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Interesting sparrows in Mendocino Co.

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  • Jim Tietz
    Hi, On Saturday I went birding with Elias Elias on a friend s property which is along Shimmin s Ridge Rd just east of Hwy 101 and north of Willits. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2007
      Hi,

      On Saturday I went birding with Elias Elias on a
      friend's property which is along Shimmin's Ridge Rd
      just east of Hwy 101 and north of Willits. The
      habitat is predominantly oak savannah scattered
      amongst ponderosa/douglas fir forest.

      In a grassy field with a stream running through it, we
      found at least 5 Thick-billed Fox Sparrows in
      manzanita and willow shrubs. I first noticed them by
      their metallic call note, which sounds to me like
      "sting." This is slightly different than the
      California Towhee's (also present in the field)
      metallic call note which sounds more like "chink," and
      much different than the Sooty Fox Sparrow's which
      sounds like "check." I got good looks at a few of the
      Thick-bills. They had all gray heads and mantles and
      much larger bills than the Sooties which out-numbered
      the Thick-bills in this field 3 to 1. I've never seen
      Thick-billed Fox Sparrows outside of their breeding
      habitat and from looking at a few range maps, they are
      not supposed to winter in Northern California. Has
      anybody else seen them wintering in Northern
      California?

      We also found a Chipping Sparrow in a flock of 150
      juncos on a hill in an oak savannah setting. It was
      smaller than the juncos, long-tailed, white below, and
      had a black eyeline that went through the lores.

      Jim



      Location: Shimmin's Ridge Rd; east of Hwy 101 just
      north of Willits
      Observation date: 1/13/07
      Number of species: 32

      Mountain Quail 6
      Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
      Cooper's Hawk 1
      Red-shouldered Hawk 1
      Red-tailed Hawk 1
      Anna's Hummingbird 1
      Acorn Woodpecker 3
      Hairy Woodpecker 1
      Northern Flicker 1
      Pileated Woodpecker 1
      Black Phoebe 2
      Hutton's Vireo 3
      Steller's Jay 4
      Western Scrub-Jay 10
      Common Raven 3
      Bushtit 11
      Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
      Bewick's Wren 3
      Winter Wren 1
      Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6
      Hermit Thrush 10
      American Robin 2
      Varied Thrush 1
      Wrentit 2
      Spotted Towhee 6
      California Towhee 3
      Chipping Sparrow 1
      Sooty Fox Sparrow 55
      Thick-billed Fox Sparrow 5
      Golden-crowned Sparrow 8
      Dark-eyed Junco 170
      Purple Finch 4

      This report was generated automatically by eBird v2
      (http://www.ebird.org)



      James R. Tietz
      Arcata, CA



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