[Tweeters] Bird Recognition Problem -- Government Meadows area
rhtyler at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 13:54:47 PDT 2016
I was up at Naches Pass on Saturday (thanks to Matt Dufort for helping with
instructions), and had a beautiful, sunny day of hiking and birding. I
parked at the wrong trailhead, and so lost time hiking to Government
Meadows, but I did see an unusual bird (for me) in the forests just south
of the Meadows, on the trail to the big horse-trailer turnaround.
Here is what I saw (no pictures): small bird, acting like a chickadee --
flying rapidly around small conifers feeding off what I assume were insects
in the needles. It was in the understory, mostly around 15 feet from the
ground. I never had a clear view of the wing coverts, but they registered
as dark, with no strong patterns. Since the bird was feeding, its beak was
mostly stuffed into needles and I did not get a clear look. The belly and
breast were light buffy, with then black streaks radiating down from the
throat (paler in the center, streaks framing breast at the outside edges.)
Possibly a very dark necklace. The most striking appearance feature was
the crown, though, which was rufous, relatively wide, and ran from the eyes
back over the head, but not into the back. No supercilium stripe that I
could see. No clear mid-breast dark spot.
Give the size and the rufous crown, I was thinking possibly a chipping
sparrow, but it was feeding like a warbler or chickadee, not a sparrow, and
was not near the ground at any time. It was (I believe) too big for a
ruby-crowned kinglet, and the rufous cap was bigger than a kinglet crown.
I've looked through Sibley, the giant National Geographic bird book, and
web searches and cannot find anything like what I think I saw.
I had relatively long look, but as the bird was in and out of branches, I
never had a clear, stationary look. The light was pretty good -- it was
shaded by big trees, but it was a very bright, sunny day.
Maybe the cheese I had for lunch should have been better refrigerated??
I'm open to any ideas, but I think this will end up in the "couldn't figure
it out" file. Thanks in advance.
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