[Tweeters] RE: New Year's Morning and Junco questions

Teresa Michelsen teresa at avocetconsulting.com
Mon Jan 2 10:56:14 PST 2017

For anyone who wants to see some photos of the hopefully correctly ID'd
Cassiar's - I took some this morning and put them up on a public Facebook
post here:


I didn't quite have my act together to do it yesterday but he was still here

Teresa Michelsen

Snoqualmie, WA

From: Teresa Michelsen [mailto:teresa at avocetconsulting.com]
Sent: January 1, 2017 7:20 PM
To: 'Tweeters List' <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: New Year's Morning and Junco questions

Mystery solved - Lyn Topinka pointed me to Cassiar's Junco, and that's
exactly it. Seems there is a range in back color - mine is more toward the
brownish-grey end, kind of intermediate between Oregon and Slate-colored.
Cool find for a New Year's morning :) I am impressed by the eBird maps
showing such a small range in the summer and a huge wandering range in the
winter. Maybe some controversy about whether it's a "real" subspecies or a
stable hybrid, but definitely the most different junco I've ever seen around
here, and far from home.

Teresa Michelsen

Snoqualmie, WA

From: Teresa Michelsen [mailto:teresa at avocetconsulting.com]
Sent: January 1, 2017 9:39 AM
To: 'Tweeters List' <tweeters at u.washington.edu
<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: New Year's Morning and Junco questions

Good morning all!

My top ten on this snowy morning were the usual flock of forest birds
mobbing my feeder - Song Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Steller's Jay, Dark-Eyed
Junco, Varied Thrush (just the one), Chestnut-Backed and Black-Capped
Chickadees, a mob of Northern Flickers, American Crows, and a Downy
Woodpecker. And a Douglas Squirrel. :)

I was making a study of the juncos because, well, it's a New Years morning
kind of thing to do, and because one of them does not look like all the
others. I am well aware of the M/F variation in our "usual" juncos, and
this is not that. So by "usual" I am speaking of the Oregon Junco with
pinkish-brown sides, brown back, and black or grey head. This one is not
pictured in the books, so I am assuming it is either one of many subspecies
of the Oregon Junco group not shown, or a hybrid of some kind.

It is a male with a dark black head and black eyes and pink bill. Its side
wash, however, is grey - without a hint of pink or rufous. The sides and
neck contrast with white underparts. The back is brown like an Oregon Junco,
not grey like a Slate-colored. Whereas the "normal" juncos for around here
have buffy wing tips that are visible at the base of their backs, this one
has slightly more whitish tips (but not white wing bars like a
White-winged). Any knowledgeable folks have thoughts on this?

I also have two distinctly different song sparrows - the ultra-dark one
normally expected this time of year (I assume down from BC or Alaska) and a
surprisingly light contrasty one (i.e., with a whiter base) than our local
Song Sparrows. Not sure where that one is from.


Teresa Michelsen

Snoqualmie, WA

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