Tuesday, October 6, 2015

a total tease

It's that time of year.  The best time of year for finding rarities along southern Lake Michigan.  You've gotten a taste of something a lot of fun (i.e. a Pomarine Jaeger), and you know that more can be found.  And it feels like it's close.  And then this flies through your bin field at 3 Oaks.
 It's a small bird with complex black and white patterning.  One that you've never seen before.  One that you don't even know what it is.
Oh my mind raced for a couple seconds.  Pied Water-tyrant?  Some kind of Asian Swallow?  Unfortunately it quickly became clear that it had the identical size, shape, and flight style to the flock of Tree Swallows foraging over the ponds.  Unlike gulls and waterfowl that seem to act aggressively to birds that stand out to the eye, I didn't see any of the other swallows make passes at it.

I actually got the auto-focus to lock on briefly for this shot.

All the rest are manual focus.

It's fairly (but not perfectly) symmetric in the white patterning.  The head is mostly white, the eye black, and the bill yellow.  I'm not sure quite how a person would technically describe this bird.  It's missing all the blue-green color on the body, but also has the irregular white in the wings.  Albinism is defined as missing melanin.  Leucism, per Wikipedia, is a full or partial loss of multiple types of pigments which I guess is how this bird would be characterized.

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