Black-fronted-Nunbird-Explo.gif (55799 bytes)Bad photos of Good Birds


All photographs Kevin J. McGowan, unless otherwise noted.

Last updated 15 December 2006.

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Recent Rare Birds in New York (and nearby)

Identification Studies

Other fun bird photos, semi-rarities, and older rarities.

Recent Rare Birds in New York

Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sp. Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY, 15 December 2006.

Possible hybrid Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus X Herring Gull, Larus argentatus. Dryden TWS, Tompkins Co., NY, 31 January 2007. 


Identification Studies

Swan identification in upstate New Yorktelling the difference between Tundra and Trumpeter swans.

Problem geese: domestic geese and hybrids that can cause confusion with wild geese.

Problem ducks: domestic ducks and hybrids that can cause identification problems and confusion.

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus smithsonianus) variation. I include photos of numerous individuals of varying ages. This is still a work in progress. I plan on adding to it for a while.

Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus): some recent visitors and thoughts on aging and sexing.

Variation in the head patterns of Downy (Picoides pubescens) and Hairy (P. villosus) woodpeckers. It's not just red or no red.

Yellow kingbird identification notes, with special reference to Livingston Co., NY (Nov 2003) individual.

Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus, Armitage Road, Wayne/Seneca Co., NY, 20 May 2000.  Comments on distinguishing it from Northern Shrike.

Differences between Fish and American crows. They're just hard to tell apart, folks!

Bewick's and Carolina wren tail comparisons: beware the pitfall of white in the tail of a Carolina Wren.

Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta, south of Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY, 9/10 April 2000.  Visual pointers on distinguishing the two meadowlark species.


Other fun bird photos, semi-rarities, and older rarities.


Photographic evidence of the validity of conflicting waterfowl reports in Tompkins Co., New York, October 2000. Including White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca), Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), Great Scaup (Aythya marila), and Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis).

Greater White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons, Myer's Point, Lansing, Tompkins Co., NY, 24 February 2001; with some comments on domestic geese.

Barnacle Goose, Branta leucopsis, Lysander, Onondaga Co., NY, 22 April 2000.

Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii, in New York.  Featuring one in Onondaga Co., 26 September 2004; two from Cayuga Lake, Seneca Co. 2 March 2002; and two from Ithaca, Tompkins Co, 19 December 2000.

Ross's Goose, Chen rossii, and hybrids, in New York.

Common [Eurasian Green-winged] Teal (Anas crecca crecca), Dryden, Tompkins County, NY.  5 March 2004.

Yellow-billed Loon, Gavia adamsii, Oswego, NY, 3 January 1998.

Wood Storks, Mycteria americana, Clyde, Wayne Co, New York, 25 August 2001.

Cattle Egret, Bulbulcus ibis, Ithaca, NY ,12 August 1997.

Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolis, Cayuga Co., NY, 12 January and 1 March 2003.


King Rail, Rallus elegans, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Co., NY, 2 June 2002.  No photos, just some bad recordings (and a Clapper Rail photo for effect).

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica), Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge,Seneca Co., NY, 23 Sep & 12 Oct 2002.


Piping Plover, Charadrius melodus, Myer's Point Park, Lansing, Tompkins Co., New York, 16 September 2001.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata), Irondequoit Bay, Monroe Co., NY, 12 October 2002.

An interesting November weekend in Tompkins Co. (including Black-legged Kittiwake; Purple Sandpipers, Calidris maritima; Red-throated Loon; and more!).


Little Gull, Larus minutus, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Co., NY, 19 May 2005.  Or is it a Ross's Gull?

Possible Black-headed (Larus ridibundus) X Ring-billed Gull (L. delawarensis), Woodburne, Sullivan Co., NY, 22 February 2002.  Is it a hybrid or a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)?

Black-tailed Gull, Larus crassirostris, Charlotte Town Beach, Charlotte, Chittenden Co., VT, 23 October 2005.  (Not quite New York, but close enough to feature here.)

Albino Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis. This individual was photographed in St. Petersburg, FL, 21 Feb 1983. A bird looking very similar was seen off Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY, 25 Oct 1999.

Iceland Gulls (Larus glaucoides), central New York.  Including a Thayer's-ish individual.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, Dryden Lake, Tompkins Co., NY, 17 Mar 2000.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, juvenile. Dryden TWS, Tompkins Co., NY, 8 November 2005.  (The species is a regular occurrence in the area, but a juvenal-plumaged bird is odd.)

Presumed 2nd winter Nelson's Gull (Hybrid of Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus and Herring Gull Larus argentatus), in field across from Seneca Meadow's Landfill, along rt 414, Seneca Falls, Seneca Co., New York. 9 December 2000.

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), Dryden Lake, Tompkins Co., NY, 16 November 2002.

Black Guillemot, Cepphus grylle, Cayuga Lake, Aurora, Cayuga Co., NY, 30 October 2004.  A very rare inland record.

Long-billed_Murrelet_Ithaca.gif (7071 bytes)***Long-billed Murrelet Brachyramphus perdix, Ithaca, Tompkins Co., NY, 17 December 2001.***

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, Hamlin, Monroe Co., NY, 16 June 2002.

Snowy Owl, Bubo scandiacus, Savannah Mucklands, Wayne Co, NY, 3 January 1998.


Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus, immature male, Lenoir Preserve, Yonkers, Westchester Co., NY, 23 November 2001.

Selasphorus Hummingbird, Lenoir Preserve, Yonkers, Westchester Co., NY, 4 November 2002.  Rufous or Broad-tailed?  Look at the photos and see what you think. I now think it is an immature female Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus).  See the page for an explanation of why (with reference photos!).


Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis, Wayne Co., NY, 28 September 1997.

Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis, Wayne Co., NY, 28 September 1997 - scenic shot showing why it liked the spot.

Presumed hybrid Couch's Kingbird X Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus sp.), Livingston Co., NY, 22 November 2003.

Northern Shrike, Lanius excubitor, Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, Tompkins Co., NY, 10 January 2001.

Cliff Swallows, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, Etna, Tompkins Co., NY. 25 June 2000.

Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva, Stewart Park, Ithaca, Cayuga Lake, Tompkins Co., NY, 24 November 2004.

Brown-capped Chickadee (Poecile sp.), Canoga, Seneca County, NY.  19 July 2004.   Boreal Chickadee, Siberian Tit, or an odd Black-capped Chickadee?

Sedge Wren, Cistothorus platensis, Freese Rd., Dryden/Ithaca town line, Tompkins County, NY. 20 July 2000.

Mountain Bluebird, Sialia currucoides, Ellis Hollow, Town of Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY, 6 March 2005.

Mottled American Robin, Turdus migratorius, Ithaca, Tompkins Co., NY, 20 Mar 2000.

Bohemian Waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus, Tompkins Co., winter and spring 2002.

Hermit Warbler, Dendroica occidentalis, Jones Beach State Park, Nassau Co., NY, 30 November 2002. This individual would be a first state record if accepted by NYSARC.  It looks like it might have some Townsend's Warbler genes in it.

Clay-colored Sparrow, Spizella pallida, Irish Hill Rd, Newfield Township, Tompkins Co., NY, 20 May 2001.

Lark Bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys, Alabama TWS, Genessee Co., NY, 22 April 2000.

Dickcissel (Spiza americana) in Ithaca, NY, 18 November 2003.

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), West Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY, 22 September 2002.

Winter Finches, Tompkins Co., NY, winter of 2001-2002.

Including Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator.

Hoary Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni exilpes, Dryden, NY, 1 February 1998.


A nice evening at Stewart Park, 20 Sep 2000. Including Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), and Green Heron (Butorides virescens).

Local Ithaca/Dryden birds, 29 Aug 2000. Including Great Egret (Ardea alba), Fish Crows (Corvus ossifragus), and Merlin (Falco columbarius).

An Adirondack weekend - a photo-filled account of a FNYSBC field trip, 3 & 4 June 2000.

Current occupant of Lick Brook Common Raven nest, Ithaca, NY, 18 Mar 2000.

Unk889thmb.jpg (4531 bytes) Mystery bird from the Amazon of Peru.   I (still) don't know what it is.  Do you?


Last updated 08-Nov-05

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