Ornithology 3A Summary (Fall 2011)

If you miss a class, please check this page and study the listed topics in your field guide. For last year's summary, click here.

Class notes by Elisabeth Koster are here.

Please register at eBird and email me your eBird ID. I can then offer to share field trip lists with you.

Click here for a summary of bird name changes from the 52nd AOU supplement.

Click here for my first impression review of the 6th edition of the National Geographic Guide. I recommend everybody upgrade to this edition as soon as possible.


December 8, 2011
We completed and reviewed selected plovers on page 156 (page 168 in 6th ed). Click Common Ringed Plover for my photos and notes on a Common Ringed Plover at Davis.  Click here for my photo of a Semipalmated Plover at Abbott's Lagoon and here for my photo of a Semipalmated Plover in Ohio. Click here for my photo of a Snowy Plover with chick at Half Moon Bay and here for my recent photos of Snowy Plovers at Watsonville. Click here for my photo of a Piping Plover in Texas and here for two photos of a Piping Plover at the Salton Sea. 
December 1, 2011
We completed selected plovers on pages 158 & 156 (page 166 in 6th ed).

Click here, here, here and here for photos of a Lesser Sand-Plovers in California, and here for my notes on a Lesser Sand-Plover in Humboldt County. Click here for photos, video, notes and discussion on the identification of a Greater Sand-Plover at Bolinas Lagoon. Click here and here for Killdeer photos from our recent trip to Coyote Point.  Wilson's Plover images are here, here, here here and here.

Sibley's essay on the proper use of playback in birding.

November 17, 2011
We completed and reviewed the plovers on page 154 (page 164 in 6th ed). Click here for a photo and discussion of the identification of a juvenile Black-bellied Plover. Click here for my photos and description of a juvenile American Golden-Plover. Click here, here, here, here and here for photos of juvenile American Golden-Plover and here for a photo of a breeding male American Golden-Plover. Click here for comparative photos of juvenile American and Pacific golden-plovers together. Click here for a photo of a breeding plumage Pacific Golden-Plover in Alaska. Click here for photos and discussion of the identification of three molting adult golden-plovers in California. I now believe all three are Pacific Golden-Plovers.

Additional references:

Dunn, J.L., J. Morlan and C.P. Wilds. 1987. Field identification of forms of Lesser Golden-Plover. International Bird Identification - Proceedings of the 4th International Identification Meeting Eilat 1st-8th November 1986. (Click here for a pdf of this paper.)

Johnson, O. W., and Johnson, P.M. 2004. Morphometric features of Pacific and American Golden-Plovers with comments on field identification.Wader Study Group Bull. 103:42-49. (Click here for pdf).

Jarmillo, A. 2004. Featured Photo: Identification of adult Pacific and American Golden-Plovers in their southbound migration. Western Birds 35:120-124. (Click here for pdf and here for the photos.)

Brewer's/Rusty Blackbird photos discussed in class.

Note: There is no class next week. Class resumes December 1st .


November 10, 2011
We completed and reviewed the cranes on page 152 and reviewed the rails, gallinules and coots on pages 148 & 150.


November 3, 2011
We completed and reviewed the gallinules and coots on page 150. Click here for photos of the Purple Gallinule at Death Valley. Images of a Purple Gallinule in Los Angeles are here and here. Click here for my photo of a Purple Swamphen chick in Australia. Click here for my photo and notes on a Common Gallinule. A Common Gallinule photo from our recent field trip to Point Reyes is here.

David Sibley has an essay on distinguishing Common Moorhen from Common Gallinule here.

The "Birds of North America" account for Common Gallinule mentions, "Chick has a 1- to 1.5-mm-long spur on alula (wing) that permits grasping when chick climbs emergent vegetation, enters nest, or clings to submerged vegetation when swimming underwater (Bent 1926, Miller 1946, Wood 1974, Greij 1994)." This may be what appeared to be an external wing-claw in one photo.


October 27, 2011
We completed and reviewed the Limpkin and rails on pages 146-148.

Click here for my photo of a Clapper Rail in Louisiana. Click here and here for my Clapper Rail photos from California. Click and here and here for my photos of a Virginia Rail with chicks. Click here, here and here for my photos of Sora. Click here for photos of a Black Rail at Pt. Reyes.

This was the last class of the quarter. Please click here to register for part B. Course numbers, dates and descriptions are here.


October 20, 2011

We reviewed the raptors on pages 124-144.


October 13, 2011

We completed the falcons on page 140 and reviewed the raptors on pages 124-140. Click here for my Peregrine Falcon photo and discussion. Click here for a photo of a Gyrfalcon in Solano County.

Sibley's essay on wing translucence here.


October 6, 2011

We completed the kestrels and merlin on page 138 and reviewed the raptors on pages 124-138. Click here for my photo of an American Kestrel eating a Jerusalem Cricket. Click here and here for my photos of a Merlin at Sutro Heights Park; and here for my photo of a Merlin at Point Reyes. Click here for my photo of a "Prairie" Merlin (F. c. richardsonii) in Pacific Beach, San Diego.

Reference

Hull, A.C. et al. 2008. First documentation of a Eurasian Kestrel in California. Western Birds 39:184-187 (PDF) (IMAGES)


September 29, 2011

We completed the falcons and caracara on page 136 and reviewed the raptors on pages 124-136. Click here for photos and my account of a Crested Caracara at Davenport. Additional photos of Crested Caracaras in California are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


September 22, 2011

We completed the hawks on page 134 and reviewed the raptors on pages 124-134. Click here and here for photos of a light morph Ferruginous Hawks at Point Reyes. My image of a dark morph Ferruginous Hawk at Point Reyes is here (North Bay Birds membership may be required).

Click here for my photo of a White-tailed Hawk in Texas.


September 15, 2011

We completed the hawks on page 132 and reviewed the raptors on pages 124-132. Click here for a photo and discussion on a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that somewhat resembles a Broad-winged Hawk. Click here, here, here, here and here for my photos of Red-tailed Hawks in the Bay Area. Additional Red-tailed Hawk images are here and here.

Click here for a photo of a "Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk in Arcata.

Click here for a photo and discussion of a juvenile Swainson's Hawk. Additional Swainson's Hawk photos are here and here. A hand-held Swainson's hawk showing staged wing molt is here.

Additional References

Clark, W. H. 2009. Extreme variation in the tails of adult Harlan's Hawks. Birding 41:30-36 (PDF) [Caution advised.]
Hull, J.M. et. al. 2010. Population structure and plumage polymorphism: The intraspecific evolutionary relationships of a polymorphic raptor, Buteo jamaicensis harlani. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:224 (PDF).
Liguori, J. and B.L. Sullivan. 2010. A study of Krider's Red-tailed Hawk. Birding 42:38-45 (PDF)
Mindell, D.P. 1983. Harlan's Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis harlani): A valid subspecies. Auk 100:161-169 (PDF).

More details on the Cape May Warbler and Common Ringed Plover which we discussed in class are here.