Your mystery bird appears to be a female Great-tailed Grackle.
San Bernardino, CA
From: mrsmeckle <rswinkleman@...
To: OrangeCountyBirding <OrangeCountyBirding@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 12:00 pm
Subject: [OrangeCountyBirding] Mystery Bird - SJWS
Saw an odd bird at SJWS yesterday evening. Couldn't figure it out so I
snapped some pictures to review later. One thing I can't emphasize
enough: these are horrible, terrible photos. I was shooting through
willow branches and into the sun. They're washed out and difficult to
see and it may be unidentifiable. Because of the specific spot it was
at, I couldn't find a good viewpoint that didn't have branches in the
way but still gave a clear view of the bird, and then once I did it
took off and I didn't see it again.
Its bill is relatively distinctive, this may be the one saving grace to
the photos. As it flew over it was making "churk" type calls similar to
a blackbird, but it doesn't look like a blackbird. You can see that its
got a distinctive and odd white pattern on its head (possibly related
to a change in plumage?), and it appears to have a visible iris in a
couple of the photos. While its back appears to have a blue base color
in one photo, in person it appeared more reddish; this was probably due
to the sun. You can see the tail feathers in the photos appear red. I
would estimate length as 8-9 inches or so.
The photos are located in the "Mystery Birds" folder. If this ends up
just being some weird scrub-jay or something I'll be disappointed (and
Thanks for taking a look!
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