FW: Sedge Wren (San Mateo County, 10 January 2005)
As this is definitely of state-wide interest, there is a call for a posting
to CALBIRDS. This is San Mateo County's is 2nd Sedge Wren in the same about
To reach this area, exit from US 101 at the S. Airport Blvd. Exit. Turn
right onto S. Airport Blvd. Turn left onto Utah Avenue. Turn left onto
Harbor Way which becomes Littlefield at the "bend" and park nearest what
would be #260. I seem to remember that this building is unnumbered, but the
buildings before and after 260 are numbered. Park on the street where
parking is allowed and walk behind the building to the marsh area.
Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County
From: Tronthorn@... [mailto:Tronthorn@...]
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 12:24 AM
Subject: [pen-bird] Sedge Wren
First of all, I want to thank Merry Haveman for posting the earlier
message of the SEDGE WREN for me.
This morning, I headed off to the salt marsh along Colma Creek in South
San Francisco. I parked behind the building at 260 Littlefield Avenue. There
was already a very high tide at around 09:45. The tide was expected to be a
7.2. The part of the salt marsh, I was checking was where the Nelson's
Sharp-tailed Sparrow had spent the previous two winters. I had already
checked this location during a very high tide during last December and had
no luck with the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Today's high tide had
covered most of the salt marsh vegetation made up of Cord Grass, Gum Plant
and Pickleweed. The only cover for the birds from the high tide were dried
clumps of Sweet Fennel and lush green grass next to the public access
trail. There were ( 3 ) Marsh Wrens, ( 5 ) Common Yellowthroats, ( 2 )
Lincoln's Sparrows, ( 8 ) Savannah Sparrows, ( 6 ) White-crowned Sparrows
and a SWAMP SPARROW. Most of the birds were inside the dried Sweet Fennel
or in the green grass at the base of the fennel.
At the end of the clump of fennel nearest to me, a very cooperative SEDGE
WREN over a time period of a half hour moved around in some low scattered
clumps of fennel and in the green grass as close as twenty feet away from
me and at times. I had to back off with my binoculars once being to close
to the Sedge Wren.
What, I first noticed about the Sedge Wren was the checkerboard pattern
of dark and light barring on the wing ( especially the coverts ).
The scapulars lacked the rufous coloration of the Marsh Wren. The Sedge
Wren cocked it's tail. The tail was very short compared to the Marsh Wren
and gave me the impression of a Winter Wren, although with a longer tail.
The Sedge Wren disappeared into the vegetation only to return out in the
open once again. This time, I was able to observe the Sedge Wren for a
longer period of time. I was also able to sketch it at this time. The head
was brown, indistinct whitish streaking Sedge Wren lacked the unstreaked
dark-capped appearance of the Marsh Wren. Fine white lines on the nape. The
supercilium was whitish, faintly streaked, shorter in length compared to the
Marsh Wren. The Marsh Wren had a bolder whiter supercilium. The Sedge Wren
showed pale lores, a vague brownish eyeline behind the eye. The face was
pale. The upperparts of Sedge Wren was made up of black and white
streaking. The white streaking on the upperparts was finer than on the
Marsh Wren and was more spread out on the upperparts. The rump was a warm
brown and did not stand out as the rufous rump of the Marsh Wren. On the
underparts, the throat was pale. A buff colour extended across the breast
and down the sides. The lower breast and belly were less buff. The short
tail had alternating bars of dark and light through out the tail length. The
undertail coverts were buff. The eye was dark with an off-white eyering.
The bill was spike like, slightly curved, the upper mandible dark and the
lower pale. The bill on the Marsh Wren was much longer, giving a different
shape to the head compared to the Sedge Wren. The head of the Marsh Wren
looking more elongated and flatter crowned. The legs and feet were flesh
coloured. Not once did I hear the Sedge Wren call.
A Marsh Wren did appear close to the Sedge Wren, where an obvious size
difference could be seen, with the Marsh Wren looking larger.
The dark crown and bold white supercilium stood out on the Marsh Wren, as
did the rufous scapulars of the Marsh Wren. The long bill of the Marsh Wren
looked grotesque compared to the shorter bill of the Sedge Wren. One of
the Marsh Wrens was pale brown in coloration lacking rufous tones to the
scapulars and probably was a wintering bird of one of the interior races.
The individual also had less white streaking on the upperparts compared to
the other Marsh Wrens.
After about a half hour, I headed off to make a phone call to alert
others. I returned to find the birding activity had slowed down and most of
the birds could no longer be found including the Sedge Wren.
I spent about an hour there with Havermans with no additional sightings of
the Sedge Wren.
This would be the second wintering record for California. The other
record was in San Mateo County in Half Moon Bay in the winter of 2002-2003.