Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not a BLUE GROSBEAK, Bowen Island: August 19-20

Update: Many more photos of the purported Blue Grosbeak have surfaced, and the bird is now believed to be a Purple Finch. Original photos appeared to show, and it was to my knowledge that field observers saw, bluish feathers on the bird. I believe that most of the observers are now in agreement that these were artifacts of the stage of moult.

At ~11:30 am on August 19th Ben Keen found what was thought at the time to be a possible Blue Grosbeak in heavy moult at his residence on Bowen Island. The bird was only seen for a couple minutes on the 19th. It was relocated briefly on the morning of August 20th by the original observer, and by other birders at 12:42 pm that same date.

To arrange a visit, please email Ben at ben DOT keen AT gmail DOT com


One ugly bird. This troublesome critter made feeder appearances on Aug. 19th-20th. Photo: Ben Keen

8 comments:

  1. Aww come on Nate I think it's cute ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very neat sighting, congrats Ben! I was wondering if anybody could point out the ID features that make this a Blue Grosbeak?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean obviously it would appear to be larger than a House Finch in person, and we can see some blue feathers growing in as well as a nice reddish row of feathers on the wing, but what are some other features?

      Delete
  3. Wow, ya from that photo alone I would have thought male Purple Finch.

    More photos here which appear to show quite chestnut coverts and some patches of blue (Though it's hard to really say only going on the photos... could also be gray).

    I've always thought of female Blue Grosbeaks being much warmer toned overall and this bird seems to have heavy streaking on the chest. The bill structure and overall posture of the bird seems off for Blue Grosbeak and more like Purple Finch to me but obviously seeing the bird in person would be a thousand times better as the size should be obvious and the true colours would be easier to assess. Looking forward to more photos coming out. Blue Grosbeak has certainly been a much-anticipated first for BC (Nathan would know ;) ) Hopefully it stays around long enough to pretty itself up and maybe even let me look at it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oops, here's the link to the other pics: http://birding.bc.ca/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12614&p=67897

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks all! Being Chief Culprit for bringing this one so much attention I thought I’d make a quick comment on an exciting couple of days. Birding: not for the faint of heart.

    After much deliberation I agree with the purple finch ID, albeit with reservations. The first time I saw it, purple finch didn’t even crossed my mind. The bizarre red wing bars, olive patches, weird bluish hue left me baffled. But looking at the pictures from today (and I think it’s the same bird) that ID seems by far the best. The pictures may not clear up exactly what it is, but it certainly rules out what it isn’t - and it sure isn’t a blue grosbeak.

    So: mea culpa! Thanks to all the birders who came over and voiced their opinions to clear up this mess - and I appreciate the extra birds I got for my yard list having you around. Beers on me when I see you next.

    Of course I have the luxury of living here, so if it continues to visit and decides to go blue I may even deign to report it. We’ll see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Ben you have no need to apologize we are all very grateful for your keen eye and your quick report. We were all in agreement that this was a Blue Grosbeak it was a tricky bird! Do not feel bad at all thank you again for generously opening your home and for all your kindness you showed to all the birders these past days! This is part of birding it's not the first time or the last that a rarity turns out to be a common bird. I appreciate that you and others are looking for rare birds out there at your feeders you never know what just may show up so keep your eyes out my friend! :) All the best, Mel

      Delete
  6. What could make this scenario worse....Ann Nightingale has just announced that she photographed a Blue Grosbeak on the morning of August 25 at publically-closed Rocky Point.

    ReplyDelete