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GAME: name that bird!


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offshorebirder

Sorry @inyathi but I completely disagree and would note your post above smacks of "where was this  photo taken".    You may like playing that game but others do not (and have written me privately to complain that Name That Bird is turning into WWTPT).  Time will tell if they end up mentioning it publicly rather than complaining in PMs.

 

This game  used to be about bird identification based on field marks, using decent photos.   Now it is morphing into an obscure guess-athon like "where  was this photo taken".   In other words, more about human junk than birds.

 

Scenarios like Fred's are also not nearly as good at helping people learn bird IDs  - like this thread used to be good at doing.

 

This being said I will try and ignore the crap entries but if the infection spreads too much  I am out of here.

 

 

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From the discussion in the last page or so, are participants really surprised that no one else wants to join in with what was supposed to be a game. I am astonished to see such hostility 

I think different people are playing different games on the same sports field.

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inyathi

@offshorebirderI completely understand your point of view, but for me at least, there has always been some element of where was the picture taken in this game, since it became worldwide and not just African birds, not that this game should be about that, because it's not, but that is a way of narrowing down the possibilities and getting to the answer. It can't just be about the bird's diagnostic features, if you have no idea which part of the world the bird is even from, even with a decent photo, you still have to decide where to look, before you really look at the bird's diagnostics. My photo of the rufous-bellied thrush was a good photo by my standards, but Wikipedia lists 84 true thrushes in the genus Turdus and within the entire thrush family there are over 300 species, my photo should have given away the fact that it was a Turdus thrush, but you'd still want to narrow it down, so as not to have to look at every single thrush species that you aren't familiar with. As it happens, I don't think that photo would have offered many clues giving away that it was South America, so I would have offered clues to the continent if @pedro maiahad not given the answer, I wouldn't have wanted to give away the country, for reasons I will explain later in this post. If @Galana had posted a really good clear shot of his bird, if enough of the vegetation was visible, I would still likely have used the same method, to try and identify the rough location, just to avoid having to look at hundreds of Central and South American hummingbirds, in order to rule them out, then having established the region, I would have looked for diagnostics to pick the right bird. If I was looking at a hummer in the field in Ecuador, I would be using distribution as much as any diagnostic features to try and identify it, as I mentioned before in another post, Ecuador has 132 different hummers, some of which look very similar, so I'd look at the distribution to narrow it down, the difference is that in that case I would obviously know where I am, with someone else's photo I don't. My point though is just to identify the general region, sometimes just which continent are we on, nothing more specific than that, I still have to identify the bird at the end of it and in many cases the photo doesn't give any clues to where it was taken. I'm playing the game the same way I always have, Anyway, we may have to agree to disagree on this. 

 

I expressed a concern about this game a few weeks back, that there were not enough people playing this game, I was on the point of giving up for that reason, I don't see the point of posting a photo that is so easy, that the first person to see the photo gets it, I might just as well have posted that photo as a bird ID image, rather than in this game. As it was, back in June, I posted a shot of a boulder chat on the 15th,@janzinposted a reply a few days later on the 18th, but didn't have an answer, after that there were no other replies, on the 27th I posted a reply offering a clue of sorts, to not much effect, @lmSA84 eventually replied with the correct answer on the 8th of July, thus it was 3 weeks between posting my shot and getting an answer. Even allowing for the fact that the way the bird was lit in my shot, meant it didn't look very like the illustrations in the books, a factor I hadn't considered when I chose to post it, I think 3 weeks without an answer is too long. There have been many occasions, when I have only taken a guess because no one else has and I knew if I didn't, no one else would, but I didn't want to be always the one answering or only answering to keep the game from disappearing again. I agree there should be an educational element to this game, but it should still be fun as well, and it isn't if no one answers or it's just the same 2 or 3 of us playing, then it also gets boring. I'm not advocating that people should post terrible photos, but it's fair to say that we are not all serious bird photographers and don't all have the right kit, so photo quality is bound to vary. There has to be a happy medium, where we can carry on. 

 

I can also see your point of view with regard to the other game, where was the picture taken, and I can see why some don't like it, but I'm afraid Google in my view makes it almost impossible to post certain types of shot, because it is just too easy to get an answer, but if it's somewhere you never been and don't recognise, I don't know how you get an answer without using Google. To illustrate the point with my rufous-bellied thrush again, that I posted in this game, that bird as I think I said when the correct answer was given, is the national bird of Brazil, if you type "Brazil thrushes" in to Google, the very first result that comes up, is the Wikipedia entry on the rufous-bellied thrush, with three other results on the first page, that include the name of this bird, my aim with my photos, in the where was the picture taken game, is to choose shots that make it difficult, to use that method to get the answer. I don't want to just post a photo for the sake of posting a photo, because there are other threads for that, and if the answers are too easy, then the problem of different time zones comes into play, in that game you guys on your side of the Atlantic might never get a look in, because one of us Europeans has always answered, before you've ever even seen the photo. The other danger, if we post photos that can be identified too easily, is we then run out of photos to post and the game dies a natural death. Maybe the pendulum has swung too far, but I don't know what the answer is. I think I have said my piece, as I said I don't wish to fall out with anyone. 

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offshorebirder

This is not a normal submission - it's not even a submission - @kittykat23uk or @inyathi should make that.   But this bird would be an outstanding entry for Name That Bird and even putting the location of the sighting in the post would not matter - might make it more fun.

 

There is an interesting Myiarchus Flycatcher currently on the Outer Banks of North Carolina whose identity is being debated.  The lady put it down as Ash-throated Flycatcher but she's not sure what it is  - that was a sort of placeholder.  Expert opinion is leaning towards La Sagra's Flycatcher, a Caribbean visitor that would be unprecedented and nearly the first outside Florida though they are rare but regular in far southern Florida.  

 

The photos are on this eBird checklist, about halfway down:   

https://ebird.org/checklist/S74033547?fbclid=IwAR2A4mvByhlM8-UEJ0SkL7Jbjjzi22RghUNiZN8WFAqE5ES4gzDRMBMJgbo

 

Edited by offshorebirder
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offshorebirder
22 minutes ago, inyathi said:

then run out of photos to post and the game dies a natural death.

 

I think Covid-19 is exacerbating this.  

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Kitsafari

I've always viewed the thread "Where was the picture taken" as an extension of this thread "Name the bird", except that the former had to have a picture of wildlife, not necessary a bird. I think both threads are pretty distinct on their own.

I don't participate in the game simply because - first up, i'm not a knowledgeable birder i'm only a "bird watcher" - i don't have enough information to recognise many birds, especially those in foreign lands; second, a terrible memory means i find the bird vaguely familiar but often forget the name of the species; third, i've got a very lazy mind and i hate puzzles. 

All of which explains why I've found it rather intimidating to take part in the game. 

But I've enjoyed the bantering and the sleuthing and the reasoning on the various guesses made by people. What I have found most enlightening is that how each one arrives at his/her conclusion and realising that just seeing a bird may not be sufficient to recognise the species.       

@inyathihas given a very detailed answer on why there is more to just a perfect picture of a bird to recognise the species, which is the reason why I follow this thread and how I learn and get tips on ID-ing the bird, and why, I am guessing, that many follow but not participate. 

This thread has grown, quite naturally, from just posting a bird and naming that bird, to analysing the more difficult and remote ones. Yes, it would seem now that it is always the same people taking part in it, but I'm sure many are reading it without commenting. and don't forget, true bird watchers are in the minority here.

 

Ultimately, the thread is what it said it is  - A GAME. and that's how I am treating it - just as it says it is, not overly seriously, but lightly with tongue-in-cheek cheer. 

 

Time to move on. 

 

@pedro maia looking forward to your next mysterious bird. 

 

 

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kittykat23uk

OK, try this one. I'm afraid I broke my laptop so have not been able to to review all my shots of this bird, hopefully there's enough to go on.. 

 

OI000169

 

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Red-breasted Flycatcher? Or do I need another book?

Edited by Galana
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I will return to that photo one last time. Everybody is entitled to their views (no pun intended). My views are that this game should be testing and hopefully educational as well as entertaining. A ‘poor’ photo will stretch us more than a simple full frontal of field marks. It is only by being stretched that one learns. @inyathi describes his methodology very clearly and that is also how I see things. Others are free to disagree.

I don’t see why anybody should seek to impose their own view and rules on how the game is played. Some of the current players have been involved almost from the start and will recall how the rules and playing have changed over the years. Latecomers may be surprised to learn that the rules used to be “African Birds only” and 'clues' ranged across the obscurity of anagrams to crosswords.

Heck. Sometimes even part birds were used just to test players and sometimes quality was somewhat lacking. Nobody argued or got heated about it. Nobody used terms like “An angular blob and I call rubbish”. The game evolved as all things do.

 

Back to my Hummer photograph that triggered the latest exchanges. I don’t harbour any aspirations to win “Young wildlife photographer of the year” and never have. I don’t think I would qualify anyway:P.

My photos are a record of what I have seen. Nothing more nothing less. I don’t ‘post process’ them so you get what the camera saw. Contrary to some beliefs the camera does not lie, the human eye does, and post processing simply replaces what the camera saw with what the human eye would have liked to see. Sometimes IMHO to the detriment of the shot and the truth.

I saw a bird in a bush and sought to capture a record of it. Later I worked out what it was. It was not in my Sibley's of West USA but I got there in the end.

And so the contrast between the lovely drawings in that glossy and expensive Field Guide and actual photographs can be quite marked. No doubt Xantu’s Hummer in that expensive Field Guide has a huge and obvious supercilium as a field mark but it is not that obvious in reality. Indeed the female is quite devoid of many marks and quite a plain Jane.

Compare these with mine and spot the difference (twigs and quality excepted.)

371001629_Capture1.JPG.05ef3d153855347d9be5449fd5f306ca.JPG

2071408564_Capture2.JPG.bbac2785ee379163f51cc45106261e1d.JPG

What IS obvious in both shots is the slight yellowing of the crown, the white, not buff, throat and breast and the quite feint face markings. From that the ID of mine should not have been the problem it apparently appeared to be to some players but not others.

@KitsafariOf course you should have a go.

I rest my case and, again,  suggest we move on.

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kittykat23uk
1 hour ago, Galana said:

Red-breasted Flycatcher? Or do I need another book?

 

Guess it was too easy! Oh well, next! :)

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Just as an aside, the "slight yellowing of the crown" on hummingbirds is almost always due to pollen--they stick their heads in! so it should not be considered a fieldmark except in species that actually have a yellow crown :)  Those yellow crowns have fooled/confused many a birder!

 

Otherwise I am not getting drawn into this argument discussion.  Its just a game, as I said before, and I stated my opinion earlier.  Play on!

 

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5 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

Guess it was too easy! Oh well, next!

Now look what you made me do.:wub:

Where did I file those Cisticolas!

Edited by Galana
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the eye looks wrong, but I'll try Arrowmarked Babbler. Could be a juvie, looking at the gape.

 

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well certainly this photo is clear enough to be able to ID the bird, unfortunately I am leaving town for the next few days (on a local birding trip but its supposed to rain the whole time, so it may be a total wash-out.) Anyway I don't have time to look further but I expect it to be long-solved by the time I return.

 

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inyathi

 

 

16 minutes ago, janzin said:

but I expect it to be long-solved by the time I return.

 

@janzin I'll do my best, I thought perhaps you had it right, with arrow-marked babbler because juveniles do have a dark eye and other features seemed to fit.

 

@Galana

 

On that basis, although I don't know for sure, I will assume that juvenile brown babblers also have dark eyes and therefore suggest immature Brown Babbler?

Edited by inyathi
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@janzin & @inyathi Now you have me worried as two of you (both respected non guessers)  are going for Babbler when I have it down as something very very different. I have just sent 30 minutes googlng juv Babblers which yielded  nothing like my bird that I could see. To weed out the Asiatics  I then went 'specific' with much the same result.

Neither Google nor I are perfect but I don't think that head and bill say "Babbler to me". Bill too short and head too 'round'. I cannot comment further on other marks without perhaps going too close.

If I was at home I could even go for Sparrows which I hasten to add is not a clue other than to confirm as you have surmised I am in foreign lands.

I have dug out the high res 5.6MB but the reductions don't seem to have changed anything.

Don't say I have supplied a focused shot in reasonable light with all field marks and no pesky foliage and twigs from bill to vent only to get egg on my face?:P I should stick to EBCs.

 

Don't get too wet Janet!

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inyathi

@GalanaIf I'm being really honest, I gave that answer despite having a nagging doubt about it being a babbler or even an African bird, for the reason that you have stated, the bill and the head don't quite say babbler to me, and I think the tail is a little short. However, I couldn't think of other African options of the top of my head, and a quick perusal of my Indian book produced no leads, I think I need to study that book a bit more and also widen my search to other areas. Just the assumption that it could be an immature babbler, led me to disregard the features that aren't quite right, so that answer was a bit of a premature guess, so I'm not at all surprised that I was wrong. I think what can lead me astray on occasion, is ignoring the fact that the bill (or whatever) doesn't really quite match the illustrations, on the presumption that artist didn't managed to get the bill shape quite right, because when you look at illustrations in two different books, they can vary quite a bit, so I'm always a bit wary of assuming I must be wrong, because the photo doesn't match the picture. Also I'm not always that bothered if I'm wrong, so I'm not afraid to throw in a guess, just to show that I'm still playing the game, it's good to be wrong now and again. I feel I should know what this bird is, but what I'm really saying is at the moment, I don't have a good idea, but I will try and come up with one.     

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Dave Williams

Spotted Honeyguide.... not smoking, snorting, drinking....or looking in a guide book either!

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4 hours ago, inyathi said:

it's good to be wrong now and again. I feel I should know what this bird is,

My feelings exactly.  It is  a pity that the vegetation is not more useful but if it helps I can say that the bright green patch is actually a small leaf in the bill.

I like @Dave Williamsofferings not for reasons of accuracy but as he seems to have noted some features that could help eventual ID. However it would be well out of range for this photo.

So, subject to scrutiny, it is not a Babbler or a Honeyguide.

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inyathi
11 minutes ago, Galana said:

but if it helps I can say that the bright green patch is actually a small leaf in the bill.

 

Not that much, I'd figured that out already, but I wasn't sure what it should tell me. I'd sort of talked myself into thinking, it could be a babbler, following @janzin's answer because I thought being immature could account for it being not looking quite right, when really my gut was telling mem that we are not in Africa and your responses seem to confirm that, the vegetation seems to perhaps suggest the tropics or sub tropics rather more than somewhere temperate, but I wouldn't rule anything out entirely at this point, except perhaps Europe. Unfortunately, at this point I'm still at the 'I know what it isn't stage', but I'm still working on it. :)    

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Well NOT that far out of range! It's Africa.

9 hours ago, Galana said:

However it would be well out of range for this photo.

 

8 hours ago, inyathi said:

I'm still at the 'I know what it isn't stage', but I'm still working on it. :)    

Let me help. Not an Ostrich, Penguin or pelagic.:lol: or Humming bird come to that.

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michael-ibk

Don´t have my books at Hand but my first thought was Ant-Thrush. So even if it does not quite fit I´ll go for White-Tailed Ant-Thrush.

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I also thought maybe it was a member of the honeyguide family but something about the way it’s standing and it’s colour reminds me of a Chachalaca - could it be a juvenile Plain Chachalaca? 

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