Probable Summer Tanager in Piedmont, Friday, Nov. 8

Bruce Mast

This morning on my exercise walk through Piedmont, I located what I'm 99.9%
certain was a Summer Tanager in the trees around 314 Wildwood, which is the
white house at the intersection of Wildwood and Prospect, across the street
from the grade school. It was about 7 am, well before the school traffic
started picking up.

I've been walking for exercise in Piedmont for about 10 years and I've
often thought that the chinese pistache trees along Wildwood would someday
mature enough to attract something rare. Today was the day. As I was
walking toward Piedmont Park, I heard the characteristic BRRRRP! call of a
Summer Tanager--short, slightly upslurred, resonant trill, with 1 second
pauses between calls. I hung out for a bit and first thought I located the
bird in some taller trees behind and between 314 and 312 Wildwood. The
calling bird then moved to a pistache street tree in front of 314. From the
opposite side of the street, I was able to see what I believe was the bird.
I wasn't carrying binoculars because, if I did, I would never complete my
walk. The bird in question looked dull brown and a bit bigger and plumper
than the Zonotrichia sparrows in the same tree. But its tail was shorter
and narrower than a Cal Towhee. It fed on pistache berries for a bit and
then moved back to the trees behind 312.

Lots of other bird activity in this area as well: a flock of bluebirds,
lots of yellow-rumped warblers, chickadees, house finches, some pine
siskins, Stellar's Jays, etc, sparrows, wrens, etc. Worth a visit.

Bird on,

Bruce Mast