To veterans and beginners alike this birding hobby can, at times, be challenging if not downright frustrating. Weather can be an issue, roads can be snowed in or washed out, brush can get thick, muddy ground can be messy, etc. But mostly the birds themselves will often present nothing more than fleeting glimpses, a brief pass, a leaf-blocked view, or quite often, nothing at all, just a sound or two to let a birder know there’s something there, but hidden and not to be seen.
A friend emailed me the photo below and related a tale similar to the above. The bird remained stationed high in the tree, didn’t move, and offered no better view.
The photo illustrates the importance of learning not only what the upper parts of birds look like, but the underparts as well. This is especially true for the high canopy species such as warblers, tanagers, vireos, and such.
The bird shown above is obviously fairly large, somewhat long-tailed, with a whitish belly. The undertail coverts appear dark on the upper half and end abruptly before giving way to white toward the tip. The only candidate around here which fits these clues is blue jay.