Hurricane Isabel Birds

19 September 2003

photos by Mark A. McConaughy

The following photographs of a Pomarine Jaeger seen at Lake Somerset are generally not of good quality because of the weather conditions (rain and fog) in which they were shot. They are digiscope shots taken at approximately 120X.

This profile shot of the bird originally identified as a Parasitic Jaeger shows several features that are inconsistent with that identification. The dark hood of the bird clearly extends into the malar (cheek) area of the face. That does not happen on Parasitic Jaegers. Second, the bill on this adult non-breeding plumage bird is two-toned. It has a distinctly darker tip than the rest of the bill which is ligher in color. An adult non-breeding plumage Parasitic Jaeger should have a totally dark bill. However, these features are characteristics of Pomarine Jaegers and this is a Pomarine Jaeger.

Another shot showing just the head of the bird in question. It also shows the contrast between the lighter inner bill versus the darker facial hood and bill tip. The malar extension of the hood is also noticeable.

A final shot showing the face in profile. The dark hood area extends down into the malar area and actually goes below the level of the bill. Again, this is characteristic of Pomarine Jaegers and not that of Parasitic Jaegers. The hood in Parasitic Jaegers does not extend below the bill.

Willet seen at Yellowcreek State Park along the swimming area beach. It probably is a western form of Willet.

Another view of the Willet at Yellowcreek State Park.

This is a shot of the juvenile Sabine's Gull that was observed at Yellow Creek State Park. It is a digital camera shot with the lens set at 10X. Unfortunately, the bird did not come any closer and all I could get is this distance shot. However, it does show the black-tipped wings and brownish-gray triangle on the back of the bird typical of juvenile Sabine's Gulls.

This is a digiscope photo of the juvenile Sabine's Gull sitting on Yellow Creek Lake taken at approximately 160X. I've lightened this shot a bit with software, but it does show the typical brownish mantel color of this juvenile specimen. It would be decidedly gray if it was an adult. There also is a slight extension of the brownish area into the neck area, another juvenile Sabine's Gull characteristic.

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