A couple weeks ago (March 14), another WCSP showed up. This one still retained its first winter plumage, why it looks so different. It may have wintered here, but it was only around for a day, so also seemed to be on the move. It may have been of a different subspecies, Z. l. gambelii, which is more apt to winter here. I’m not sure how easy it is to identify the different subspecies in this plumage. Gosh, is its bill yellow-orange to orange-pink (gambelii), or yellow to yellow-orange (pugetensis)? (Why I've never cared much for sub-specific taxonomy.)
White-crowned Sparrow, first winter plumage.We should be about two weeks from our first 2008 nook-look at the other Zonotrichia species that occurs here, the Golden-crowned Sparrow. They start arriving in the Georgia Depression (eco-province where we live, and what would have been a good alternate name for this blog) from their Californian wintering grounds in mid-April.
Last year, this bird visited on April 14. In ten days I’ll be seated in the nook with cereal spoon in hand, binos next to the Cheerios, awaiting his return.
Campbell, R.W., N.K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J.M. Cooper, G.W. Kaiser, A.C. Stewart and M.C.E. McNall. 2001. The Birds of British Columbia. Vol. 4. UBC Press. 8 million pp.