I was driving by Bandy Field this morning, and I had my binoculars in the car, so I thought I'd stop in to see what was around. Immediately I head Pine Warblers trilling and a White-eyed Vireo chick-a-brr-chikking. Upon walking into the woods I saw an Ovenbird about 20 feet away, skulking around on the ground. I pished a little and he became friendly, flying to a perch about 8 feet from my head. He even teachered at me from this distance. Before leaving I thought I'd run by the brushy clearing slightly to the left of the tennis courts. I heard the the White-eyed Vireo over there, and I thought I'd try to sneak a look at him. While looking for him, a female Grosbeak flew into the trees above the clearing. At first glance I assumed Rose-breasted, but something didn't seem right. The breast streaking seemed extremely fine, looking almost like spots on a Veery, and they didn't cross into the center of the breast. The bill was definitely pale, but I couldn't tell if it was more pinkish or more grayish. I didn't have a field guide on me, so I did my best to remember the field marks. When I got home I looked up the grosbeaks in Sibley's and, based on the breast streaking, the bird I saw matches a Black-headed Grosbeak better than a Rose-breasted. More research online indicated that ID'ing female Pheucticus can be tricky, but that breast streaking is the most reliable field mark. I'm not willing to make the call on this bird, especially because my Grosbeak experience is somewhat limited, but anyone interested is more than welcome to take a shot.
Jeremy McEntire _________________________________________________________________Exercise your brain! Try Flexicon. http://games.msn.com/en/flexicon/default.htm?icid=flexicon_hmemailtaglineapril07
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