[Tweeters] Robin or Eyebrowed Thrush

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Sun Feb 14 15:23:09 PST 2016


Hi Al,

These are very good shots of the 'weird' robin which was seen by me and a number of other people yesterday morning. The biggest differences between this and the bird I saw are: 1.) The color of the dorsal surfaces. This bird has the typical robin gray back. The bird I saw had a distinctly more olive-colored back (although not bright olive, it was a drab olive - a more neutral olive to use artist's terminology. 2.) The throat had much more white than this bird, and distinct dark malar stripes. To the extent this bird has malar stripes, they look more like white stripes on a dark throat. It was the other way around on the bird I saw. 3.) Although this bird has a non-orange portion of the lower belly, the bird I saw had significantly less (and duller/lighter) orange - mostly on the chest and not as much covering the belly. 4.) Size - although not greatly smaller than a robin, the bird I saw was smaller than adjacent robins. When I saw the bird you photographed with other robins, it was the same size.

I'm very conservative when it comes to reporting rarities, and with hindsight and no personal photo on this bird, I probably should have waited to report it until I had gone back and hopefully gotten a decent photo. But I figured more eyes and cameras were better than one and so decided to loose the crowd of fellow crazed birders onto the scene. One other time I posted a rarity (not at this level!) that I had not photographed was when I had a Lewis's Woodpecker at Three Forks in Snoqualmie. That bird was the first one reported in King County (at least that I knew of) in quite some time and I debated whether to post it or not without a photo but went ahead. Fortunately in that case, Marv Breece chased the bird the next day and found and photographed it exactly where I had seen it. Ironically, long enough removed from the first sighting to pretty much assure it had vacated the area for points south, I found and videotaped a almost-certainly different Lewis's flycatching from the top of a power pole behind the Snoqualmie post office...! I'm not sure anyone would have believed that report (much less two in the same year) without Marv's follow-up post and the video of the second bird.

If I'm ever so fortunate to encounter something at this level of rarity again, it will quietly go on my personal life list and won't be reported on eBird or Tweeters until I have a confirming photo and/or another experienced birder confirming the sighting. Assuming the bird I saw (or hallucinated! ) remains unfound, my apologies to those who chased it unsuccessfully. At least it wasn't in Spokane, or Asotin County, sigh...! I plan on making another attempt to find it tomorrow, but with as many heavy hitter eyes as were looking for it over the weekend, I ain't very optimistic.

As soon as I hit send on this e-mail, I'm going to quietly and happily go back to reporting the many extremely rare birds from my back yard to Project Feederwatch - you know: DEJU, BCCH, CBCH, FOSP, SOSP, DOWO, STJA, RBNU and maybe if I'm really fortunate, the neighborhood COHA will come by on a strafing run.

Regards,

John Tubbs
Lacey, WA
johntubbs at comcast.net



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

From: "Al" <aclark at wamail.net>
To: "Tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2016 12:04:45 AM
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Robin or Eyebrowed Thrush

My photo is at:
http://www.pbase.com/image/162566594
Al in Tacoma
alndonna at wamail.net
From: johntubbs at comcast.net
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2016 11:11 PM
To: Dave Hayden
Cc: Tweeters bird mail
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Robin or Eyebrowed Thrush
Hi Dave and other chasers,
The unusual robin was seen and photographed pretty early this morning by a number of folks, and although it has the 'eyebrow' it does not fit the other differentiating marks on the bird I saw. The big lesson learned here - which I should have learned back when I was doing really serious bird photography - is to always have a camera, even on casual birding outings and regardless of wet weather. I've been fortunate over the years to photograph some pretty rare birds on the wet side of the mountains but sold my pro gear a few years ago and on this outing didn't even have the SX-50. For those folks newer to Tweeters since I haven't posted for some time, you might want to check out my photo website - www.johntubbsphoto.com - and click on the birds and critters gallery. As some examples, the sparrow folder contains TWO Brewer's Sparrows on this side of the mountain. The first was at my old workplace along Willows Road in Redmond, and one of those photos is in Gene Hunn's newest Birding in Seattle and King County book. Amazingly, we also had a Brewer's Sparrow show up a year or so later in our backyard in Snoqualmie - photos of that bird are there as well. At the Snoqualmie house, we also had and photographed an American Tree Sparrow in the yard, and also had and got passable photos of a Northern Goshawk that showed up on a snag tree near our house - those images are in the Raptors folder on the website. Perhaps my all-time favorite photo from Snoqualmie is in the Owls folder - it is of a Northern Pygmy Owl holding a recently-caught House Sparrow. It was sitting in a tree 15 feet from our kitchen nook window.
Anyway, my kingdom (such as it is) for a photo in this case...! Coulda, shudda, wudda.
I'm still planning on going back and looking again, if not tomorrow then Monday.
John Tubbs
Lacey, WA
----- Original Message -----

From: "Dave Hayden" <dtvhm at nwrain.com>
To: "Tweeters bird mail" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2016 8:51:49 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Robin or Eyebrowed Thrush
I’ve added another photo that Sherry took of this bird. After reading more descriptions about the Eyebrowed Thrush, I starting to second guess our ID. It’s not a bird that we are familiar with, and this bird we photographed is a strange plumage for a Robin. But then again, common birds can have some interesting plumages.
http://s79.photobucket.com/albums/j148/dtvhm
Dave Hayden
dtvhm @ nwrain.com
Centralia, WA

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