Date: 1/23/19 5:26 pm
From: Richard Bradus via Groups.Io <grizzledjay=<yahoo.com...>
Subject: [SFBirds] Interesting Fox Sparrow at Fort Mason
Hi all
Spent a beautiful late morning at the Fort Mason Community Garden, where the immature male Orchard Oriole made a couple of appearances (at one point, surprisingly, following closely behind a foraging Nuttal's Woodpecker) and I had great looks at a Lincoln's Sparrow that finally popped up from the central garden beds (thanks David for telling me where to search for it). Still, and you may have to excuse my ignorance, but it was an unusual Fox Sparrow that most intrigued me.
Firstly, unlike our typical Sooty types, I saw this one not on the ground but perched in a small, mostly bare tree along the west side. It had a distinctly whitish breast, with well spaced rows of small blackish spots, and a gray beak. I didn't see the back well, but it appeared to be grayish as well. Looking at my references after I returned home, it most closely matches the Thick-billed (California) drawing in Sibley (though I must profess that I'm not certain that the beak was "massive" as Sibley shows so, despite the gray bill color and lack of confluent spots it could have been a Slate colored I suppose).
Anyway, just another reason to really look at all of the birds we encounter, as even the common species can be surprising and fascinating.
Richard BradusSan Francisco

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