[Tweeters] Real mystery bird at Utah Wetland Discovery Park - black and white, blue bill?

Todd Sahl toddsahl at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 11 18:32:07 PDT 2016

Brad,There was an eBird report from Discovery Park that I think is just old enough to not show up on the 7-day alert window of a Black-and-white Mannikin. That is likely the bird you saw, presumably an escapee.Todd SahlRedmond, WA

From: BRAD <bradliljequist at msn.com>
To: "tweeters at u.washington.edu" <Tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2016 6:26 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Real mystery bird at Utah Wetland Discovery Park - black and white, blue bill?

<!--#yiv3747122367 P {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}-->My wife and I have been greatly enjoying the Utah wetland over the last several weekends.  Today was a bit quieter but still lovely - four impish Chestnut backed chickadees, a Pacific Slope Flycatcher, an Orange Crowned Warbler...etc.  
As we were leaving, a small mixed flock was moving through and I was immediately riveted by a bird I have never seen.  It was sparrow sized, but was simply black and white, with a large blue bill.  Head, wings, and tail feathers were black, and the belly was white.  Where the white and black met, it had an interlocking pattern, a bit like an unzipped zipper.  The bill was grosbeak-like, dark to medium blue. 
We observed the bird for about five minutes - got very good looks at it.  It was in the bushes on the south side of the wetland and then flew briefly into one of the Doug Firs to the south, and then onto one of the large grass stalks.  It then flew off.  When it fly it was pretty direct line, pretty sparrow like.  
We've scoured the full North America Sibleys to no avail.  
What the heck?
Brad LiljequistPhinney RidgeSeattle, WA
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Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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