Monday, October 20, 2008

Not what I thought..and exactly what I thought

It was in a cemetery. Hanging out with Canada Geese....
(Now is the time of year to actually study flocks of Canada' might get a nice surprise, like a Cackling Goose or Snow Goose)
Not a greater white fronted 1
I parked in the cemetery and took lots of pictures.
The new car hasn't been filled with all of my field guides yet, so I had to wait until I got home to check on this bird.

Not a greater white fronted 2
I was hoping it was a Greater White-Fronted Goose.

Sibley says it is a Canada Goose X Greater White-Fronted Goose hybrid.
I don't remember the page number...look up "Greater White-Fronted Goose". There are some hybrid illustrations.
Not a greater white fronted 3
Still a cute bird. A nice blend of the two species...a white chin strap, but pink/orange feet. Basically the same body structure, but a really thick neck.
Is this a big deal? Or are they very common? Is this worth noting to anyone?

At home, the first Northern migrant showed up today:
(I had sworn off sparrow ID's, but now that I know juvenile chipping sparrows, I can be sure of a few things)
A young white-crowned sparrow was kick-scratching in the mulch, and I looked at it long and hard before deciding what it was:
juv WCSP
Why is it a white-crowned? Pink/orange bill, dark eyeline, pale cheeks, no central breast spot, brown stripes on the head, white wing bars, and the same size as a House Sparrow (thanks again to Sibley). I don't know if I have ever seen a first year WCSP. Maybe I just blurred over them, thinking they were HOSP.


KatDoc said...

Juv. white-crowneds had me stymied for a while, too, Susan. My Peterson's guide showed the colors quite different from what I was seeing in real life (Of course, my field guide is so old that the ink has probably faded!) and everyone I asked about them just waved me off with "Oh, I'm no good at sparrows."

I finally pegged the ID based on behavior. I noticed that these guys acted a lot like the WC sparrows I was as familiar with.

Now that you have recognized one, you will probably see them all over.


John said...

Definitely a WC Sparrow. For me the shape and size stand out more than the plumage characteristics.

LauraHinNJ said...

A pretty sparrow? Is that the right answer?


I was thinking field sparrow.


donaldthebirder said...

Canada's often hybridize with domestic Greylags. There is usually one odd bird in New Richmond every year with the domestics in winter. See

Yes, it is a WCSP ;-)

dguzman said...

I love WCSPs!

Spurwing Plover said...

Once saw a pair of WESTERN KINGBIRDS chasing a REDTAIL HAWK Its just amazing how fearless these little birds can be