unidentified bird

Rolan Nelson rnbuffle at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 23 21:09:04 PDT 2002


Bruce and Tweeters, 
As usual, its difficult to ID a bird from someone's description, but it sure doesn't sound like a Wrentit.  Besides being a long way from home, I'm suspicious of the "dark" description, and the fact that he didn't mention the tail length.  Wrentit tails are noticibly loooong!  Also the behavior didn't ring true.  In my experience with Wrentits in No. Calif, they are quite calm and purposeful when feeding on the ground.  Oblivious to people and not at all skittish 
-Rolan
 Bruce Fischer wrote: I got an e-mail from a guy in Moses Lake who can't figure out what the bird
is he saw. He insists it's not a Song or Savannah Sparrow and claims it is
a dead-ringer for a wrentit though none has even been seen in Grays Harbor
county and I assume it occurs just as frequently at Kalaloch. On the phone
he added that the bill wasn't heavy like a Song Sparrow. Also said that
they stayed a week and even though he couldn't get a good view of it, the
bird never left about a 30 foot radius of his campground.

He's new at birding but becoming more and more interested.

Any ideas?

Bruce Fischer
Aberdeen, WA
stump at techline.com

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 10:43 AM
Subject: unidentified bird


Mr. Fischer,

While I am not what you might call an avid 'birder', I do enjoy seeing and
documenting new species that I see. Recently while vacationing on the
Olympic Peninsula I viewed a bird that I cannot identify. I have tried to
find the bird in Petersons guide, Audubon, and Bob Morse's Coastal guide
and cannot find the bird. The closest that I can find is a Wrentit, and it
very well may be (as I said I am not experienced), however this bird is not
supposed to be found north of the Columbia River. It was very difficult to
get any look at this bird as it was very secretive in habit. When I did
view it it was for only a few seconds, but those were in bright sunlight at
about 10 paces. The bird is uniformly charcoal (not black, but very dark
grey)including the breast and has light brown stripes where the wing meets
the body, about 5 to 6 inches tall (sparrow size), exibits a very nervous
habit (if the bird sees any movement it immediately darts into the
undergrowth, When I did view it the aforementioned time it appeared to
sit 'wren-like' with it's tail in the air due to the nervous habit, and the
short viewing time it was difficult to tell if it was bobbing like wren
type birds or just nervous. The bird was sighted several more times at a
distance and was moving quickly into the brush so no other time was I able
to get another good look at it. The bird was sighted in campsite E-4 at the
Kalaloch campground, and was there the whole week we camped at that sight.
That was the week ending August 16th. I apologize for being so late in
writing this, I bought the Morse book yesterday in an effort to try to find
the bird and only now found your address.


Rolan Nelson
Burley, WA 
rnbuffle at yahoo.com


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