[Tweeters] 5 Woodpeckers at one time, Sparrowmania

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 9 16:31:06 PST 2013

After returning from a quick meeting in California to start the process of getting a good used liver I did a spot of bird watching this afternoon. Around 3:20PM I had 5 woodpecker species at once in a 100' diameter 1/2 circle from by bedroom windows.

On a dying, pitch dripping, messy fir the were 2 Red Breasted Sapsuckers.
On one small suet cage there was a Downy Woodpecker
Picking through the last few crabapples was a Hairy Woodpecker
Waiting on the deck railing before jumping in for suet was a Northern Flicker
Pulling apart a completely dead fir in the gully at the edge of the circle was a Pileated Woodpecket.

My Sparrow, Junco, and Towhee flocks continue to expand. I am trying to get some pictures to post of the variety of colors, shading, patterns and size of the Dark Eyed Juncos. I have great pure DE Juncos, 3-4 Slate Colored, 2 Pink Sided, and some that must be a subspecies but I have no way of identifying. Is there a good source for sorting out Junco subspecies? I'd appreciate book titles or web links for that.

I have lots of Song Sparrows, both Grey and Brown Fox Sparrows, many Golden Crowned Sparrows, as well as Spotted Towhees by the barrel. Single birds that have shown up on and off include a Chipping Sparrow, a White Throated Sparrow, and a Sparrow sp. that I think was Clay Colored but my look was too short to be sure.

I also have a mystery sparrow. This is a big bird, bigger than Spotted Towhee, almost pure brown except for some light areas on the lower breast. If I were in California, and I could observe behavior on the ground, I would call this a California Towhee for sure. But the time, place, and everything else are out of whack for this bird. Ideas?

I have another Sparrow that I think is a bizarre hybrid of some sort or maybe a Brambling. I only have gotten three short looks at the bird but it has a black head, a rust over white breast, and unstreaked or lined black wings. Size, shape and jizz are right for Brambling, but detailed looks say it most likely is something else. Perhaps a hybrid or aberrant Spotted Towhee. I had a dream after seeing the bird that it was a Spotted Towhee crossed with a Dark Eyed Junco.

Good Birding to All


Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

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