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This month's quiz subject was at least half-hidden behind Siberian Elm leaves, with the majority of features used by most birders to identify birds (various details of head and wings) not visible. However, as a majority of respondents noted, our quiz bird is most definitely identifiable with this poor view that we have.
Comparing bird to leaves, our subject is obviously quite small, and checking on the remaining well-illustrated field mark, tail pattern, and noting the habitat, we can probably jump straight to the warblers. Yes, other species sport broadly white outermost rectrices, but our bird has a dark outer corner to the outermost rectrix, a feature typical of warblers and few other species of white-tailed birds such as woodpeckers, gnatcatchers, and juncos. (Also note, that gross tail pattern and color rules out most of the incorrect species provided as answers this month.)
While rummaging through the warbler section of the guide, we might notice that extensively white undersides to tails is mostly a Dendroica feature, as long as we can eliminate such things as the remaining species of Vermivora (after the recent massacre of that genus, with removal of most of its species into Oreothlypis) and Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers. As our bird’s belly is obviously white, Blue-winged, Prothonotary, and Hooded can be quickly eliminated. Golden-winged is a bit more problematic, as are those hybrid Golden-winged x Blue-winged warblers with white underparts, except for a character easily overlooked in this picture: our bird has an apparently thin strip of rufous on the side. That bit of color in an otherwise apparently unrelieved sea of white rules out Golden-winged and its hybrids and just about all ID contenders. Some respondents considered Bay-breasted Warbler, but that species lacks such bright white flanks and vent region.
I took this picture of a male Chestnut-sided Warbler at Chico Basin Ranch, El Paso Co., CO, on 20 May 2007.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the July Bird Photo Quiz—Chestnut-sided Warbler:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.