Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jaeger Confusion

 It was a "storm of a day," as you can imagine that brought thousands of sea birds in shore. I was lucky to be able to drop everything and head to the action.
 Distance and rain contributed to poor looks at the Jaegers flying some distance from shore. It was easy to distinguish them from the Petrels, but not easy to tell the Pomarine from the Parasitic.
 Flipping through the bird guide really added to my confusion. There were light ones, dark ones, ones with forked tails, ones with a kind of club tail, and ones with no tail.
 Between the different species, different morphs and different ages, there was an amazing variance among the distant birds.
 Closer study of my photos has helped me a lot to be able to identify some of them. Others will just have to wait.
 Upon leaving the area, this Parasitic Jaeger with a clearly forked tail flew over providing me with the day's best look and best picture of this species.

 I believe this one is a Pomarine Jaeger, given the dark band below the throat and the shape of the tail.
This picture seems to show a Pomarine adult and a Pomarine juvenile. I am unsure about the bird in the middle. All of my confusion is justified given my first experience with this species and the poor visibility. In the meantime, it was a tremendous introduction to these birds. Perhaps now, I will be better equipped to recognize one flying offshore from Cape Spear or Cape Race. And so, this concludes my musings about the Holyrood event, but it marks only the beginning of my learning about the Storm Petrel, Jaegers and the Red Phalarope.

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