Monday, November 4, 2013

Closer to a Gos

Credit to Warren Whaley on this bird.  I nearly became the sacrificial birder when need for sleep wore out over my hopes for new birds after a few hours at Tiscornia.  Warren, Tim, Mike Mahler and I were up on the dune talking when Warren pointed to a hawk coasting by already on top of us as I was waiting for a break in the conversation to leave.  My naked eye impression based on large size, broad wings, and heavily marked underparts was of a Rough-legged.  Then my eyes focused on an immature accipiter and I automatically said "Coop."  At least 2 of the other 3 said after raising their bins, "Gos."  I honestly thought they were joking and didn't bring the camera to bear until it was well past.  If I'd looked closer I'd probably have seen the strong eyestripe, pale upperwing coverts, amidst any number of other things, but on no sleep I failed that test (not the first time that's happened).  Oh well.
The secondaries are very broad yet the wingtips are pointed.  The tail is broad.  You can get a vague sense of the checkering of the upperwing on the 2nd to left image, a sense of the pale upperwing coverts (sort of similar to what Redtails and sometimes red-shoulders show) on the 2nd from the right.  I think this is only the 6th Gos I've ever seen and the 2nd closest.  I think I have a little better feel for the bird now though.
I tried a few spots to the south trying to intercept it again but didn't find it.

Rhoda and I later walked the breakwall at New Buffalo looking for Purple Sandpiper.  We didn't see any but a couple times medium-sized calidrid sandpipers did flush, the much more common Dunlin.  Two at the very end were fairly cooperative.

This bird was noticeably larger than the other, I'm presuming adult vs first winter (but I suppose it could be a sex difference as well)
The other was slightly shorter billed, noticeably lighter in weight and with less retained rufous in the scapulars
I actually should get out again tomorrow (2 days in a row!), having scored 2 yearbirds (the other being Tundra Swan ironically at 2 different locations), perhaps I can build on the momentum.

No comments: