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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Short post on short day

Came down to CMO midday today. Having trouble with my eye. Vision blurry and shouldn't be. Will probably have to have some lasik tweaking done if it doesn't clear up soon. So depressing and stressful.  No one else has any post cataract surgery problems. I didn't on my other eye. More trips to Odessa in my future I presume. A price for living in the country.

Had birders here today, which was lovely. Lots of young sharp EYES to inventory the birds here. I didn't see anything interesting to photograph but took this photo just to be sure it was a Brewer's Sparrow since it was a lifer for the young man observing it with me. I was pretty certain it was a Brewer's, but with my eye such as it was, wanted photo documentation.

I think another reason I needed a photo was because to me it looked a little bright, like breeding plumage, and seems too early for that.  I'm not familiar with the various subspecies of Brewer's, so that might explain what appears to me to be a not-as-drab-as-usual individual. Anyone else have thoughts about that?

(On Mar 19, 2010 I posted a much drabber Brewer's Sparrow if you want to see how I expect them to look here.)

Nov 23: Here are a couple more shots of the bird that hopefully will help resolve the ID. I don't think a Chippie ever has that big white eye ring and pale lores. I would certainly like to know for sure what it is.

Nov 24 update: Experts have confirmed it as a Brewer's. I'm really glad to know definitively.


  1. I agree, at first look it seems too bright for a Brewer's, and I thought it might be a Clay-colored. But after comparing the two in Sibley's I believe it is a Brewer's.

    Hope your vision clears very soon.

  2. Looks like a basic-plumaged (i.e., non-breeding) Chipping Sparrow to me.

    1. GKF, I don't think Chipping Sparrow can be an option. It has a definite whole eye-ring and pale lores. I have other photos of it showing the lores better and one blurry shot of it by a Chipping Sparrow, which the Brewer's seems a little smaller. But I appreciate your input and I will definitely take all into consideration. Thanks. I'll add a few more pics of it to the post that might be helpful to us all.

  3. Thanks for weighing in, Marlin. I've studied Brewer's pics ad nauseam and I can't make it into anything other than a Brewer's. Birding is always a learning experience. I'm still not knowledgeable enough to know if that's winter plumage, or if Brewer's stay the same year-round. Hoping someone can educate me on that. My books don't mention any plumage difference between winter and summer.

  4. Agree with you on Chipping Carolyn. Eye ring is wrong and all phases of Chipping have the eye all the way through the eye to the bill.

  5. Sorry...should have said eye-line to the bill.

  6. I consulted a very knowledgeable bird bander and he said it's a Brewer's for sure. Have inquiries in to others too so will get more confirmation. I was actually surprised that the 3 species are so difficult to tell apart. Was reading about the problem in Kaufman's Advanced Birding guide. Lots of inter-lap between them apparently. Brewer's don't change plumages but some individuals are more strongly marked than others. I find the issue intriguing.