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10113White Pass Fox Sparrows

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  • Scott Downes
    Jul 2, 2014
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      Eric Heisey joined me today to examine the Fox Sparrows at White Pass. I wanted to assess what the ratios of Slate-colored and Thick-billed subspecies were. I started with the Thick-billed bird in the campground that I found on June 7. Wonderful study of Thick-billed traits on this bird and it allowed for additional photos beyond those I took previously. Then we started around the campground loops. Amazingly, we found no other Fox Sparrows in the campground, which is different than past years. It is possible that some just weren’t singing/responsive today. We then hit other areas around Leech Lake including along the highway, near the Ski area cabins and on the south side of Hwy. 12. We came up with only two other Fox Sparrows, both Slate-colored. Did have some other nice birds in the campground (and the surrounding Leech Lake area) including a Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, adult Bald Eagle and numerous Hummingbirds. It was clear that many of the hummers were young of the year, leading to a big influx.
      I continue to be interested in the Fox Sparrow dynamic up here and will likely return next June for further study (if not later again this month). Thick-billed Fox Sparrows have been documented for several years here (going back to 2007 I believe by Denny) and remain an interesting topic of why they are showing up at White Pass.
      As a side note Eric and I were commenting on the lack of gulls on Rimrock this year. Driving home after dropping Eric off at Camp Dudley, I found about 15 California Gulls swimming on the lake while driving along Hwy. 12.
      Scott Downes
      Yakima WA