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RE: [NBB] Re: [CALBIRDS] Large-billed Savannah Sparrows in Northern California

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  • Rich Stallcup
    HI EVERYONE- I found a Large-billed Savannah Sparrow at Caesar Chavez Park, West Berkeley during a waterbird survey (one of 72 over a 3 year period) in the
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 27, 2010
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      I found a Large-billed Savannah Sparrow at Caesar Chavez Park,
      West Berkeley during a waterbird survey (one of 72 over a 3 year period)
      in the winter of 2008.

      BHARATI MANDAPATI also observed the bird but I'm not sure she was duly
      impressed. No photos.


      From: northbaybirds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:northbaybirds@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joseph Morlan
      Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 6:15 PM
      To: Matt Brady
      Cc: Pen Birds; countybirders@yahoogroups.com; CALBIRDS; North Bay Birds; Keith Hansen; Ryan Terrill; Oscar Johnson; Amy Louise Patten; Meagan Oldfather; Maggie MacPherson
      Subject: [NBB] Re: [CALBIRDS] Large-billed Savannah Sparrows in Northern California


      Kerry Ross photographed the Abbotts Lagoon bird on 18 December. Photo on
      the WFO web site:


      Click through for full-size image.

      There is at least one previous record of LARGE-BILLED SAVANNAH SPARROW from
      San Mateo County. A bird found at Princeton Marsh by Ron Thorn. Ron may
      be able to supply the date.

      The latest issue of BIRDING has an authoritative article on the status and
      identification of the Savannah Sparrow group by Jim Rising. It's a two-part
      article, "The Many Savannah Sparrows," in the Nov. 2010 issue.

      http://aba.org/birding/v42n6p44.pdf (this appears in the print version of
      the magazine)

      http://aba.org/birding/v42n6p44w1.html (supporting online material,

      On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 17:49:09 -0800 (PST), Matt Brady <podoces@...<mailto:podoces%40yahoo.com>>

      >Hello birders. This afternoon, while birding at Pillar Pt in Half Moon Bay, I
      >discovered a LARGE-BILLED SAVANNAH SPARROW. This very distinctive subspecies of
      >the Savannah Sparrow breeds in Baja California, and is regular in winter at the
      >Salton Sea and north along the Southern California coast to Bolsa Chica in
      >Orange County; a few also straggle as far north as Morro Bay with some
      >regularity. Last year, Steve Howell found the first record for Northern
      >California at Abbott's Lagoon, on Pt Reyes. Oscar Johnson, Amy Patten, Meagan
      >Oldfather and I rediscovered it on the 21st in the same spot that it had spent
      >the previous winter. It had also apparently been seen on this year's Pt Reyes
      >CBC, though we did not know that at the time we found it. So, if the Abbott's
      >bird is returning, that would make the Half Moon Bay bird just the second record
      >for Northern California, and the first for San Mateo County!
      >The Half Moon Bay bird was found at the base of the west jetty of Pillar
      >Pt/Princeton Harbor. It tended to hang out around a boulder with a big black
      >and white "11" painted on it. To get to the jetty, follow the trail from the
      >parking lot at the end of West Pt Ave in Princeton. West Pt Ave is best
      >accessed from Highway 1 by way of Capistrano Ave, then by following California
      >Ave. Here's a link to a Google Map I created of the area:
      >I have posted a photo of the Abbott's bird here:
      ><http://www.flickr.com/photos/podoces/5287019360/>. I also have photos of the
      >HMB bird, but have not downloaded them yet; it looked virtually identical to the
      >Abbott's bird.
      >It is also worth noting that the AOU Checklist Committee has long wrestled with
      >the issue of whether or not the Large-billed Savannah Sparrow is merely a very
      >distinct subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow, or is in fact its own species.
      >Recent genetic work has found that it is genetically, as well as
      >morphologically, quite different from our "usual" Savannah Sparrows, and is thus
      >a very good candidate for a split in the near future. I'd imagine that both of
      >these birds will be around for the winter, so interested parties ought to go
      >check them out.
      >Good birding,
      >Matt Brady
      >Potter Valley
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA jmorlan (at) ccsf.edu
      SF Birding Classes start Feb 8 http://fog.ccsf.edu/jmorlan/
      Western Field Ornithologists http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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