Fox Sparrow subspecies?
- Maggie Smith and I walked up the Cerro Alto C G Road, up to the ridge, north to the Boy Scout Trail and back to the parking lot this morning (see SLO County Birdfinding Guide (http://www.morrocoastaudubon.org/mbsloguide.htm) section B-6). Very cool, but the winds were not as bad as we anticipated. Some bird highlights:
Sixspecies of WARBLERS along the riparian area, including HERMIT,MACGILLIVRAY'S and NASHVILLE. Two OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS at the southend of the AT&T Road/Trail. A sub-adult BALD EAGLE.
Only 2 (silent) "BELL'S" SAGE SPARROWS. I included a picture of one in the NEW PICS section of my Flickr site. It is interesting to note how similar they are to the canescens racefound at TheCarrizo Plain. They seem almost as pale, and many, likethis one, have a streaked back, although admittedly not as streaked asthose at Carrizo.
About a dozen FOX SPARROWS. One by voice andlooks we judged to be a "THICK-BILLED". The remainder appeared to besome subspecies of "SLATE-COLORED". We are not sure what subspeciesthey represent. They were very red, but had an unstreaked backs and nowingbars. The lack of back streaking would eliminate zaboria. Neither did they look like altivigans, lackingwingbars and at least a little back streaking. Birds looking like thisonly have appeared in that habitat in the past few weeks. We theorizethat they are perhaps migrating through here and were not among ourmany wintering Fox Sparrows on the ridge. I have posted several photosof today's birds on NEW PICS set on my Flickr site. We are interested in opinions as to subspecies and where they may have over-wintered.
As an extra treat there was a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW in the parking lot at the base.
Morro Bay, CA
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