Date: 4/9/17 3:45 pm From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [obol] [Fwd: [birding] E.E. Wilson Phainopepla (female)]
While walking our dog around south part of E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area this morning, I stopped by the old movie theater foundation next to the central wetland, to check on the BLACK PHOEBE pair that have been hanging around there since early spring, and might be nesting.
I saw a slightly larger, slim crested bird fly up (apparently) from the water to perch in the interior of a largish willow shrub that's growing out of the water. My first thought was waxwing but it looked more elongated, and I noticed very prominent white edges on the wing feathers (folded, as it was perched).
So I started to think about more rare crested birds like Phainopeplas, Pyrrhuloxias etc (since I couldn't specifically recall what females looked like). It sat very still for about a minute, angled away from me so mostly I could just see the back. It was generally drab grayish apart from those wing markings. The crest didn't look as strongly pointed as a Steller's Jay's (I also gave some thought to an aberrant Steller's Jay).
I tried moving a few yards to the left to get another angle on the bird. While I was doing that I took my eyes off it for a couple of seconds, and then I couldn't find it again. So it must have slipped away, deeper into the wetland, while I was moving.
There are a lot of willow shrubs in that whole area that could be good for a Phainopepla.