Sunday, January 15, 2012

More Rarities

While not as rare as a dark-morph Northern Harrier, I have seen a number of rare birds so far this year. The birds may not be rare for the area in general, but are rare this time of year. The result is that ebird, the bird logging system used across the country, flags the entry as unusual. As a user you have to confirm the observation with an extra step to help insure the entry was not an accident. For example, I have seen Loggerhead Shrikes on three occasions since January 1st (one was probably a duplicate). In each case I have to confirm with ebird that I truly saw a Loggerhead Shrike.
Loggerhead Shrike, rare bird in Idaho for January.
If the bird is considered very rare, then the local ebird monitor will put your entry on hold until additional documentation via a rare bird report is submitted and approved by a reviewing committee. This is all to help preserve the quality of the large ebird dataset.
During the Bruneau Idaho Christmas Bird Count in early January, seven of the species on my list required extra confirmation and two required further documentation. Unfortunately for one of those observations, a Northern Mockingbird, I only had fleeting views. I was trusting two other people in my group that they had great views. While I was reasonably sure from my view it was a Northern Mockingbird, I was not solid enough to complete a rare bird report, explaining each of the field marks in detail.
On Saturday Karyn and I returned to the scene of the crime. There, before us in the same tree, was the Northern Mockingbird. This time I will submit another ebird checklist, get flagged, and confidently submit the documentation AND photos.
Northern Mockingbird in Idaho IN JANUARY!
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
To the bird's credit, it is perched above a warm spring, which I sure tempers the cold weather.

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