From: Jon Dunn, Tom & Jo Heindel
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
Time: 03:15:24 PM
On 25 May a number of interesting birds were found at Deep Springs College. 1 White-throated Sparrow (white-striped morph, JLD), 1 Black&White Warbler (female, JLD), 2 Scott's Orioles (adult and immature males), 1 Townsend's Solitaire (late), 1 Common Nighthawk, 2 Cooper's Hawks (late immatures), 2 Stellar's, 2 Pinyon, and 1 Western Scrub-Jays, 8 Willow Flycatchers, and 2 pair of Cassin's Kingbirds. A "Russet-backed" race of Swainson's Thrush was seen and a warning needs to go out to birders. Yesterday 125 were seen in Kern County to the south of us by Dunn. We have been receiving reports of possible Veery (only 1 record for the county and only 2 for the state in spring) which is understandable based on how similiar the pale form of "Russet-backed" Swainson's is to Veery. Experience with Veery is necessary along with close scrutiny of lores, eyering, flanks and breast colors and markings. BIRDING vol 32, #3, June 2000 has an excellent article separating Veery from "Russet-backed" Swainson's and the picture on the top of page 251 of a pale "Russet-backed" Swainson's Thrush is an extreme look-alike for a Veery. Dunn found an interesting Yellow-rumped Warbler which may have been an intergrade exhibiting characteristics of both Audubon's and Myrtle. Photos were taken. Another interesting bird was a very, very dull Orange-crowned Warbler found by Dunn that is very late for any of our expected races and showed characteristics of the eastern race. Photos were taken. The last interesting bird was a vireo found by J.Heindel that showed characteristics of Blue-headed and Cassin's Vireos. Dunn said that if this bird was seen in the east it would have been called a Blue-headed but because it was in the west extreme caution must be exercised. We did not see the amount of contrast between the head and back as we needed and the sides were not as yellow as they usually are in Blue-headed but the distinct edge between the gray cheek and white throat was more typical of Blue-headed than Cassin's. So it goes down as a probable Cassin's with a big question mark. No photos were taken. Historically, the next couple of weeks are the most exciting for spring vagrants so it's time to put the chores aside and find something exciting!