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FW: Sedge Wren (San Mateo County, 10 January 2005)

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  • Mike Feighner
    CALBIRDS: 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 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
      of years.

      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

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Tronthorn@... [mailto:Tronthorn@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 12:24 AM
      To: peninsula-birding@yahoogroups.com
      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.

      Ron Thorn
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