[Tweeters] Towhee diagnostics and a weird whitish West Seattle warbler

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Tue Mar 28 18:20:38 PDT 2017


Hello Tweets,

The generous comments of a couple of Tweeters explained what neither the Cornell Lab’s towhee webpage nor Sibley did, which is why I was so puzzled about the report mentioned below: that there are a couple of different subspecies in the western US. The most common around here is oregonus, which is much less spotted than maculatus. (Unhelpfully, maculatus is also officially part of the name of the whole species.)

On my Flickr site<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/>, I’ve posted three photos of local (West Seattle) male towhees in the approximate order of their spottedness. From the photos posted on this helpful link<https://wildfidalgo.blogspot.com/2011/03/spot-check.html> provided by a fellow Tweeter, I can see that maculatus indeed is at the far end of spottedness. Without the comments I received in response to the post below, I sure would have assumed they were all the same species with just random variability in spottedness.

Thanks so much to those who weighed in on my towhee question; you’re part of the reason I value Tweeters so much.

Then as I was photographing the last towhee through my window, a surprisingly white little warbler appeared briefly, just long enough to catch a not-great-but-probably-sufficient photo. I assume it’s simply an unusually white Yellow-rumped Warbler—it has just a tiny hint of yellowing under the wing—but if you have other ideas, I’d be interested. (That photo<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/33554037822/in/dateposted/>’s also on my Flickr page.)

Finally, yesterday on the Seattle U campus I spotted a pair of goldfinches (first time I’ve seen them there) foraging very calmly and capably high on a vertical brick wall. I was impressed at how well their feet held those round little bodies in place against the bricks as they poked around.

Good birding to you,
Trileigh

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Trileigh Tucker
Pelly Valley, West Seattle
Natural Presence Arts website<https://naturalpresencearts.com/>
Photography<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/albums/72157661836833455>


From: Trileigh Tucker <tri at seattleu.edu<mailto:tri at seattleu.edu>>
Date: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:43 PM
To: "tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>" <tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: A monochromatic morning at Lowman Beach + a towhee question

Hi Tweets,

You don’t need me to tell you what a drizzly gray day it’s been, but it was fun spending a while at Lowman Beach in West Seattle, photographing the mostly monochromatic birds and other wildlife down in the water.

Photos of a Barrow’s Goldeneye, a Brant, and a nice nearshore Common Loon in winter plumage are on my Flickr site<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/> — with a bonus photo of another welcome black-and-white sighting, a small pod of transient orcas.

I also want to ask about an eBird “rare bird alert,” reported as "Spotted Towhee (maculatus Group) (Pipilo maculatus [maculatus Group])." I was surprised that Spotted Towhees of this group would be considered rare since they’re frequently in my back yard; is there something about this sighting that I’m misunderstanding or missing altogether? Were they in a weird location? Or am I just lucky to have rare birds around all the time?

Since I learned from Tweeters that some of my juncoes were actually the less-common Slate-colored Juncoes, it’s entirely plausible that I’m about to learn something new about towhees...

Thanks much,
Trileigh

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Trileigh Tucker
Pelly Valley, West Seattle
Natural Presence Arts website<https://naturalpresencearts.com/>
Photography<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/albums/72157661836833455>

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