I'll try to get the full videos uploaded soon. I want to get the word out
as fast as possible if this bird looks good... So what do you think, is
this a good candidate for Common Sandpiper?

Noah Arthur, Oakland, CA/Lincoln, NE

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Mystery bird from Colorado in May
From: quetzal65 AT COMCAST.NET
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:22:26 +0000
A friend photographed a bird back on May 9, 2015, that we thought at the time 
was a female Scott's Oriole, which would be rare at that location (Hasty 
Campground below the Arkansas River dam at John Martin Reservoir State Park, in 
Bent County,, southeastern Colorado). We did not see it well in the field so we 
are relying on this one photograph to document the identification. In preparing 
to submit the record to the Colorado Bird Records Committee, I find myself 
questioning the ID of Scott's Oriole. But if not that, then what is it? I am 
stumped. Any suggestions? The photo is at 
http://www.pbase.com/quetzal/image/160066076. 


Nick Komar 
Fort Collins CO 

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Paul R Wood/UK/TLS/PwC is out of the office.
From: Paul Wood <paul.r.wood AT UK.PWC.COM>
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 07:00:03 +0100
I will be out of the office from 07/08/2015 until 10/08/2015.

I will respond to your message when I return.




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2015 to 7 Aug 2015 (#2015-84) sent on 08/08/2015 06:00:08. This is the only
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Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Birding Images in 3D
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 07:59:25 +0100
Hi Mark,

 

Thanks for the response.  

 

The Purpose

There are multiple uses for 3D models but I’ll briefly discuss two that 
interest me at the moment. 


 

Gestalt

When trying to measure size and shape from 2D images we constantly run into the 
problem of perspective foreshortening. Accurate 3D models allow us to 
manipulate a model to align it for measurement. In birding we often talk about 
primary projection, eye/bill ratios, tibia/tarsus ratios and so on. In recent 
postings on the blog I outlined in turn why each of these is seriously 
problematic. A 3D model gives us a much clearer appreciation of the relative 
proportions of things and also opens up the possibility of accurate comparative 
measurements being taken remotely. 


For more see various postings below


http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-measurements-from-photographs.html 



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-primary.html 



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-bill-to-eye-ratio.html 



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-leg-proportion.html 



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/07/gestalt-limitations-of-giss-general.html 


 

Understanding Lighting

Lighting and shadows can cause a lot of confusion in terms of identification. A 
3D model can be introduced to an artificial lighting environment where lighting 
can be played around with to try and replicate and explain the lighting in a 
specific context. This type of technology has been used in the past for example 
by Prof. Hany Farid of Darthmouth College to verify if an image is real or 
fake. 


For more see this posting and related video.


http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/04/forensics-analysis-of-lighting-and.html 


 

Time Required

Modern computers can work through the calculations required for generate these 
models in a matter of minutes. Here is a rough idea of how long this particular 
model took. 


2 minutes to download the software programmes 

2 minutes to crop the images and upload to Visual SFM

1 minute to do a comparison of points in the images

1 minute to generate the point cloud

5 minutes to generate the mesh

Job done in under 10 minutes with minimal effort.

 

Depending on the size and complexity of the model it could take up to an hour 
to work through a highly complex model. The video of the rock linked to in the 
posting is a good example. 


To give you another example. There are software programs that will break up a 
video into its frames and put the frames in a folder. This can be uploaded to 
Visual SFM and a 3D model can be created from the video file. This is not hard 
work! 


 

Expense 

If you own a camera currently this software is totally free. If you looked at 
the rock video linked from the posting it should be clear that there is no end 
to the fine detail and complexity that can be modelled. 


 

Limitations with moving subjects

This is a first stab. I have no doubt that the results can be greatly improved 
upon. I think it is amazing that a 3D model can be generated from a series of 
stills of a moving subject and the more stills the better the model. The beauty 
of this technique is that it filters out mismatches so what we end up with is 
an average shape, average lighting and texture on our model. I look forward to 
more trails. 


 

Regards

 

Mike O’Keeffe

Ireland

 

 

 

 

From: MBB22222 AT aol.com [mailto:MBB22222 AT aol.com] 
Sent: 07 August 2015 06:40
To: okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET; BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Birding Images in 3D

 

And what would be a purpose to use that? In the process many important details 
would be lost so it cannot be use for any serious purpose; perhaps some 
presentations to try impress the audience? Can the time spend to play with 
these applications be justified for this kind of results? Perhaps I am missing 
something? For example I see a purpose to scan bones and present a 3D model of 
the skeleton, or internal organs, etc. But these tasks require some serious, 
expensive equipment, not only software. Using photo camera to do a just a 
decent job would required literally hundreds if not thousands of photos to be 
taken of not moving bird (dead, stuffed) and cannot be done in the field for 
obvious reasons
 I am sure many new things will happen in the future. 


 

Kind regards,

 

Mark B Bartosik

 

In a message dated 8/6/2015 5:53:54 P.M. Central Daylight Time, 
okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET writes: 


Hi,



Ever wondered if it might be possible to create 3D models from your bird
images?  Well it is!  And guess what?  The software solutions are free!

For more check out my blog.



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/gestalt-simple-3d-modelli
ng-from-2d.html 



Is this the future?



Regards



Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Birding Images in 3D
From: Mark B Bartosik <MBB22222 AT AOL.COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 01:39:47 -0400
And what would be a purpose to use that? In the process many important  
details would be lost so it cannot be use for any serious purpose; perhaps some 

 presentations to try impress the audience? Can the time spend to play with 
these  applications  be justified for this kind of results? Perhaps I am 
missing  something? For example I see a purpose to scan bones and present a 3D 
model of  the skeleton, or internal organs, etc. But these tasks require 
some serious,  expensive equipment, not only software. Using photo camera to 
do a just a decent  job would required literally hundreds if not thousands of 
photos to be taken of  not moving bird (dead, stuffed) and cannot be done 
in the field for obvious  reasons
 I am sure many new things will happen in 
the future. 
 
Kind regards,
 
Mark B Bartosik
 
 
In a message dated 8/6/2015 5:53:54 P.M. Central Daylight Time,  
okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET writes:

Hi,



Ever wondered if it might be possible to create  3D models from your bird
images?  Well it is!  And guess  what?  The software solutions are free!

For more check out my  blog.



http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/gestalt-simple-3d-modelli
ng-from-2d.html  



Is this the future?



Regards



Mike  O'Keeffe

Ireland


Archives:  http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Birding Images in 3D
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 23:52:07 +0100
Hi,

 

Ever wondered if it might be possible to create 3D models from your bird
images?  Well it is!  And guess what?  The software solutions are free!

For more check out my blog.

 

http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2015/08/gestalt-simple-3d-modelli
ng-from-2d.html 

 

Is this the future?

 

Regards

 

Mike O'Keeffe

Ireland


Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: "Buttons" the Passenger Pigeon -- perhaps not pure Passenger?
From: Noah Arthur <semirelicta AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:33:23 -0500
Hi everyone. I was looking at some Passenger Pigeon photos today, and
noticed that the specimen named "Buttons" -- the last known wild Passenger
-- looks rather different from the other specimens and live photos. She's
dark and uniformly-colored on the foreparts, with a strong contrast between
the dark, grayish breast and pale belly. No photos of other Passengers seem
to show this contrast.

The pattern reminds me somewhat of Rock Pigeon. I wonder... Might "Buttons"
have been a RockXPassenger hybrid??

Here's a couple photos of the specimen:
http://www.birdzilla.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/121-500x280.jpg
https://ohiohistory.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/buttons-copy.jpg

Noah Arthur, Oakland, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: King or Cling Rail?
From: Michael Britt <sootyshear AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:08:59 -0400
Good afternoon,

I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on this rail. First some background.

Last year in Bayonne, NJ, we had a King Rail pair with and produce hybrid
offspring with a Clapper Rail in saltmarsh habitat. A picture of that bird
is actually featured in the species BNA Online account, under the heading
"Breeding."

This year a candidate for King Rail is present but it seems to be a
different bird based on the extent of gray in the malar region,
supercilium, and nape. Some are suggesting that this bird may be one of
last year's hybrid offspring. I posted two recent pics on my Flickr page,
please view and comment. King or Cling...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60325724 AT N02

Thanks,
Mike Britt
Bayonne, NJ

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper?
From: Suzanne Sullivan <swampy435 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:47:25 -0400
Jan,
You should take a look at this gallery it may be helpful.
http://www.pbase.com/suzsull/probable_sharp-tailedxdunlin_hybrid
I photographed this bird a few years back in Sept at Sandy Point Plum
Island Massachusetts. Although I never submitted it  to the records
committee, it looks pretty good for Sharp-tailed x Dulin. I think the tail
was the persuading feature.  Your bird and my bird seem to have strong
similarities. I did send my photos  off to  a few folks and Marshall Illiff
had some good comments. I thought I had his comments on my website but they
are not there. If you like I can dig them out of my email and send them to
you.  I also enabled the right click on my website if you want to use any
of the photos and do a side by side or something. Someone else had the same
bird the year before, same place, a week before my sighting. At that time
it was speculated that it was a White-rumpxDunlin, but there were no flight
shots. Blair Nikula also had a couple of pressumed White-rumpxDunlin
hybrids on cape cod a while back. But I don't have the link to those
photos.
Suzanne Sullivan
Wilmington, Ma
swampy435 AT gmail.com

On Monday, July 20, 2015, Jan Jörgensen 
wrote:

> Hi all, again.
>
> Since not all are members on Facebook which is from where I linked the
> Calidris wader,(I should have noted this, sorry for that. I have a better
> link for the bird here:http://tinyurl.com/p6nc7rt
>
> JanJ
> Sweden
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>


-- 
Suzanne M. Sullivan
Wilmington, MA
swampy435 AT gmail.com

Be the Voice of the River
http://www.ipswichriver.org

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper?
From: Jan Jörgensen <birds.jorgensen AT BLIXTMAIL.SE>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 09:40:04 -0500
Hi all, again.

Since not all are members on Facebook which is from where I linked the 
Calidris wader,(I should have noted this, sorry for that. I have a better 
link for the bird here:http://tinyurl.com/p6nc7rt

JanJ
Sweden

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper?
From: Andrew Baksh <birdingdude AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2015 15:12:24 -0400
I saw photos of this bird on Thursday and then I thought it was Dunlin x Curlew 
Sandpiper. The rump and back all look like the said hybrid to my eyes. It's a 
beauty of a bird and well photographed! 


鱹 Swift as the wind
æž—ă€€Quiet as the forest
火 Conquer like the fire
汱 Steady as the mountain
Sun Tzu  The Art of War

> (\__/)
> (= '.'=)                                            
> (") _ (")                                     
> Sent from somewhere in the field using my mobile device! 

Andrew Baksh
www.birdingdude.blogspot.com

> On Jul 19, 2015, at 11:40 AM, Jan Jörgensen  
wrote: 

> 
> Hi all!
> 
> Receently this Calidris was photographed on Öland southeast Sweden.
> ItÂŽs considered to be a Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper.
> Any thoughts would be welcome.
> 
> https://www.facebook.com/dan.klasson.7/media_set?
> set=a.1132967693384558.1073742095.100000140137852&type=3&uploaded=11&hc_loc
> ation=ufi
> 
> Cheres
> JanJ
> Sweden
> 
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper?
From: Jan Jörgensen <birds.jorgensen AT BLIXTMAIL.SE>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2015 10:44:37 -0500
A shorther better link here:

http://tinyurl.com/oykofzr

JanJ

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Hybrid Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper?
From: Jan Jörgensen <birds.jorgensen AT BLIXTMAIL.SE>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2015 10:40:02 -0500
Hi all!

Receently this Calidris was photographed on Öland southeast Sweden.
ItŽs considered to be a Dunlin x Curlew Sandpiper.
Any thoughts would be welcome.

https://www.facebook.com/dan.klasson.7/media_set?
set=a.1132967693384558.1073742095.100000140137852&type=3&uploaded=11&hc_loc
ation=ufi

Cheres
JanJ
Sweden

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: stint fever and migration timing
From: Kevin McLaughlin <kevinmclaughlin05 AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2015 16:51:53 -0400
I thought I would comment on Paul's comparison of early arrival dates of
juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper between western and eastern North America,
giving an Ontario perspective. Going back in my notes to 1980, I discovered
only three July records: July 30, 1994 (2) Blenheim Sewage Lagoons (with
Barb Charlton, Rob Dobos); July 30, 1995 (1) Mitchell Sewage Lagoons (with
BC, RD); July 31, 2005 (1) Rock Point Provincial Park (with Ron Pittaway).
A few juveniles of this species typically begin to appear in southern
Ontario in the first week of August, quickly becoming common after that.

Kevin McLaughlin
Hamilton, Ontario.

On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 12:24 PM, Paul Lehman 
wrote:

> Most everyone is likely bored or over-saturated by this topic by now--but
> I was out of the country until yesterday, so missed out. All I wish to add
> at this time is that the Wyoming bird is indeed likely a Semi Sand photo'd
> in early-morning light BUT that all the comparisons and discussion of
> Little Stint should perhaps have been directed a bit more toward juvenile
> Red-necked Stint, as that species shows a more similar wing-covert pattern
> and breast-side markings pattern to this bird than would most Littles.
> Second, one comment was made that juvenile Semi Sandpipers do not arrive
> along the West Coast until early August or so.  This is not true. Juv.
> Semis are often the first or the second juv peep species to arrive in
> California (where rare but very regular in small numbers), for example, in
> early fall, with TYPICAL arrival dates during the last 4-5 days in July,
> and all-time early arrivals of juveniles around 22 or 23 July. This is
> quite a bit earlier than arrival dates of juvs in eastern North America,
> and has been a well-known difference since the late 1970s, and perhaps is
> due to breeding grounds possibly opening up a bit sooner in coastal Alaska
> than in eastern arctic Canada, for example.
>
> --Paul Lehman,  San Diego
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: stint fever and migration timing
From: Paul Lehman <lehman.paul1 AT VERIZON.NET>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2015 09:24:27 -0700
Most everyone is likely bored or over-saturated by this topic by 
now--but I was out of the country until yesterday, so missed out. All I 
wish to add at this time is that the Wyoming bird is indeed likely a 
Semi Sand photo'd in early-morning light BUT that all the comparisons 
and discussion of Little Stint should perhaps have been directed a bit 
more toward juvenile Red-necked Stint, as that species shows a more 
similar wing-covert pattern and breast-side markings pattern to this 
bird than would most Littles.  Second, one comment was made that 
juvenile Semi Sandpipers do not arrive along the West Coast until early 
August or so.  This is not true. Juv. Semis are often the first or the 
second juv peep species to arrive in California (where rare but very 
regular in small numbers), for example, in early fall, with TYPICAL 
arrival dates during the last 4-5 days in July, and all-time early 
arrivals of juveniles around 22 or 23 July. This is quite a bit earlier 
than arrival dates of juvs in eastern North America, and has been a 
well-known difference since the late 1970s, and perhaps is due to 
breeding grounds possibly opening up a bit sooner in coastal Alaska than 
in eastern arctic Canada, for example.

--Paul Lehman,  San Diego

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 07:41:22 +0100
Norman,

That is a really interesting observation and one I hadn't considered. 
Interesting how gestalt can be altered by biology and the environment. 


Regards

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: norman deans van swelm [mailto:norman.vanswelm AT wxs.nl] 
Sent: 12 July 2015 22:07
To: Tristan McKee; BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos

It's the function of the neck that matters Tristan as in Reeve and godwits it 
enables the parent attending chicks to follow and watch over them in relatively 
high vegetation. 

cheers, Norman

Tristan McKee asks: > Also, does anyone have access to small Calidris 
skeletons? I'd be a bit 

> surprised if the necks of Long-toed and Least are physically identical. 
> I'm
> not sure I'm entirely convinced that these are one anothers' closest 
> relatives--the plumage similarity could be a striking example of 
> convergent evolution, or of past hybridization or even past mimicry.
>
> Here's a Least with its neck largely extended:
>
> http://www.danielslim.com/photo/least-sandpiper-on-village-creeks-mudf
> lat-295
>
> And a Long-toed:
>
> http://beautyofbirds.com/longtoedstints.html
>
> Notice that in extended Least, the lower neck takes on a "volcano"
> appearance, broad at the base with relatively straight edges and 
> tapering suddenly to a "pinch" then bulging at the head, which can 
> give the bird a hunchbacked look. Long-toed with neck extended is 
> "snaky", commonly with a distinctive arch, with a well-defined 
> "hindneck notch" (present on Least but less sharply angled) because 
> the crown/nape junction is squared, but otherwise there is little expansion 
of the head. 

>
> Many thanks,
> Tristan McKee
> Arcata, CA
>
> On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Tristan McKee  wrote:
>
>> Hi Mike and all,
>>
>> Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to clarify that I set up the 
>> formula so that it doesn't matter at all whether the neck is fully 
>> stretched--it's a one-way, so if you get a low value, the bird is not 
>> identified. The idea is just to determine which values are beyond the 
>> range of variation of Least, should the bird happen to stretch its 
>> neck beyond a certain point.
>> As you say, lens distortion and foreshortening need to be carefully 
>> considered.
>>
>> Tristan McKee'
>> Arcata, CA
>>
>> On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 2:47 AM, Mike O'Keeffe 
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Tristan,
>>>
>>> You have set a really tough challenge this time!
>>>
>>> I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you 
>>> point out, for starters you have foreshortening... and there are 
>>> other confounding factors to contend with as outlined below.  You 
>>> have obviously gathered a good sample size which is an important 
>>> start.  I think the way to nail your formula is to create a minimum 
>>> standard and rule out each of the confounding factors in turn.
>>>
>>> In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here 
>>> http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1.
>>> I intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are 
>>> some initial thoughts.
>>>
>>> POSTURE
>>> Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is 
>>> fully extended or not.  Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the 
>>> neck is hidden by feathers and varies greatly in length depending on 
>>> posture.  Assuming for a minute that Long-toed Stints do have 
>>> physically longer necks than Least Sandpipers - how can you be sure 
>>> an individual LT Stint has it's neck extended all the way.  There 
>>> would need to be some reliable way of determining that the neck is 
>>> actually extended as far as it needs to be for compatible 
>>> measurement.  You also have to consider overextension.
>>> Presumably what you are trying to measure here is the typical, 
>>> comfortable neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but not 
>>> over stretching.
>>> Again there might be certain things you would need to look for to 
>>> determine the bird isn't actually overstretching.  Lastly 
>>> consideration would need to be given to physical injuries and 
>>> deformities.
>>>
>>> PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING To minimise perspective issues 
>>> we need to know the camera and lens involved.  Maintaining a 
>>> distance from the subject and using a telehoto lens is preferable to 
>>> using a short lens and taking the image at very close quarters, eg 
>>> in the hand.  As for foreshortening, one way around this would be to 
>>> create a standard mask with key points plotted on it eg.  the ideal 
>>> position if the eye, bill base and points where the legs meet the 
>>> body plus wing and tail tips and numerous other fixed points on the 
>>> body.  This defines the measurement template.  Only images which 
>>> closely match and align with this template would be suitable for 
>>> measurement comparison.
>>> You
>>> could overlay both the Least and Long-toed templates on the same mask.
>>> What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of your 500 data 
>>> set will be suitable for comparison using this template.  But having 
>>> a defined template means that going forward people will know what to 
>>> look for and at what angle to photograph subjects in order to 
>>> compare them to an agreed standard.
>>>
>>> Lens Distortion
>>> In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and 
>>> ensure we are looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens 
>>> must be known and there would need to be a background reference as 
>>> to the risk of lens distortion.  The risk can being minimised by 
>>> always photographing the subject in the centre of the lens and only 
>>> filling the frame about 50%.
>>>
>>> Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely 
>>> tricky subject.
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>
>>> Mike O'Keeffe
>>> Ireland
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
>>> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
>>> Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
>>> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>>> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
>>>
>>> Hi folks,
>>>
>>> The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about 
>>> our initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar 
>>> species cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera 
>>> captures so many details impossible to see in the field due to the 
>>> constant fast movement of these birds or suboptimal viewing 
>>> conditions. In the field, we identify birds much more holistically. 
>>> In photos, we are exposed to many fine details which can vary 
>>> dramatically between individuals.
>>>
>>> My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think 
>>> about it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with 
>>> mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard 
>>> before calling it in..." ;-)
>>>
>>> One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of 
>>> metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in 
>>> California to apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told 
>>> that they are widely used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID 
>>> (and for the review of vagrant Icelands as well).
>>>
>>> Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc.
>>> It makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and 
>>> a short neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for 
>>> Asians looking for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can 
>>> only be used to establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with 
>>> its neck extended is from Least, not the other way around (because 
>>> Long-toeds don't always have their necks extended).
>>>
>>> Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:
>>>
>>> A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to 
>>> shoulder) B = gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck 
>>> length of candidate Long-toed D = gape to nape distance of candidate 
>>> Long-toed
>>>
>>> Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B 
>>> obtained from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements 
>>> of C/D)
>>>
>>> Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest 
>>> fully-extended necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in 
question. 

>>>
>>> The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation 
>>> becomes more accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of 
>>> apparently different individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and 
>>> obtained a maximum A/B of about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will 
>>> increase the value, so you have to be reasonable about which photos 
>>> you use. It's also not always easy to determine exactly where the 
>>> shoulder and auriculars end, so we might predict some 
>>> observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to
>>> 1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more 
>>> precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often 
>>> approach 2.0!
>>>
>>> 1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of 
>>> how much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I 
>>> haven't measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find 
>>> a difference of about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and 
>>> long-necked Least in my sample of 500.
>>>
>>> You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in 
>>> question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended 
>>> and increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your 
>>> test a bit, because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck 
>>> fully extended.
>>>
>>> Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas 
>>> regarding use of metrics in photos.
>>>
>>> Tristan McKee
>>> Arcata, CA
>>>
>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: Tristan McKee <atmckee AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 13:46:45 -0700
To re-thread this discussion back into gulls and stints... It occurred to
me that the equation for a vagrant Iceland Gull candidate vs. a sample of
Glaucous Gulls should have exactly the same form as the equation for a
vagrant Long-toed Stint candidate vs. a sample of Least Sandpipers; i.e.,
we are just trying to determine the extreme value that can reasonably be
achieved by a common species in an inverse relationship between two
lengths. I'm not sure this is the best or simplest form (I'm just a
biologist, not a math geek!), but this is exactly the same equation we use
every time we decide whether to identify a bird based the length of its
bill in comparison to its head. In other words,

A = primary extension beyond tertials of Glaucous Gull
B = bill length of Glaucous Gull
C = primary extension of candidate Iceland Gull
D = bill length of candidate Iceland Gull

Diagnostic value for bird in question = (maximum value of A/B obtained from
n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D)

Watch out for foreshortening and lens distortion!

Be sure to age-stratify your sample, as primary extension and bill length
vary with age in gulls.

1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) provides an easily interpretable percentage of how
different the photo is from the closest Glaucous Gull photo in your sample.

You can increase the accuracy of your assessment of the candidate Iceland
Gull by using multiple photographs of it and thereby increasing g.

The first five 1st-cycle birds labeled as Glaucous Gulls that I measured
gave me a maximum A/B of 1.4 (from the bill tip to inner point of the
gape--i.e., not including the gape-line that continues back and/or down
into the feathers). The first 1st-cycle bird labeled as an Iceland Gull
gave me a C/D of 2.5.

Thus the diagnostic value for this Iceland Gull candidate is:
1.4/2.5 = 0.56 with n = 5 and g = 1

1 - 0.56 = 0.44, so this bird's primary extension/bill length ratio differs
by 44% from the most extreme Glaucous Gull in my sample of 5.

Thanks for any help with improving, simplifying, or testing this formula
(or pointing out where similar formulae have been used elsewhere).

Tristan McKee

Arcata, CA

On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 9:44 AM, Tristan McKee  wrote:

> Also, does anyone have access to small Calidris skeletons? I'd be a bit
> surprised if the necks of Long-toed and Least are physically identical. I'm
> not sure I'm entirely convinced that these are one anothers' closest
> relatives--the plumage similarity could be a striking example of convergent
> evolution, or of past hybridization or even past mimicry.
>
> Here's a Least with its neck largely extended:
>
>
> http://www.danielslim.com/photo/least-sandpiper-on-village-creeks-mudflat-295
>
> And a Long-toed:
>
> http://beautyofbirds.com/longtoedstints.html
>
> Notice that in extended Least, the lower neck takes on a "volcano"
> appearance, broad at the base with relatively straight edges and tapering
> suddenly to a "pinch" then bulging at the head, which can give the bird a
> hunchbacked look. Long-toed with neck extended is "snaky", commonly with a
> distinctive arch, with a well-defined "hindneck notch" (present on Least
> but less sharply angled) because the crown/nape junction is squared, but
> otherwise there is little expansion of the head.
>
> Many thanks,
> Tristan McKee
> Arcata, CA
>
>
> On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Tristan McKee  wrote:
>
>> Hi Mike and all,
>>
>> Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to clarify that I set up the
>> formula so that it doesn't matter at all whether the neck is fully
>> stretched--it's a one-way, so if you get a low value, the bird is not
>> identified. The idea is just to determine which values are beyond the range
>> of variation of Least, should the bird happen to stretch its neck beyond a
>> certain point. As you say, lens distortion and foreshortening need to be
>> carefully considered.
>>
>> Tristan McKee'
>> Arcata, CA
>>
>> On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 2:47 AM, Mike O'Keeffe 
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Tristan,
>>>
>>> You have set a really tough challenge this time!
>>>
>>> I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you point
>>> out, for starters you have foreshortening... and there are other
>>> confounding factors to contend with as outlined below.  You have obviously
>>> gathered a good sample size which is an important start.  I think the way
>>> to nail your formula is to create a minimum standard and rule out each of
>>> the confounding factors in turn.
>>>
>>> In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here
>>> http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1.
>>> I intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are some
>>> initial thoughts.
>>>
>>> POSTURE
>>> Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is fully
>>> extended or not.  Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the neck is hidden
>>> by feathers and varies greatly in length depending on posture.  Assuming
>>> for a minute that Long-toed Stints do have physically longer necks than
>>> Least Sandpipers - how can you be sure an individual LT Stint has it's neck
>>> extended all the way.  There would need to be some reliable way of
>>> determining that the neck is actually extended as far as it needs to be for
>>> compatible measurement.  You also have to consider overextension.
>>> Presumably what you are trying to measure here is the typical, comfortable
>>> neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but not over stretching.
>>> Again there might be certain things you would need to look for to determine
>>> the bird isn't actually overstretching.  Lastly consideration would need to
>>> be given to physical injuries and deformities.
>>>
>>> PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING
>>> To minimise perspective issues we need to know the camera and lens
>>> involved.  Maintaining a distance from the subject and using a telehoto
>>> lens is preferable to using a short lens and taking the image at very close
>>> quarters, eg in the hand.  As for foreshortening, one way around this would
>>> be to create a standard mask with key points plotted on it eg.  the ideal
>>> position if the eye, bill base and points where the legs meet the body plus
>>> wing and tail tips and numerous other fixed points on the body.  This
>>> defines the measurement template.  Only images which closely match and
>>> align with this template would be suitable for measurement comparison.  You
>>> could overlay both the Least and Long-toed templates on the same mask.
>>> What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of your 500 data set will
>>> be suitable for comparison using this template.  But having a defined
>>> template means that going forward people will know what to look for and at
>>> what angle to photograph subjects in order to compare them to an agreed
>>> standard.
>>>
>>> Lens Distortion
>>> In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and ensure
>>> we are looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens must be known and
>>> there would need to be a background reference as to the risk of lens
>>> distortion.  The risk can being minimised by always photographing the
>>> subject in the centre of the lens and only filling the frame about 50%.
>>>
>>> Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely tricky
>>> subject.
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>
>>> Mike O'Keeffe
>>> Ireland
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
>>> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
>>> Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
>>> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>>> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
>>>
>>> Hi folks,
>>>
>>> The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about our
>>> initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar species
>>> cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera captures so many
>>> details impossible to see in the field due to the constant fast movement of
>>> these birds or suboptimal viewing conditions. In the field, we identify
>>> birds much more holistically. In photos, we are exposed to many fine
>>> details which can vary dramatically between individuals.
>>>
>>> My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think about
>>> it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with
>>> mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard before
>>> calling it in..." ;-)
>>>
>>> One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of
>>> metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in California to
>>> apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that they are widely
>>> used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for the review of vagrant
>>> Icelands as well).
>>>
>>> Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc.
>>> It makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a
>>> short neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians
>>> looking for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be used
>>> to establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with its neck extended
>>> is from Least, not the other way around (because Long-toeds don't always
>>> have their necks extended).
>>>
>>> Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:
>>>
>>> A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to shoulder)
>>> B = gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck length of candidate
>>> Long-toed D = gape to nape distance of candidate Long-toed
>>>
>>> Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B
>>> obtained from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D)
>>>
>>> Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest fully-extended
>>> necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in question.
>>>
>>> The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes
>>> more accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently
>>> different individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a maximum
>>> A/B of about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the value, so you
>>> have to be reasonable about which photos you use. It's also not always easy
>>> to determine exactly where the shoulder and auriculars end, so we might
>>> predict some observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to
>>> 1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more
>>> precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often
>>> approach 2.0!
>>>
>>> 1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of how
>>> much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I haven't
>>> measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a difference of
>>> about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and long-necked Least in my
>>> sample of 500.
>>>
>>> You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in
>>> question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended and
>>> increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your test a bit,
>>> because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended.
>>>
>>> Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding
>>> use of metrics in photos.
>>>
>>> Tristan McKee
>>> Arcata, CA
>>>
>>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>>>
>>>
>>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 21:47:25 +0100
Hi Tristan,

I'm certainly not an expert on Least versus Long-toed and I have never tried to 
quantify the maximum neck stretch of either species. 


Of the images of the Little River bird  

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101791769 AT N08/19156426100/in/photostream/
and
https://www.flickr.com/photos/101791769 AT N08/18721641774/in/photostream/

seems to show a neck length and shape awfully like this image... 

http://beautyofbirds.com/longtoedstints.html

So I guess the first question is - is the Little River bird outside the range 
of Least Sandpiper or not? 


Regards

Mike O'Keeffe
Ireland



 


-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee 

Sent: 12 July 2015 16:17
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos

Hi Mike and all,

Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to clarify that I set up the formula so 
that it doesn't matter at all whether the neck is fully stretched--it's a 
one-way, so if you get a low value, the bird is not identified. The idea is 
just to determine which values are beyond the range of variation of Least, 
should the bird happen to stretch its neck beyond a certain point. 

As you say, lens distortion and foreshortening need to be carefully considered.

Tristan McKee'
Arcata, CA

On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 2:47 AM, Mike O'Keeffe  wrote:

> Tristan,
>
> You have set a really tough challenge this time!
>
> I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you 
> point out, for starters you have foreshortening... and there are other 
> confounding factors to contend with as outlined below.  You have 
> obviously gathered a good sample size which is an important start.  I 
> think the way to nail your formula is to create a minimum standard and 
> rule out each of the confounding factors in turn.
>
> In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here 
> http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1.
> I intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are 
> some initial thoughts.
>
> POSTURE
> Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is fully 
> extended or not.  Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the neck is 
> hidden by feathers and varies greatly in length depending on posture.  
> Assuming for a minute that Long-toed Stints do have physically longer 
> necks than Least Sandpipers - how can you be sure an individual LT 
> Stint has it's neck extended all the way.  There would need to be some 
> reliable way of determining that the neck is actually extended as far 
> as it needs to be for compatible measurement. You also have to consider 
overextension. 

> Presumably what you are trying to measure here is the typical, 
> comfortable neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but not over 
stretching. 

> Again there might be certain things you would need to look for to 
> determine the bird isn't actually overstretching.  Lastly 
> consideration would need to be given to physical injuries and deformities.
>
> PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING
> To minimise perspective issues we need to know the camera and lens 
> involved.  Maintaining a distance from the subject and using a 
> telehoto lens is preferable to using a short lens and taking the image 
> at very close quarters, eg in the hand.  As for foreshortening, one 
> way around this would be to create a standard mask with key points 
> plotted on it eg.  the ideal position if the eye, bill base and points 
> where the legs meet the body plus wing and tail tips and numerous 
> other fixed points on the body.  This defines the measurement 
> template.  Only images which closely match and align with this 
> template would be suitable for measurement comparison. You could overlay both 
the Least and Long-toed templates on the same mask. 

> What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of your 500 data set 
> will be suitable for comparison using this template.  But having a 
> defined template means that going forward people will know what to 
> look for and at what angle to photograph subjects in order to compare 
> them to an agreed standard.
>
> Lens Distortion
> In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and 
> ensure we are looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens must 
> be known and there would need to be a background reference as to the 
> risk of lens distortion.  The risk can being minimised by always 
> photographing the subject in the centre of the lens and only filling the 
frame about 50%. 

>
> Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely 
> tricky subject.
>
> Regards
>
> Mike O'Keeffe
> Ireland
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
> Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
>
> Hi folks,
>
> The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about 
> our initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar 
> species cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera 
> captures so many details impossible to see in the field due to the 
> constant fast movement of these birds or suboptimal viewing 
> conditions. In the field, we identify birds much more holistically. In 
> photos, we are exposed to many fine details which can vary dramatically 
between individuals. 

>
> My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think 
> about it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with 
> mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard 
> before calling it in..." ;-)
>
> One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of 
> metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in 
> California to apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that 
> they are widely used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for 
> the review of vagrant Icelands as well).
>
> Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc.
> It makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a 
> short neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians 
> looking for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be 
> used to establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with its neck 
> extended is from Least, not the other way around (because Long-toeds 
> don't always have their necks extended).
>
> Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:
>
> A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to 
> shoulder) B = gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck length 
> of candidate Long-toed D = gape to nape distance of candidate 
> Long-toed
>
> Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B 
> obtained from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of 
> C/D)
>
> Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest 
> fully-extended necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in 
question. 

>
> The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes 
> more accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently 
> different individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a 
> maximum A/B of about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the 
> value, so you have to be reasonable about which photos you use. It's 
> also not always easy to determine exactly where the shoulder and 
> auriculars end, so we might predict some observer-biased variation in 
> this value, perhaps pushing it to
> 1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more 
> precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often 
> approach 2.0!
>
> 1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of 
> how much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I 
> haven't measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a 
> difference of about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and 
> long-necked Least in my sample of 500.
>
> You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in 
> question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended 
> and increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your test 
> a bit, because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended.
>
> Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding 
> use of metrics in photos.
>
> Tristan McKee
> Arcata, CA
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: Tristan McKee <atmckee AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 09:44:29 -0700
Also, does anyone have access to small Calidris skeletons? I'd be a bit
surprised if the necks of Long-toed and Least are physically identical. I'm
not sure I'm entirely convinced that these are one anothers' closest
relatives--the plumage similarity could be a striking example of convergent
evolution, or of past hybridization or even past mimicry.

Here's a Least with its neck largely extended:

http://www.danielslim.com/photo/least-sandpiper-on-village-creeks-mudflat-295

And a Long-toed:

http://beautyofbirds.com/longtoedstints.html

Notice that in extended Least, the lower neck takes on a "volcano"
appearance, broad at the base with relatively straight edges and tapering
suddenly to a "pinch" then bulging at the head, which can give the bird a
hunchbacked look. Long-toed with neck extended is "snaky", commonly with a
distinctive arch, with a well-defined "hindneck notch" (present on Least
but less sharply angled) because the crown/nape junction is squared, but
otherwise there is little expansion of the head.

Many thanks,
Tristan McKee
Arcata, CA

On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Tristan McKee  wrote:

> Hi Mike and all,
>
> Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to clarify that I set up the formula
> so that it doesn't matter at all whether the neck is fully stretched--it's
> a one-way, so if you get a low value, the bird is not identified. The idea
> is just to determine which values are beyond the range of variation of
> Least, should the bird happen to stretch its neck beyond a certain point.
> As you say, lens distortion and foreshortening need to be carefully
> considered.
>
> Tristan McKee'
> Arcata, CA
>
> On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 2:47 AM, Mike O'Keeffe 
> wrote:
>
>> Tristan,
>>
>> You have set a really tough challenge this time!
>>
>> I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you point
>> out, for starters you have foreshortening... and there are other
>> confounding factors to contend with as outlined below.  You have obviously
>> gathered a good sample size which is an important start.  I think the way
>> to nail your formula is to create a minimum standard and rule out each of
>> the confounding factors in turn.
>>
>> In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here
>> http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1.
>> I intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are some
>> initial thoughts.
>>
>> POSTURE
>> Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is fully
>> extended or not.  Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the neck is hidden
>> by feathers and varies greatly in length depending on posture.  Assuming
>> for a minute that Long-toed Stints do have physically longer necks than
>> Least Sandpipers - how can you be sure an individual LT Stint has it's neck
>> extended all the way.  There would need to be some reliable way of
>> determining that the neck is actually extended as far as it needs to be for
>> compatible measurement.  You also have to consider overextension.
>> Presumably what you are trying to measure here is the typical, comfortable
>> neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but not over stretching.
>> Again there might be certain things you would need to look for to determine
>> the bird isn't actually overstretching.  Lastly consideration would need to
>> be given to physical injuries and deformities.
>>
>> PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING
>> To minimise perspective issues we need to know the camera and lens
>> involved.  Maintaining a distance from the subject and using a telehoto
>> lens is preferable to using a short lens and taking the image at very close
>> quarters, eg in the hand.  As for foreshortening, one way around this would
>> be to create a standard mask with key points plotted on it eg.  the ideal
>> position if the eye, bill base and points where the legs meet the body plus
>> wing and tail tips and numerous other fixed points on the body.  This
>> defines the measurement template.  Only images which closely match and
>> align with this template would be suitable for measurement comparison.  You
>> could overlay both the Least and Long-toed templates on the same mask.
>> What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of your 500 data set will
>> be suitable for comparison using this template.  But having a defined
>> template means that going forward people will know what to look for and at
>> what angle to photograph subjects in order to compare them to an agreed
>> standard.
>>
>> Lens Distortion
>> In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and ensure
>> we are looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens must be known and
>> there would need to be a background reference as to the risk of lens
>> distortion.  The risk can being minimised by always photographing the
>> subject in the centre of the lens and only filling the frame about 50%.
>>
>> Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely tricky
>> subject.
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Mike O'Keeffe
>> Ireland
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
>> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
>> Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
>> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
>> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
>>
>> Hi folks,
>>
>> The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about our
>> initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar species
>> cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera captures so many
>> details impossible to see in the field due to the constant fast movement of
>> these birds or suboptimal viewing conditions. In the field, we identify
>> birds much more holistically. In photos, we are exposed to many fine
>> details which can vary dramatically between individuals.
>>
>> My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think about
>> it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with
>> mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard before
>> calling it in..." ;-)
>>
>> One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of
>> metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in California to
>> apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that they are widely
>> used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for the review of vagrant
>> Icelands as well).
>>
>> Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc.
>> It makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a
>> short neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians
>> looking for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be used
>> to establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with its neck extended
>> is from Least, not the other way around (because Long-toeds don't always
>> have their necks extended).
>>
>> Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:
>>
>> A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to shoulder)
>> B = gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck length of candidate
>> Long-toed D = gape to nape distance of candidate Long-toed
>>
>> Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B obtained
>> from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D)
>>
>> Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest fully-extended
>> necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in question.
>>
>> The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes
>> more accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently
>> different individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a maximum
>> A/B of about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the value, so you
>> have to be reasonable about which photos you use. It's also not always easy
>> to determine exactly where the shoulder and auriculars end, so we might
>> predict some observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to
>> 1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more
>> precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often
>> approach 2.0!
>>
>> 1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of how
>> much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I haven't
>> measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a difference of
>> about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and long-necked Least in my
>> sample of 500.
>>
>> You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in
>> question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended and
>> increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your test a bit,
>> because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended.
>>
>> Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding
>> use of metrics in photos.
>>
>> Tristan McKee
>> Arcata, CA
>>
>> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>>
>>
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: Tristan McKee <atmckee AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 08:17:04 -0700
Hi Mike and all,

Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to clarify that I set up the formula
so that it doesn't matter at all whether the neck is fully stretched--it's
a one-way, so if you get a low value, the bird is not identified. The idea
is just to determine which values are beyond the range of variation of
Least, should the bird happen to stretch its neck beyond a certain point.
As you say, lens distortion and foreshortening need to be carefully
considered.

Tristan McKee'
Arcata, CA

On Sun, Jul 12, 2015 at 2:47 AM, Mike O'Keeffe  wrote:

> Tristan,
>
> You have set a really tough challenge this time!
>
> I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you point
> out, for starters you have foreshortening... and there are other
> confounding factors to contend with as outlined below.  You have obviously
> gathered a good sample size which is an important start.  I think the way
> to nail your formula is to create a minimum standard and rule out each of
> the confounding factors in turn.
>
> In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here
> http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1.
> I intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are some
> initial thoughts.
>
> POSTURE
> Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is fully
> extended or not.  Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the neck is hidden
> by feathers and varies greatly in length depending on posture.  Assuming
> for a minute that Long-toed Stints do have physically longer necks than
> Least Sandpipers - how can you be sure an individual LT Stint has it's neck
> extended all the way.  There would need to be some reliable way of
> determining that the neck is actually extended as far as it needs to be for
> compatible measurement.  You also have to consider overextension.
> Presumably what you are trying to measure here is the typical, comfortable
> neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but not over stretching.
> Again there might be certain things you would need to look for to determine
> the bird isn't actually overstretching.  Lastly consideration would need to
> be given to physical injuries and deformities.
>
> PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING
> To minimise perspective issues we need to know the camera and lens
> involved.  Maintaining a distance from the subject and using a telehoto
> lens is preferable to using a short lens and taking the image at very close
> quarters, eg in the hand.  As for foreshortening, one way around this would
> be to create a standard mask with key points plotted on it eg.  the ideal
> position if the eye, bill base and points where the legs meet the body plus
> wing and tail tips and numerous other fixed points on the body.  This
> defines the measurement template.  Only images which closely match and
> align with this template would be suitable for measurement comparison.  You
> could overlay both the Least and Long-toed templates on the same mask.
> What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of your 500 data set will
> be suitable for comparison using this template.  But having a defined
> template means that going forward people will know what to look for and at
> what angle to photograph subjects in order to compare them to an agreed
> standard.
>
> Lens Distortion
> In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and ensure
> we are looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens must be known and
> there would need to be a background reference as to the risk of lens
> distortion.  The risk can being minimised by always photographing the
> subject in the centre of the lens and only filling the frame about 50%.
>
> Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely tricky
> subject.
>
> Regards
>
> Mike O'Keeffe
> Ireland
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [mailto:
> BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
> Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
>
> Hi folks,
>
> The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about our
> initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar species
> cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera captures so many
> details impossible to see in the field due to the constant fast movement of
> these birds or suboptimal viewing conditions. In the field, we identify
> birds much more holistically. In photos, we are exposed to many fine
> details which can vary dramatically between individuals.
>
> My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think about
> it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with
> mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard before
> calling it in..." ;-)
>
> One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of
> metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in California to
> apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that they are widely
> used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for the review of vagrant
> Icelands as well).
>
> Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc.
> It makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a
> short neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians
> looking for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be used
> to establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with its neck extended
> is from Least, not the other way around (because Long-toeds don't always
> have their necks extended).
>
> Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:
>
> A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to shoulder) B
> = gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck length of candidate
> Long-toed D = gape to nape distance of candidate Long-toed
>
> Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B obtained
> from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D)
>
> Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest fully-extended
> necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in question.
>
> The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes more
> accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently different
> individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a maximum A/B of
> about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the value, so you have
> to be reasonable about which photos you use. It's also not always easy to
> determine exactly where the shoulder and auriculars end, so we might
> predict some observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to
> 1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more
> precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often
> approach 2.0!
>
> 1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of how
> much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I haven't
> measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a difference of
> about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and long-necked Least in my
> sample of 500.
>
> You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in
> question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended and
> increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your test a bit,
> because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended.
>
> Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding use
> of metrics in photos.
>
> Tristan McKee
> Arcata, CA
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
>

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 10:47:22 +0100
Tristan,

You have set a really tough challenge this time!  

I think direct measurement beats guesswork every time but, as you point out, 
for starters you have foreshortening... and there are other confounding factors 
to contend with as outlined below. You have obviously gathered a good sample 
size which is an important start. I think the way to nail your formula is to 
create a minimum standard and rule out each of the confounding factors in turn. 


In an early posting on my blog I explored some factors at work here 
http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.ie/2014/03/size-matters.html?m=1. I 
intend getting back to this subject but in the meantime here are some initial 
thoughts. 


POSTURE
Your biggest problem I think will be determining if the neck is fully extended 
or not. Unlike a bill which is fixed in length the neck is hidden by feathers 
and varies greatly in length depending on posture. Assuming for a minute that 
Long-toed Stints do have physically longer necks than Least Sandpipers - how 
can you be sure an individual LT Stint has it's neck extended all the way. 
There would need to be some reliable way of determining that the neck is 
actually extended as far as it needs to be for compatible measurement. You also 
have to consider overextension. Presumably what you are trying to measure here 
is the typical, comfortable neck extension shown by a bird that is alert but 
not over stretching. Again there might be certain things you would need to look 
for to determine the bird isn't actually overstretching. Lastly consideration 
would need to be given to physical injuries and deformities. 


PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING FORESHORTENING
To minimise perspective issues we need to know the camera and lens involved. 
Maintaining a distance from the subject and using a telehoto lens is preferable 
to using a short lens and taking the image at very close quarters, eg in the 
hand. As for foreshortening, one way around this would be to create a standard 
mask with key points plotted on it eg. the ideal position if the eye, bill base 
and points where the legs meet the body plus wing and tail tips and numerous 
other fixed points on the body. This defines the measurement template. Only 
images which closely match and align with this template would be suitable for 
measurement comparison. You could overlay both the Least and Long-toed 
templates on the same mask. What you might find is that as few as 1% or less of 
your 500 data set will be suitable for comparison using this template. But 
having a defined template means that going forward people will know what to 
look for and at what angle to photograph subjects in or! 

 der to compare them to an agreed standard.

Lens Distortion
In order to eliminate lens distortion (barrel and pincushion) and ensure we are 
looking at a rectilinear image the camera and lens must be known and there 
would need to be a background reference as to the risk of lens distortion. The 
risk can being minimised by always photographing the subject in the centre of 
the lens and only filling the frame about 50%. 


Those are a few initial thoughts on how to tackle this extremely tricky 
subject. 


Regards

Mike O'Keeffe
Ireland

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee 

Sent: 12 July 2015 01:22
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Gulls and stints: metrics in photos

Hi folks,

The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about our initial 
reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar species cannot be 
overemphasized. It is largely because the camera captures so many details 
impossible to see in the field due to the constant fast movement of these birds 
or suboptimal viewing conditions. In the field, we identify birds much more 
holistically. In photos, we are exposed to many fine details which can vary 
dramatically between individuals. 


My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think about it, 
it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with mega-rarities--"even if 
it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard before calling it in..." ;-) 


One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of metrics in 
photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in California to apply such 
techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that they are widely used in Europe for 
Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for the review of vagrant Icelands as well). 


Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc. It 
makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a short neck 
in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians looking for Least 
Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be used to establish how 
"different" a potential Long-toed with its neck extended is from Least, not the 
other way around (because Long-toeds don't always have their necks extended). 


Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:

A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to shoulder) B = 
gape to nape distance of Least C = extended neck length of candidate Long-toed 
D = gape to nape distance of candidate Long-toed 


Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B obtained from 
n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D) 


Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest fully-extended necks 
and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in question. 


The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes more 
accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently different 
individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a maximum A/B of about 
1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the value, so you have to be 
reasonable about which photos you use. It's also not always easy to determine 
exactly where the shoulder and auriculars end, so we might predict some 
observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to 

1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more precisely 
on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often approach 2.0! 


1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of how much 
the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I haven't measured many 
Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a difference of about 25% from 
the most extremely small-headed and long-necked Least in my sample of 500. 


You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in question 
by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended and increasing g. Of 
course, this will decrease the power of your test a bit, because some photos 
may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended. 


Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding use of 
metrics in photos. 


Tristan McKee
Arcata, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Gulls and stints: metrics in photos
From: Tristan McKee <atmckee AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 17:22:11 -0700
Hi folks,

The merged stint/gull thread has been exciting. Peter's point about our
initial reaction to a photo NOT being of our common, familiar species
cannot be overemphasized. It is largely because the camera captures so many
details impossible to see in the field due to the constant fast movement of
these birds or suboptimal viewing conditions. In the field, we identify
birds much more holistically. In photos, we are exposed to many fine
details which can vary dramatically between individuals.

My childhood mentor always said of vagrants, "if you have to think about
it, it's NOT". The unfortunate converse when dealing with
mega-rarities--"even if it IS it, you'd damn well better think hard before
calling it in..." ;-)

One area that I'd like to see explored more explicitly is the use of
metrics in photographs. I've found that it is condemnable in California to
apply such techniques to sandpipers, yet I am told that they are widely
used in Europe for Glaucous/Iceland gull ID (and for the review of vagrant
Icelands as well).

Here's a formula that I'd love to see improved, simplified, tested, etc. It
makes use of the fact that Least Sandpipers have a large head and a short
neck in comparison to Long-toed Stints. Unfortunately for Asians looking
for Least Sandpipers, it is a one-way-ticket: it can only be used to
establish how "different" a potential Long-toed with its neck extended is
from Least, not the other way around (because Long-toeds don't always have
their necks extended).

Extended-neck formula for Long-toed Stint candidates:

A = extended neck length of Least (lower edge of auriculars to shoulder)
B = gape to nape distance of Least
C = extended neck length of candidate Long-toed
D = gape to nape distance of candidate Long-toed

Diagnostic value for candidate Long-toed = (maximum value of A/B obtained
from n individuals)/(average of g independent measurements of C/D)

Thus you find your extreme Leasts (those with the longest fully-extended
necks and/or smallest heads) and compare them to the bird in question.

The good part is that as you score more Leasts, your equation becomes more
accurate. For starters, I used 500 Least images of apparently different
individuals (hard to be sure, of course) and obtained a maximum A/B of
about 1.3. Of course, foreshortening will increase the value, so you have
to be reasonable about which photos you use. It's also not always easy to
determine exactly where the shoulder and auriculars end, so we might
predict some observer-biased variation in this value, perhaps pushing it to
1.4 or 1.5 (ideally, with a larger sample size, we can zero in more
precisely on Least's extreme value). However, Long-toed scores often
approach 2.0!

1 - ((A/B)max)/(C/D) gives you an easily interpretable percentage of how
much the bird differs from the closest Least in your sample. I haven't
measured many Long-toeds yet, but it appears common to find a difference of
about 25% from the most extremely small-headed and long-necked Least in my
sample of 500.

You can also increase the accuracy of your assessment of the bird in
question by using multiple photographs of it with its neck extended and
increasing g. Of course, this will decrease the power of your test a bit,
because some photos may not reflect C/D with its neck fully extended.

Thanks for any help with improving this formula or any ideas regarding use
of metrics in photos.

Tristan McKee
Arcata, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Common Tern with many longipennis characteristics -Texas
From: Mark B Bartosik <MBB22222 AT AOL.COM>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 01:55:38 -0400
Hi All,

In recent years there were a few terns found in Europe that were posted  as 
a possible Siberian (Eastern) Common Tern candidates. I think none of these 
 records were accepted. I checked all photos I was able to find and some, 
for  example, sport quite red legs. I never saw longipennis but I always 
thought that  they should have black or dark legs.

On June 2, 2015 I found a Common Tern on Texas coast that is showing  many 
characteristics of the longipennis subspecies. As this was during sunny,  
early afternoon, light was very harsh but this bird in breeding plumage (with 
a  few white speckles on forehead) stood up in the crowd (~100 COTE flock 
mixed  with other terns and gulls) not only by its dark bill color but also by 
darker  shade of grey plumage (both under and upperside) and much darker 
legs. All these  trait differences are characteristics of longipennis. When I 
was checking photos  on the computer screen many other traits seemed to 
match longipennis traits as  well. Doomed head, black crown has more sharply 
defined edges, sharper contours  behind head, etc. but I do not ‘like’ the 
bill structure and shape, and color of  the legs, even that they are darker 
than those of a typical hirundo. I received  feedbacks that this tern looks 
good for longipennis but still have too many  doubts. 

Here is a photo  http://www.pbase.com/mbb/image/160701828/original  of this 
tern next to rather typical S. h. hirundo taken in very harsh light; no  
digital manipulation/adjustments. It was just converted to sRGB to post on the 
 web. Because legs of both terns were in the shadow I made a composite 
adding  legs photographed in full, also harsh, light. 

I am absolutely not trying to say that this is a longipennis but rather  I 
think it is either dark billed and dark legged hirundo or perhaps a hybrid  
between these two. Again as I do not have experience with longipennis I am 
very  interested to hear other people opinions. 

Cheers,

Mark B Bartosik
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
From: Peter Pyle <ppyle AT BIRDPOP.ORG>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:49:16 -0700
Hi Steve and Al -

Thanks for the comments, which closely reflect my initial reaction to 
the bird. In considering all of the concerns raised by Al and after 
studying first-cycle Western Gulls in the field and specimen trays 
last winter, I came around to the plumage being fine for WEGU in 
consideration of some effects of the low light on the images. I 
believe that the pale streaking to the neck and upper breast reflects 
the bases to juvenile feathers which are exposed due to damp 
conditions, with the contrast emphasized by photo effect. It was 
evident from field study that this is a fairly normal condition and 
appearance. I had the exact same reaction concerning the back feather 
fringing but became satisfied that the upperparts of WEGUs in 
December can look like those of the Korea bird through specimen 
examination. The underwing also can appear pale in photos of WEGU, 
especially in certain angles and lighting that produce sheen. The 
WEGU at Nial's site that I photographed fledged from a nest in or 
near Bolinas Lagoon, central California, and can thus be considered 
typical of nominate WEGU. Some additional photos are at Nial's 
earlier blog on this bird:

http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Identification/ID_Notes/BK-ID-Gangneung-Gull.shtml 



If it is not a WEGU what is it? We did consider a dark American 
Herring Gull, as Steve suggests. but many aspects of plumage and 
structure seemed to exclude this, as discussed at the older site 
linked above. Assuming it is not a Slaty-backed Gull, as Nial firmly 
believes, I cannot think of what else it could have been without 
stretching an ID by a combining a suite of very unlikely features in 
any other species.

Al, I agree with your comments in the stint thread about thinking a 
bird might be a given species vs. knowing it is when you finally 
observe one, a good lesson I've learned the hard way (and the same 
applies to ageing birds in the hand). Among gulls and stints I see 
sort of a perpendicular occurrence to this, where our first reaction 
to a photo is that it is not the common species we are familiar with. 
But then when we actually go out and study variation in the common 
species, we find that it fits just fine. I don't have a strong 
opinion on the identification of the possible Long-toed Stint but, 
having gone through this exercise with several other LTST reports, 
I've become convinced that we just don't know Least Sandpipers as 
well as we should. I wonder the same about our knowledge of first-cycle WEGUs.

Peter

At 07:43 AM 7/9/2015, Steve Hampton wrote:
>I agree with Alvaro.  My gut reaction was not Western, though I'd love to
>see better photos.  It's general coloration and tone is more Herring-like
>(although photo lighting could certainly affect this). A key character
>would be the tail, as Western is one of the few large gulls that typically
>have nearly solid unmarked outer rectrices (especially from above).
>Unfortunately, there are no photos of this.
>
>
>
>On Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 10:34 PM, Alvaro Jaramillo 
>wrote:
>
> > Peter et al.
> >    I wish we had better photos to work from, but this does not look like a
> > Western Gull to me. It has an odd mix of being very dark and even colored,
> > and then showing a striking amount of white on the fore neck. That is an
> > odd
> > pattern. The sooty color of the body feathering is not quite right either,
> > gray-brown is typical, but not this dark sooty like it shows in the photos.
> > The point that concerns me the most are the greater coverts which look very
> > even, Westerns have a classic pattern of being dark based and then widely
> > marked with pale subterminally; and this pale area should show up well in
> > at
> > least some of those photos. Other coverts tend to show pale splotching on
> > typical Westerns too. This correlates with the strong white trailing edge
> > to
> > the wing, unfortunately the shots do not show this area so it is impossible
> > to tell if it is there or not. Structurally it looks thin billed to me, and
> > extremely dark billed, no horn coloration on base of lower mandible as you
> > tend to see on Western by winter. But as I said, maybe I am not seeing
> > things due to the photos. Underwing does look too pale to me, I would like
> > to see other photos of Peter's bird too, as that looks too pale as well.
> >
> > Alvaro Jaramillo
> > alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> > www.alvarosadventures.com
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> > [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2015 9:43 PM
> > To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> > Subject: [BIRDWG01] Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
> >
> > Hello all -
> >
> > Nial Moores of Birds Korea requests opinion and commentary on a candidate
> > first-cycle Western Gull photographed in Gangneung this past December. I
> > believe it would represent the first record for the Palearctic. Please feel
> > free to comment directly to Nial via the above email address and/or to the
> > group.
> >
> > http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=16214
> >
> > Thanks, Peter
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >
> > Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
> >
>
>
>
>--
>Steve Hampton
>Davis, CA
>
>Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: "Mike O'Keeffe" <okeeffeml AT EIRCOM.NET>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 07:44:57 +0100
All,

Flippant or not I'm sure every birder has had that same revelation when it
comes to many new birds.  But if this forum has consistently revealed
anything it is that we often need to resist temptation and in some cases
simply leave a bird unidentified.  In the field obviously we have the
nuances of gestalt to aid our cause but within the confines of this forum
usually we are pouring over single or multiple images.  So the perspective
is different from inside this bubble.  It also has to be said of course that
as we start to split cryptic species and as we discover the potential for
perfect lookalike hybrids (eg. Elegant Terns in Europe) I constantly long
for the good old days where a flippant attitude got me a lot further.

Incidentally, I think we need to consider proper and concise definitions for
terms like field marks, gestalt and perhaps even that instantaneous warm
glow that descends when we see a new bird and realise it's easier to
identify than we feared. 

Regards

Mike O'Keeffe
Ireland


-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Blake Mathys
Sent: 09 July 2015 20:46
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever

I think Alvaro's suggestion is similar to a blog post I wrote a few years
ago, in which I argued that indecision or "lack of obviousness" could be a
field mark...that when you've got "the real thing", you know it; and if you
don't feel like it's hitting-you-over-the-head obvious, it's probably not.
Now, I realize that this doesn't work for all species or situations, but I
feel it applies in some cases. Here is the post if anyone is interested:
http://blog.aba.org/2011/07/ive-got-it-narrowed-down-to-two.html

Blake Mathys
---------------------------------
http://blakemathys.com/
---------------------------------


> Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 09:03:36 -0700
> From: chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET
> Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> 
> All, 
>    This may be a flippant attitude, particularly in a group dedicated 
> to identification problems and the details involved. But it reminds me 
> of a birding friend's story from ages ago at Long Point. When he was 
> gaining experience as a birder in England he was looking for a Great 
> Snipe. He had tons of almost Great Snipes, tried to convince himself 
> that it was, maybe he even counted one. Then he saw a real Great 
> Snipe, and it was clearly different, no doubt. All other possible 
> Great Snipes went back to being Common Snipes. This story has 
> resonated with me. I remember a bunch of us looking for Slaty-backed 
> Gull in Half Moon Bay for years (Dave Powell, Ron Thorn, etc) and 
> wondering, was this it, was that one it? It took years, but when the 
> first one came through - it was obvious. This type of thing has 
> happened again and again to me. The first Stejneger's Petrel I saw in 
> Chile, after looking for years and trying to convince myself of this and
that, was totally different. I am of the same mind with things like
Long-toed Stint.
> Maybe I will nonchalantly pass over some difficult individuals, maybe, 
> but my expectation is that when the real thing arrives it will be 
> obvious. After years of looking at Least Sandpiper's I assume that it 
> would all come together and there would be no need to have such a high 
> level discussion of the ID. Obviously with my attitude I may not be 
> seeing details in the photos that are convincing, but in a holistic 
> sense, I think it a Long-toed seen well by various observers would not 
> need convincing anyone. It should be clear-cut and obvious. Told you 
> it was a flippant attitude, and I apologize for that.
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
 		 	   		  
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: Blake Mathys <blakemathys AT HOTMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 15:46:19 -0400
I think Alvaro's suggestion is similar to a blog post I wrote a few years ago, 
in which I argued that indecision or "lack of obviousness" could be a field 
mark...that when you've got "the real thing", you know it; and if you don't 
feel like it's hitting-you-over-the-head obvious, it's probably not. Now, I 
realize that this doesn't work for all species or situations, but I feel it 
applies in some cases. Here is the post if anyone is interested: 

http://blog.aba.org/2011/07/ive-got-it-narrowed-down-to-two.html

Blake Mathys
---------------------------------
http://blakemathys.com/
---------------------------------


> Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 09:03:36 -0700
> From: chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET
> Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> 
> All, 
>    This may be a flippant attitude, particularly in a group dedicated to
> identification problems and the details involved. But it reminds me of a
> birding friend's story from ages ago at Long Point. When he was gaining
> experience as a birder in England he was looking for a Great Snipe. He had
> tons of almost Great Snipes, tried to convince himself that it was, maybe he
> even counted one. Then he saw a real Great Snipe, and it was clearly
> different, no doubt. All other possible Great Snipes went back to being
> Common Snipes. This story has resonated with me. I remember a bunch of us
> looking for Slaty-backed Gull in Half Moon Bay for years (Dave Powell, Ron
> Thorn, etc) and wondering, was this it, was that one it? It took years, but
> when the first one came through - it was obvious. This type of thing has
> happened again and again to me. The first Stejneger's Petrel I saw in Chile,
> after looking for years and trying to convince myself of this and that, was
> totally different. I am of the same mind with things like Long-toed Stint.
> Maybe I will nonchalantly pass over some difficult individuals, maybe, but
> my expectation is that when the real thing arrives it will be obvious. After
> years of looking at Least Sandpiper's I assume that it would all come
> together and there would be no need to have such a high level discussion of
> the ID. Obviously with my attitude I may not be seeing details in the photos
> that are convincing, but in a holistic sense, I think it a Long-toed seen
> well by various observers would not need convincing anyone. It should be
> clear-cut and obvious. Told you it was a flippant attitude, and I apologize
> for that. 
> 
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
 		 	   		  
Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby AT TI.COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 17:53:12 +0000
Alvaro,

While I often agree these identifications turn out to be easier when one 
finally sees the "real bird", I am not sure that this is true with the 
Least/Long-toed pair. I used to see Long-toed regularly in the mid-late 90s and 
with quite a few individuals I honestly felt I would have no chance of 
separating them from Least if I saw one in N. America. This was probably more 
true of spring adults than juveniles. I think some juveniles and a few adults 
will be fairly obvious in a close study, but many would not be. 


Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo 

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2015 9:04 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever

All, 
 This may be a flippant attitude, particularly in a group dedicated to 
identification problems and the details involved. But it reminds me of a 
birding friend's story from ages ago at Long Point. When he was gaining 
experience as a birder in England he was looking for a Great Snipe. He had tons 
of almost Great Snipes, tried to convince himself that it was, maybe he even 
counted one. Then he saw a real Great Snipe, and it was clearly different, no 
doubt. All other possible Great Snipes went back to being Common Snipes. This 
story has resonated with me. I remember a bunch of us looking for Slaty-backed 
Gull in Half Moon Bay for years (Dave Powell, Ron Thorn, etc) and wondering, 
was this it, was that one it? It took years, but when the first one came 
through - it was obvious. This type of thing has happened again and again to 
me. The first Stejneger's Petrel I saw in Chile, after looking for years and 
trying to convince myself of this and that, was totally different. I am of ! 

 the same mind with things like Long-toed Stint.
Maybe I will nonchalantly pass over some difficult individuals, maybe, but my 
expectation is that when the real thing arrives it will be obvious. After years 
of looking at Least Sandpiper's I assume that it would all come together and 
there would be no need to have such a high level discussion of the ID. 
Obviously with my attitude I may not be seeing details in the photos that are 
convincing, but in a holistic sense, I think it a Long-toed seen well by 
various observers would not need convincing anyone. It should be clear-cut and 
obvious. Told you it was a flippant attitude, and I apologize for that. 


Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Reid Martin 

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2015 6:59 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever

Hey everyone,
A few snippets to throw into the mix:-

Some variation in Least Sand, from Texas; most predate digital photography (= 
poor image sharpness): 


Here is a bird from 2002 with an obvious pale base to the mandible:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris.html

One with a fairly good (but not perfect) head pattern:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris3.html

Yet another with a very dark band above the bill base:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa3.html

A spring adult with obvious split supercilium:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa1.html

A juvenile with striking split supercilia:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa4.html

An eye-catching juv. with some similarity to the Salinas bird (but different in 
a couple of key aspects): 

http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd2.html

An alternate adult with extensive flank and undertail covert streaking:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd.html

And finally the oddest-looking spring Least Sand that I've seen... I really 
don't know what to make of this bird: 

http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/peep8.html

Should any of you wish to comment on any of these birds, may I suggest using 
the file name prefix as a reference. 


Note that all the above birds show the inner greater covert notch pattern 
except for LeastSandodd2 and peep8. I feel that this feature is one of the best 
one-way ID marks, in that any bird with such a notch is almost certainly going 
to be a Least. A putative Long-toed with this notch would need an otherwise 
perfect suite of features to compensate for this feature, which seems to be 
genuinely very rare in Long-toed. I am still trying to get a grasp on the ratio 
of Leasts with vs without the notch; either the lack of a notch is not as rare 
as I thought (hoped!), or some of the birds that lack this notch are not 
Leasts. 


One other putative ID feature that I have not seen in this thread (apologies if 
I missed it) is the pattern of the mantle/back feathers. I think it was Dennis 
Paulson who told me that on Long-toeds the black centers align to form fairly 
neat rows of black, while on Least they do not align much, creating a more 
mottled pattern. I am not sure how reliable this feature is, but I plan to pay 
more attention to it. 


Lastly, I wonder how you all feel about the whole "ID by combination of 
features" approach? I can see merit in it in some cases, but not others - yet 
I'm not sure I could provide a lucid argument for why, in each case. 

Back in Europe many birders seem happy to use the "feature totting-up"
method to firmly ID some American vagrants, e.g. American HERGs. The notion is 
that, while one can find individuals of the expected taxon with one of all the 
suite of stated ID features, you'd find very few with a combination of two or 
three such features, and the odds of finding one with all or almost all of the 
features is less than the odds of it being the vagrant form. I am not always 
comfortable with this approach (depending on whether I saw the bird :-) ), and 
just how would one make a critical assessment of the odds? 


In general, the more I look, the more I find claimed ID features (sometimes in 
combination) that are less reliable than Conventional Wisdom would have me 
believe. 


Cheers,
Martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com






Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 09:03:36 -0700
All, 
   This may be a flippant attitude, particularly in a group dedicated to
identification problems and the details involved. But it reminds me of a
birding friend's story from ages ago at Long Point. When he was gaining
experience as a birder in England he was looking for a Great Snipe. He had
tons of almost Great Snipes, tried to convince himself that it was, maybe he
even counted one. Then he saw a real Great Snipe, and it was clearly
different, no doubt. All other possible Great Snipes went back to being
Common Snipes. This story has resonated with me. I remember a bunch of us
looking for Slaty-backed Gull in Half Moon Bay for years (Dave Powell, Ron
Thorn, etc) and wondering, was this it, was that one it? It took years, but
when the first one came through - it was obvious. This type of thing has
happened again and again to me. The first Stejneger's Petrel I saw in Chile,
after looking for years and trying to convince myself of this and that, was
totally different. I am of the same mind with things like Long-toed Stint.
Maybe I will nonchalantly pass over some difficult individuals, maybe, but
my expectation is that when the real thing arrives it will be obvious. After
years of looking at Least Sandpiper's I assume that it would all come
together and there would be no need to have such a high level discussion of
the ID. Obviously with my attitude I may not be seeing details in the photos
that are convincing, but in a holistic sense, I think it a Long-toed seen
well by various observers would not need convincing anyone. It should be
clear-cut and obvious. Told you it was a flippant attitude, and I apologize
for that. 

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Reid Martin
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2015 6:59 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever

Hey everyone,
A few snippets to throw into the mix:-

Some variation in Least Sand, from Texas; most predate digital photography
(= poor image sharpness):

Here is a bird from 2002 with an obvious pale base to the mandible:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris.html

One with a fairly good (but not perfect) head pattern:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris3.html

Yet another with a very dark band above the bill base:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa3.html

A spring adult with obvious split supercilium:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa1.html

A juvenile with striking split supercilia:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa4.html

An eye-catching juv. with some similarity to the Salinas bird (but different
in a couple of key aspects):
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd2.html

An alternate adult with extensive flank and undertail covert streaking:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd.html

And finally the oddest-looking spring Least Sand that I've seen... I really
don't know what to make of this bird:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/peep8.html

Should any of you wish to comment on any of these birds, may I suggest using
the file name prefix as a reference.

Note that all the above birds show the inner greater covert notch pattern
except for LeastSandodd2 and peep8.  I feel that this feature is one of the
best one-way ID marks, in that any bird with such a notch is almost
certainly going to be a Least.  A putative Long-toed with this notch would
need an otherwise perfect suite of features to compensate for this feature,
which seems to be genuinely very rare in Long-toed.  I am still trying to
get a grasp on the ratio of Leasts with vs without the notch; either the
lack of a notch is not as rare as I thought (hoped!), or some of the birds
that lack this notch are not Leasts.

One other putative ID feature that I have not seen in this thread (apologies
if I missed it) is the pattern of the mantle/back feathers.  I think it was
Dennis Paulson who told me that on Long-toeds the black centers align to
form fairly neat rows of black, while on Least they do not align much,
creating a more mottled pattern.  I am not sure how reliable this feature
is, but I plan to pay more attention to it.

Lastly, I wonder how you all feel about the whole "ID by combination of
features" approach?  I can see merit in it in some cases, but not others -
yet I'm not sure I could provide a lucid argument for why, in each case.
Back in Europe many birders seem happy to use the "feature totting-up"
method to firmly ID some American vagrants, e.g. American HERGs.  The notion
is that, while one can find individuals of the expected taxon with one of
all the suite of stated ID features, you'd find very few with a combination
of two or three such features, and the odds of finding one with all or
almost all of the features is less than the odds of it being the vagrant
form.  I am not always comfortable with this approach (depending on whether
I saw the bird :-) ), and just how would one make a critical assessment of
the odds?

In general, the more I look, the more I find claimed ID features (sometimes
in combination) that are less reliable than Conventional Wisdom would have
me believe.

Cheers,
Martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com






Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
From: Steve Hampton <stevechampton AT GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 07:43:05 -0700
I agree with Alvaro.  My gut reaction was not Western, though I'd love to
see better photos.  It's general coloration and tone is more Herring-like
(although photo lighting could certainly affect this). A key character
would be the tail, as Western is one of the few large gulls that typically
have nearly solid unmarked outer rectrices (especially from above).
Unfortunately, there are no photos of this.



On Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 10:34 PM, Alvaro Jaramillo 
wrote:

> Peter et al.
>    I wish we had better photos to work from, but this does not look like a
> Western Gull to me. It has an odd mix of being very dark and even colored,
> and then showing a striking amount of white on the fore neck. That is an
> odd
> pattern. The sooty color of the body feathering is not quite right either,
> gray-brown is typical, but not this dark sooty like it shows in the photos.
> The point that concerns me the most are the greater coverts which look very
> even, Westerns have a classic pattern of being dark based and then widely
> marked with pale subterminally; and this pale area should show up well in
> at
> least some of those photos. Other coverts tend to show pale splotching on
> typical Westerns too. This correlates with the strong white trailing edge
> to
> the wing, unfortunately the shots do not show this area so it is impossible
> to tell if it is there or not. Structurally it looks thin billed to me, and
> extremely dark billed, no horn coloration on base of lower mandible as you
> tend to see on Western by winter. But as I said, maybe I am not seeing
> things due to the photos. Underwing does look too pale to me, I would like
> to see other photos of Peter's bird too, as that looks too pale as well.
>
> Alvaro Jaramillo
> alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
> www.alvarosadventures.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
> [mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
> Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2015 9:43 PM
> To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
> Subject: [BIRDWG01] Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
>
> Hello all -
>
> Nial Moores of Birds Korea requests opinion and commentary on a candidate
> first-cycle Western Gull photographed in Gangneung this past December. I
> believe it would represent the first record for the Palearctic. Please feel
> free to comment directly to Nial via the above email address and/or to the
> group.
>
> http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=16214
>
> Thanks, Peter
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>
> Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
>



-- 
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: Reid Martin <upupa AT AIRMAIL.NET>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 08:58:55 -0500
Hey everyone,
A few snippets to throw into the mix:-

Some variation in Least Sand, from Texas; most predate digital photography (= 
poor image sharpness): 


Here is a bird from 2002 with an obvious pale base to the mandible:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris.html

One with a fairly good (but not perfect) head pattern:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/calidris3.html

Yet another with a very dark band above the bill base:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa3.html

A spring adult with obvious split supercilium:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa1.html

A juvenile with striking split supercilia:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/lesa4.html

An eye-catching juv. with some similarity to the Salinas bird (but different in 
a couple of key aspects): 

http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd2.html

An alternate adult with extensive flank and undertail covert streaking:
http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/LeastSandodd.html

And finally the oddest-looking spring Least Sand that I've seen... I really 
don't know what to make of this bird: 

http://www.martinreid.com/Main%20website/peep8.html

Should any of you wish to comment on any of these birds, may I suggest using 
the file name prefix as a reference. 


Note that all the above birds show the inner greater covert notch pattern 
except for LeastSandodd2 and peep8. I feel that this feature is one of the best 
one-way ID marks, in that any bird with such a notch is almost certainly going 
to be a Least. A putative Long-toed with this notch would need an otherwise 
perfect suite of features to compensate for this feature, which seems to be 
genuinely very rare in Long-toed. I am still trying to get a grasp on the ratio 
of Leasts with vs without the notch; either the lack of a notch is not as rare 
as I thought (hoped!), or some of the birds that lack this notch are not 
Leasts. 


One other putative ID feature that I have not seen in this thread (apologies if 
I missed it) is the pattern of the mantle/back feathers. I think it was Dennis 
Paulson who told me that on Long-toeds the black centers align to form fairly 
neat rows of black, while on Least they do not align much, creating a more 
mottled pattern. I am not sure how reliable this feature is, but I plan to pay 
more attention to it. 


Lastly, I wonder how you all feel about the whole "ID by combination of 
features" approach? I can see merit in it in some cases, but not others - yet 
I'm not sure I could provide a lucid argument for why, in each case. Back in 
Europe many birders seem happy to use the "feature totting-up" method to firmly 
ID some American vagrants, e.g. American HERGs. The notion is that, while one 
can find individuals of the expected taxon with one of all the suite of stated 
ID features, you'd find very few with a combination of two or three such 
features, and the odds of finding one with all or almost all of the features is 
less than the odds of it being the vagrant form. I am not always comfortable 
with this approach (depending on whether I saw the bird :-) ), and just how 
would one make a critical assessment of the odds? 


In general, the more I look, the more I find claimed ID features (sometimes in 
combination) that are less reliable than Conventional Wisdom would have me 
believe. 


Cheers,
Martin

---
Martin Reid
San Antonio
www.martinreid.com






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Subject: Re: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
From: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao AT COASTSIDE.NET>
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 22:34:59 -0700
Peter et al. 
   I wish we had better photos to work from, but this does not look like a
Western Gull to me. It has an odd mix of being very dark and even colored,
and then showing a striking amount of white on the fore neck. That is an odd
pattern. The sooty color of the body feathering is not quite right either,
gray-brown is typical, but not this dark sooty like it shows in the photos.
The point that concerns me the most are the greater coverts which look very
even, Westerns have a classic pattern of being dark based and then widely
marked with pale subterminally; and this pale area should show up well in at
least some of those photos. Other coverts tend to show pale splotching on
typical Westerns too. This correlates with the strong white trailing edge to
the wing, unfortunately the shots do not show this area so it is impossible
to tell if it is there or not. Structurally it looks thin billed to me, and
extremely dark billed, no horn coloration on base of lower mandible as you
tend to see on Western by winter. But as I said, maybe I am not seeing
things due to the photos. Underwing does look too pale to me, I would like
to see other photos of Peter's bird too, as that looks too pale as well. 

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro AT alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2015 9:43 PM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: [BIRDWG01] Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments

Hello all -

Nial Moores of Birds Korea requests opinion and commentary on a candidate
first-cycle Western Gull photographed in Gangneung this past December. I
believe it would represent the first record for the Palearctic. Please feel
free to comment directly to Nial via the above email address and/or to the
group.

http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=16214

Thanks, Peter

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Western Gull in Korea-- request for comments
From: Peter Pyle <ppyle AT BIRDPOP.ORG>
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 21:43:29 -0700
Hello all -

Nial Moores of Birds Korea requests opinion and commentary on a 
candidate first-cycle Western Gull photographed in Gangneung this 
past December. I believe it would represent the first record for the 
Palearctic. Please feel free to comment directly to Nial via the 
above email address and/or to the group.

http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=16214

Thanks, Peter

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html
Subject: Re: Stint Fever
From: "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby AT TI.COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 21:04:42 +0000
The Salinas bird doesn't show the mantle pattern typical of many Long-toed 
Stints IMO. I haven't done the math on the toe length but I am not 100% sold on 
that bird being a Long-toed Stint. The Oregon juvenile from back then is a lot 
more convincing. 


-----Original Message-----
From: NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification 
[mailto:BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee 

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2015 11:31 AM
To: BIRDWG01 AT LISTSERV.KSU.EDU
Subject: Re: [BIRDWG01] Stint Fever

Hi Julian and Noah,

While I would also conclude that Leasts can look like the Nebraska bird, I am 
always fascinated to see these individuals and to learn what they can teach us 
about Long-toed Stint identification. I think it is especially crucial to 
document birds with odd facial patterns because, for the last two decades, this 
highly variable trait has been the standard way to "confirm" a Long-toed Stint 
in North America. It just doesn't work. 


Julian, thanks for your thoughts on the California birds. I'm very curious to 
hear what it is about the 1988 Salinas photos that makes you feel it was a 
Long-toed Stint. It is easy to go through the Western Birds paper and match 
every trait they used to identify the bird with photos of otherwise typical 
Leasts showing those traits. Yes, only a rare Least is going to combine all 
those characteristics, but we see many thousands of Leasts--isn't that rare 
Least still going to be more common than a Long-toed Stint? 


http://www.avibirds.com/pdf/T/Taigastrandloper3.pdf
http://greglasley.com/longtost.html
http://wfopublications.org/Rare_Birds/Long-toed_Stint/Long-toed_Stint.html

The toes appear about normal for Least to me, certainly within the range of 
both species. There is also the bulging head and rounded crown, fairly 
different from the typical "snaky" look of Long-toed. In none of the photos is 
the classic structure of Long-toed evident--indeed, in some the neck looks 
extended and is far too short. I'm glad to hear that you have seen Long-toeds 
with dark coming down into the auriculars, but wouldn't it be much more 
comforting if the bird didn't have that? I was also told that a forehead that 
pale is pretty bad for Long-toed, though I have found an occasional photo that 
looked similar from Asia. It has been pointed out to me that Long-toed is an 
exceptionally rare, accidental vagrant south of Alaska, so for a record to 
stand it should be accompanied by absolutely diagnostic photos. I think 
observers back then honestly believed that Leasts could not show a facial 
pattern like this or that kind of scapular-covert contrast, or shafts streaks 
break! 

 ing through the tips of the scapulars and coverts, etc, simply because their 
sample sizes were too small--they didn't have access to the thousands of Least 
Sandpiper photos now available. 


I agree with Noah that we have absolutely no evidence to say whether or not 
there is a hybrid zone in the Bering Sea area. With overlap already occurring 
in nearly all characteristics, there may never be a way to tell. 

The only thing I can say is that when you ask if birds are hybridizing, the 
answer usually turns out to be "yes". 


Here are a few examples of Leasts with "Long-toed" traits:

Bulging forward supercilium half-encircled by connection of loral line and
forehead:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterbrannon/14945943459/

Small head with shallow forehead and slightly squared nape, long legs:

http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Image:Least_Sandpiper.jpg

Especially long legs:


http://www.birdspix.com/north-america/sandpipers-phalaropes-and-allies-scolopacidae/sandpipers/least-sandpiper#jp-carousel-13250 


Broken loral line connected to dark forehead, bold white supercilium, white 
edges to coverts contrasting with scapulars: 


http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-least-sandpiper.html

Nice split supercilium, broken loral line, whitish edges to coverts contrasting 
with scapulars: 



http://indianajones.smugmug.com/BirdsofIndiana/Plovers-Avocet-Sandpipers-25/i-Lt4v47c/A 


Toes as long as bill and tarsus, shaft streaks breaking through covert and 
scapular tips: 



http://10a8t53m3jvw1jdy2mmh3d38.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/rIMG_0260_cr.jpg 


Short bill, long legs:

http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/todays-mystery-bird-for-you-to-identify-30/

Exceptionally long, pointed scapulars (scroll down):


http://www.bradjameswildlifephotography.com/blog/2014/9/2/leave-no-stone-unturned 


Contrasting gray hindneck:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobthebirdman/11169795704/in/photolist-i2387y-ouEC4Y-qD3a9t-fSioTR-snVRRe-8pCuEu-eSHJsn-enZB8r-s4CZXc-snYidX-oXJB4F-sit4XV-oSdTuj-oRf7pG-rr9AuD-htmFvY-owVGFg-fwSf5V-oGJvPp-oxDqcu-fD1BMe-t6wq7J-tyS8n5-p5jSHB-sSStpd-oxdsDq-uiJ97X-sCU58h-ds1Xmr-rJ9s8V-ob53Ax-9GvLYs-cgNx23-oZ6qYS-gVnvxR-scuyGG-fqVU8s-kgXKWj-rqXTob-oPBmJM-8AuJQQ-p31kpG-oyq8Ys-oQWra9-4ud6C8-eJWB6B-arEvpu-apzgPK-phZ2db-oN9FfY 


Shafts streaks breaking through tips on coverts and scapulars:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/mflick-photos/15488001048/in/photolist-pAC47Q-psKVzZ-kFx1fr-o3PYBn-5Z8Pnh-5DnrWC-omSDPA-ozt8Hr-s4Cto6-i9nvNM-p4THZg-p6jWSC-f1EJ3D-sbuZPm-oxxJFJ-oRtjZi-sNSffc-nzuGWy-nVri5h-daTctr-8B2stK-evpFeC-iLah3h-5UQmPp-osDMYX-o4brQo-a5NCij-p63Qj2-pkYf8n-skECX5-fPm51T-jtKUSA-6MFNDn-p6ndS8-pNePKR-o3NTXX-oDmexG-cXC2Zy-sdxNX4-933GZh-kGY7L4-oVyUov-pUiZNN-7ZABhx-m9Urxq-oGjAye-rjtoAc-qCHqfz-qCHqwr-6uncSm 


Many thanks for any help with this odd conundrum,

Tristan McKee
Arcata, CA

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