Bob and others:  After looking through many books for the last couple of hours I think it is very hard to argue the Jaeger is anything other than a Long-tailed for many reasons already mentioned.  Nail looks to be at least half the bill, the outer two primaries are white  (yes, the third one is light brown - but this is mentioned in Kaufman Advanced birding as occurring).  I never observed the bird very close, as I mentioned in my previous post.  However, what I did see behavior wise and flight was characteristic of the very few Parasitics I have seen. 
 
Bottom line - Jaegers are tough and we learn from these experiences.   Glad Kristi got out there on a boat! 
 
Josh
 
Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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MO-Records: www.showme-birds.com
Bird Photos: http://www.pbase.com/jpuf



From: Bob Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 9:10:28 PM
Subject: Jaeger ID and the Jaeger is ...

Tim, Josh, Doug and now Kristi herself have opined that the Smithville bird is a Parasitic. Let me make the case for Long-tailed Jaeger using Kristi's photo. Perhaps it will help folks taking the pelagic trip tomorrow know what to look for.
 
First of all, we have a great photo to work with. Here are some comments re what can be seen on the photo:
 
General comment: Kristi's bird is a light morph juvenile of whatever species it is.
 
Head color:  The bird has a pale head, which is characteristic of first year Long-tailed Jaegers.
 
Bill size: The bill appears to compare satisfactorily with LTJA bills.
 
See e.g. http://www.kayniyo.com/images/trip_alaska_2003/658LongtailedJaeger3702.jpg
 
 http://www.pabirds.org/images/Photos/080907Long-tailedJaeger3.jpg 
 
Parasitic's have bills that are longer in proportion to their thickness. See e.g. http://bkpass.tripod.com/PAJA62903BR.jpg
 
http://www.arkive.org/media/B1/B1254430-54BD-49AC-B115-0FA38E7FAF5E/Presentation.Large/Parasitic-jaeger-dark-phase.jpg
 
Nape markings: According to Sibley, Parasitic has a streaked nape. See e.g. http://www.focusonnature.com/BirdLi757.jpg LTJA has an unpatterned nape. The Smithville bird's nape looks unstreaked.
 
Feather  edgings: Both species have pale feather edgings, but Sibley describes Parasitic's as "buffy feather edges" and LTJA's as "usually obvious pale feather edges". Kristi's bird has pale, but not buffy, edges.
 
General plumage coloration:  Kristi's bird fits Sibley's "Juvenile cold grayish" for LTJA versus "Juvenile usually has obvious cinnamon tones  in plumage" for Parasitic. See e.g. the cinnamon tones in PAJA depicted in http://www.birdzilla.com/images/stories/lavaty/parasitic-jaeger.jpg
 
White in primaries: Kristi's bird has very little white in primaries, as one would expect of LTJA. Parasitic should have a lot more.
 
See e.g. http://lh3.ggpht.com/_E5uf0AiTz0k/SHLFK0eRyvI/AAAAAAAABm0/9g5ctjQrwfQ/DSC06804.JPG
 
http://www.birdzilla.com/images/stories/lavaty/parasitic-jaeger.jpg
 
Careful examination of Tim's, Josh's and even Kristi's revised ID disclose a lot of subjective stuff (e.g. "bulky bird, not slender looking") from people who see Jaegers only very rarely.
 
There is one mark favoring Parasitic that Kristi's first photo may show, but which cannot be seen in the more recent photo. The central tail feathers of a juvenile Parasitic should be pointed. Those of a LTJA should be blunt. I'll be looking for those tomorrow.  
 
 
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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