Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Illinois rarities: Bullock's Oriole, a possible second Mac-G Warbler

Well, the run of amazing vagrants in Illinois has continued. Today a female Bullock's Oriole was reported from downstate, while a possible/probable Mac-G Warbler was reported from the bush formerly known as the Magic Hedge at Montrose. Maybe an Ivory-billed Woodpecker will be next. Oh, sorry, the person who reported today's Mac-G has *already seen* an IBWO!

Could today's bird be the Kane County bird, just moving further east? What are the odds? What are the odds that there are two Mac-G Warblers in Illinois right now, when there has been only one prior accepted record in the last 100 years or so?

But, playing devil's advocate to my own devil's advocate, maybe the second bird shows that there is a pattern of dispersal for this species this year, similar to what some have commented on in Texas regarding some out-of-range Mac-Gs that have been seen there this year.

Or maybe people are just starting to see things that aren't there once the thought has been put into their heads. Or maybe people are properly identifying a species that always passed through in small numbers but has been consistently misidentified and "disbelieved" by the experts. Wait a minute, are we talking about a warbler or a woodpecker here? BINAC's head is spinning!

1 comment:

Bill Pulliam said...

Well for every one vagrant that gets detected THOUSANDS likely slip by unnoticed, especially for something like a MacGillivray's that is not inclined to come peck on your nose and say "here I am" (although, a MacG is more likely to do this than is a Mourning, in my experience). But we run into that age old problem -- which is more likely, the hyper-rarity or an individual of the common species that happens to have a small plumage abnormality that closely mimics the hyper-rarity? This is where you need some independent supporting evidence in addition to the one small plumage character -- vocalizations, for instance. Even a chip, if it had been recorded and spectographed, might be enough to corroborate the ID.

I do think that that group of gray-hooded Oporonis is among the most frequently mis-ID'd set of warblers on the Continent...