Sunday, January 3, 2016

The elusive Varied Thrush

[Photo by Michael O'Brien of the Cox Hall Creek wildlife management area Varied Thrush, taken yesterday. This bird has been elusive for many people, occasionally cooperative for a few. Photo used with permission – thanks Michael!]

Here are Michael O'Brien's thoughts on the Cox Hall Creek WMA, Cape May NJ Varied Thrush:

"Here's a shot of the Varied Thrush. You're welcome to use it in your blog. Regarding age/sex, it is clearly a female based on the weak breastband and similarly weak lower border to cheek patch (both would be more solidly blackish on even 1st-year male). Beyond that, I don't think I can see enough to age it with certainty. Having said that, I suspect it's a young bird (which seems most likely anyway). The wing bars seem narrower than on just about any photos I could find on the internet, which I find intriguing, but don't know what it means. Young birds are supposed to replace most of the wing coverts and show a molt limit in the greater coverts. I can't say that I see a molt limit, but it appears that the innermost few greater coverts have no pale tips at all (so the wing bar stops halfway across the primary coverts). Does this mean that this bird's juv wing bars were so narrow that they wore off? Also, the orange in the primaries seems particularly pale, making me wonder if those are retained worn juv feathers... I'm just thrilled that I got to see it at all, and happy that you did as well!
Michael O'Brien
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours"

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