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  #1  
Old 05-07-2009, 12:06 PM
richmay richmay is offline
 
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Default White Rock Lake

I saw a yellow headed blackbird in the field just north of the fish hatchery yesterday. Also northern parula, Wilson's warbler, black-and-white warbler, Nashville warbler, American redstart in the fish hatchery proper. Heard a warbling vireo but couldn't find it.
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:45 PM
jpeter jpeter is offline
 
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Default Re: White Rock Lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by richmay View Post
I saw a yellow headed blackbird in the field just north of the fish hatchery yesterday. Also northern parula, Wilson's warbler, black-and-white warbler, Nashville warbler, American redstart in the fish hatchery proper. Heard a warbling vireo but couldn't find it.
Yellow-headed blackbird is a new bird for the WRL area.

Thanks...
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:48 PM
betsy betsy is offline
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Default Re: White Rock Lake

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Originally Posted by jpeter View Post
Yellow-headed blackbird is a new bird for the WRL area.
Jim, unless you just added it today, Yellow-headed Blackbird has been on the WRL checklist for awhile, showing as Irregular in Sp, S & F. I saw a female YHBL myself several years ago in the reeds below Winfrey Point. J.R. Compton got some good photos of both males and females in the meadow at Winfrey Point on April 14 this year.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:55 PM
jpeter jpeter is offline
 
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Default Re: White Rock Lake

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Originally Posted by betsy View Post
Jim, unless you just added it today, Yellow-headed Blackbird has been on the WRL checklist for awhile, showing as Irregular in Sp, S & F. I saw a female YHBL myself several years ago in the reeds below Winfrey Point. J.R. Compton got some good photos of both males and females in the meadow at Winfrey Point on April 14 this year.
The record I had was presumptive. By that I mean it was undocumented on someone else's record. There was no written information. Nor was the observer mentioned.

I have a few like that... most are warblers though. The warblers are easier to swallow because they are expected at some point in the right season and are not considered "irregular".

The YH Blackbird was a little troublesome as a record. Now, not so much as I can attach an observer and a date. Your other April records clear it up too of course.

I didn't have much problem putting it on the list, but I'm always better with a date and an observer. The same is true of the empidonax flycatchers. I was happy Chris Runk finally spent the time seriously looking over them, and I am more comfortable with the status now. Before that, one has to presume based on Dallas records in general.

Jim
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Last edited by jpeter : 05-08-2009 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:39 PM
betsy betsy is offline
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Default Re: White Rock Lake

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Originally Posted by jpeter View Post
The record I had was presumptive. ...
I have a few like that... Jim
What about coding the presumptive ones with a P so we know to report sightings of those species to you, with a writeup or photos or whatever documentation would be satisfactory (or possible)? It wouldn't occur to me to report the appearance of a bird that was already on the list without some hint like that. I didn't know until now that there were any presumptive entries and I still don't know which ones are presumptive.

[Oh -- wait -- I just looked at the list of unexpected birds up at the top and there the YHBL is. OK, I assume the birds in that list are the presumptive birds if they also appear in the grid below.]
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:06 PM
jpeter jpeter is offline
 
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Default Re: White Rock Lake

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Originally Posted by betsy View Post
What about coding the presumptive ones with a P so we know to report sightings of those species to you, with a writeup or photos or whatever documentation would be satisfactory (or possible)? It wouldn't occur to me to report the appearance of a bird that was already on the list without some hint like that. I didn't know until now that there were any presumptive entries and I still don't know which ones are presumptive.
"Presumptive" is pretty standard stuff, but it can have different definitions depending on the checklist author. Every checklist has a good number of birds that are expected but that the records are thin. Usually, they don't require any special status change. The author gets to make the call. Some of the records are heresay or perhaps maybe an old record. Let's say, for example, it's Yellow-bellied Flycatcher from 1980 by a checklist that was handed to me 10 years ago from someone I didn't know. That bird is a pefectly reasonable expectation based on migration pattern. However, this bird is a very late migrant. It could easily go unnoticed by birders every year. it's not surprising that the records are thin. Nevertheless, if you didn't add birds like this, even with a thin record, the checklist would look weird - almost like it's missing.

It's not hard to do this in the metroplex. We have enormous record data from Dallas Christmas Counts, Southside Water Treatment Plant, and other places. Some have Yellow-bellied Flycatcher observations. But for WRLake, let's say I only have one or two. Both of them came from a checklist I inherited from a woman who had birded WRlake every week for 3 years. She was a good birder, but she just had a checklist that her and her friends created every weekend after their walk - no dates.

There's no reasonable way I would eliminate that bird from the checklist based on surrounding records and based on the fact that a good birder reported it. In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if this wasn't exactly the case for the YH-Blackbird - a bird I've seen three times in Dallas County that I can remember - but never at WRLake

This kind of thing happens all the time when you make checklists. Irregular birds are sometimes "iffy" with thin record but in the case of YHBL, it's a straggler in Dallas County almost every year somewhere. It's just that I get a twinge of excitement when I get a date and observer to make it more official.
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