[Tweeters] April Fool's Day birds -- for real, and an eBird help request.

Kevin Lucas vikingcove at gmail.com
Thu Apr 1 21:08:01 PDT 2021

Today I was treated with several April Fool's Day birds in the lower Yakima
Valley. The first was a Eurasian Green-winged Teal with the boldest white
facial markings I've seen on a Green-winged Teal. I didn't see the
horizontal white line on its sides until I reviewed my photos. It
April-fooled me into thinking it didn't have any white side marks.

With American vs Eurasian Green-winged Teal, I see lots of eBird "complete"
checklists here that list only Green-winged Teal (American). I can only
identify drake (male) Green-winged Teal to American vs Eurasian vs American
x Eurasian. Is there some trick that experts are using, other than
assumption, to distinguish female Green-winged Teal here to be American and
not Eurasian? Even when female Green-winged Teal flush and show their
speculums, I think it would be tough to make the distinction on every hen
based on field observation. I enter drakes as Green-winged Teal (American),
and hens as simply Green-winged Teal, choosing accuracy over precision
lumping. Perhaps there's a hen Green-winged Teal field mark I'm missing.

The second treat today was a drake Blue-winged Teal. I watched him fly
across in front of me and didn't even think to try for a photo until he'd
flown out of view, when I realized my report would be disbelieved by the
usual suspects. But I'd gotten a great view, and that's what it's about for
me. It's a bit early for Blue-winged Teal here. My wife & I had seen a
couple of Blue-winged Teal drakes on a Solstice bird count near Toppenish
Creek in December some years back, but our sighting was dismissed by the
local experts -- portending a pattern of such disbelief. Fortunately today,
I got another sighting of a drake Blue-winged Teal, probably the same
individual, and had capable cameras ready. He gave me plenty of time to
admire him in the scope too.

The third treat today was a Western Sandpiper in a flock of forty-two
Dunlin with a Least Sandpiper. The Western Sandpiper is a bit early, and is
flagged by eBird. The Dunlin aren't early. I've found them here in winter.
But forty-two set off the eBird alarm. Anyway it was great to watch the dun
ones pretty close in great light on a balmy day, and to keep seeing and
hearing the two peeps here and there among them.

Today I tried using an eBird link I'd created a few years ago. It would
give me a list of the "earliest arrival dates" for each species in the
county. I know that didn't show sightings not entered, nor reports not
"confirmed", and it showed some "confirmed" reports should not be, but it
gave me an idea if something I saw was off the charts. The bar chart
doesn't cut it for this for me. Can anyone tell me how to navigate to such
an arrivals report on eBird now?

This is the bookmarked link I'd saved, that no longer works. It's a
"retired tool" not an April Fool's joke per-se, but it's got me fooled:


Thanks for your help.

Qui tacet consentire videtur

Kevin Lucas
Yakima County, WA
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