My previous post highlighted some of the wood warblers I have seen at Rondeau this spring. Typically only one image per species was used. And that created a problem....hence this post.
I included this image of a Northern Waterthrush.
I can't say that I blame Brandon for this comment. He is a highly respected and knowledgeable birder, and has served admirably on the Ontario Bird Records Committee (OBRC) for several years. From the angle showing this bird, the image does have some characteristics of Louisiana: the broad light coloured supercilium and the appearance of fewer, more spaced out darker streaks on the flank. However, and this is the reason for the title of this post, this single picture doesn't tell it all.
This next one is of the same bird taken three minutes earlier.
Had the bird been singing, it would have helped, but this one was quiet.
Almost exactly a year later, I photographed this waterthrush within a short distance of the Northern Waterthrush. It wasn't singing either.
I realized after posting the previous 'Warbler Parade' blog and reading Brandon's comment that for a more challenging species it would have been helpful to include additional supporting photos to substantiate the identification. I expect that is why bird field guides are more useful when they show illustrations rather than photos. A good illustrator can often show all the important characteristics in one or two illustrations, whereas it might take half a dozen good photos to do the same.
Over the years, I have had single images of birds sent to me for identification. I'm sure many reading this post have received some also. While some images are relatively easy to figure out, when a single photo is received that does not show the critical characteristics, one is left with making an educated guess.
I am sure this is a dilemma for members of the OBRC. Sometimes a single photo is all that is received, and without the critical characteristics being shown, it can be difficult to accept or reject a rare record. I admire the willingness of the OBRC members to sift through the various types of reports from year to year, to decide what records are acceptable and what records are not!
So thanks, Brandon, for the comment on my previous post, and for indirectly pointing out the need for me to be more thoughtful in labelling certain types of images!