Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First OBRC report of the year

I spent a bit of time on it (and was happy with the sketch)... So I figured it would make for decent blog material.

I'm not gonna lie... I would be very unhappy with this report if I were reviewing it (having been written by someone else) without photos... I'm very happy with my identification, but totally understand the difficulties with Juncos --- never mind without photos.. With that said, I wanted to submit it anyways. Here's what I sent:

Sketch I completed within 60 mins of sighting

Text from word file:

OBRC Report: “Pink-sided” Dark-eyed Junco from Hillman Marsh (Point Pelee Birding Area)
I finished a sketch of the bird + details within 60 minutes of my sighting. I have added a scan of the original to this email, and have typed out the words below (exactly as they appear on the original sketch) so it is easier to read the details:

“Pink-sided” Dark-eyed Junco
Brandon Holden
Mar 18, 2012
Hillman Marsh Shorebird Cell Start
**Small map drawn showing location of objects and location of bird **
--- these are the only notes I haven’t typed out here…
Random notes on the bird inserted around the borders of the sketch (counter clockwise):
-          Light was hazy, sun in a good direction
-          ~100+ SCJU seen inside P. Pelee NP at the tip this morning w/ lots of birds heard chipping/calling
-          Pale gray hood was (for a junco) exceptionally pale. Recalled gray of Tufted Titmouse
-          Call note was distinctive in that I did not recognize it as a junco when first heard. It was more harsh with a metallic slapping quality compared to the SCJU I am used to hearing
-          Bird called/chipped maybe 15/20 times

Experience: 1 PSJU seen at Beamer CA in Grimsby years ago*undocumented?*.  several hundred Oregon Juncos in Kelwona, BC in Nov 2011

Report finished at 12:30pm same day

Vortex 8x42 binoculars
Events: (from top right corner)
                I was scanning the ducks at the cell when I heard a bird I did not recognize
I first saw the bird with my eyes, initial guess was TUTI (Tufted Titmouse) based on colour/pattern
                 Binoculars raised to reveal a distinctive Junco w/ a very odd call/chip
                Bird sat for 15-20 seconds before  it flew deeper into the hedgerow

Notes in connection with the sketch (clockwise from top):
Bird was mostly facing me
Dark lores
Pink bill
Light/pale slate gray on the hood
Distance to bird was 12-15 feet
Bird was alone !
White belly
Tail was un-noteworthy when perched
Bottom right sketch: flashed white in tail when it flew
Green representing the distribution of the pale pastel pink/orange on sides of body. Some of the colour spilled onto the back of the bird, but my vision was limited due to the bird facing me
Nothing of note was seen on the wings

Post observation report details:
Similar species: the distinctive plumage and call note made me very confident I was not dealing with a “Slate-coloured Junco”… I have spent a long time studying Junco’s in Ontario, and have seen a few birds labeled as “Cassiar” Juncos (an Oregon/mix) and felt the pale gray + pastel colours eliminated the often brown-washed “Cassiar” birds.
I was fortunate enough to study large numbers of “Oregon” juncos in BC in Nov 2011, where the bird I saw at Hillman Marsh would really stand out of the crowd – lacking the darker/deeper orange/brown tones that these birds showed.
I was very confident in my sighting given the plumage details and the call note, but unfortunately did not have my camera (and would likely not have managed to get a photo, even if I had it with me).
Brandon Holden                
Burlington, ON


  1. Don't be afraid to use more sheets of paper next time LOL.

    1. lol.. it was actually on the back of a hotel receipt that I needed to expense to my company... Only paper I had!