[Tweeters] Birding photo quiz - the shell game

Jack Stephens jstephens62 at comcast.net
Sun Dec 12 22:34:51 PST 2004

When hucksters play the shell game, they let you win a few early on to
build your confidence. Later on, you lose. That's how I felt looking at
the pictures in this month's issue of Birding magazine. The quiz
consists of a scrub-jay, a gull, and a passerine. Now gulls can put the
hurt to you, but there are only three scrub-jays out there, so already
have a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right, right? And I know that isn't a
Florida Scrub-Jay; no white forehead. It doesn't look like a Western
Scrub-Jay either, the cheek patch is too black.  A quick run by Sibley's
confirms that it is an Island Scrub-Jay; the bluish under tail coverts
are another field mark on the quiz bird that supports Island Scrub-Jay.
Thoughts, comments on the above welcome.
Now looking forward to the other birds, I have a question on the bill of
the immature gull. Is it long and curved, or is the curved tip actually
an overlapping stone from the background? If that is all bill, it is so
long that it looks almost deformed, plus it is unusually colored. I
think that the bill is actually relatively short, but I welcome comments
from others.
Once I get this bill sorted out, I'll lift the shell up and past which
gull I think it is. Hopefully, there will be a stone underneath it! 
Jack Stephens
Edmonds, WA
jstephens62 at comcast.net
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