Re: Cassin's Finch, Brewer's Sparrow on Mt D- fide Brian Fitch and David Armstrong

Alvaro Jaramillo


I am not doubting the identification of this bird, but wanted to point
out something about the undertail covert streaking in Carpodacus finches.
Our Purple Finches, californicus, are not quite like the ones in the east.
Although californicus is the form that is sympatric with Cassin's Finch, it
is also a form that commonly shows streaking on the undertail coverts,
unlike the eastern version of Purple Finch. Now the streaking is not always
there, but when it is, it tends to be a couple of longer streaks near the
midline of the undertail coverts. It is not the same streaking pattern as on
a Cassin's, but presence of streaking does not eliminate Purple is my point.
Again, I am not doubting this identification, I just wanted to point out
this bit about streaking.

A real good field mark on Cassin's Finch is the long, long wing. The
primary extension (length of wing past the folded tertials) goes for a mile
on a Cassin's. Just in case you want more to look for!

Great bird by the way, I look forward to my first in San Mateo county some



Alvaro Jaramillo


Half Moon Bay, California

Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide


From: SFBirds@... [mailto:SFBirds@...] On Behalf Of
David Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:00 PM
To: sfbirds@...
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Cassin's Finch, Brewer's Sparrow on Mt D- fide Brian
Fitch and David Armstrong

To follow up on this morning:

I went up to Mt. D after hearing of Brian's sighting. Fairly quickly I heard
a strange Carpadocus finch song from near the top but didn't get on the
bird. To me it sounded like a sped-up House Finch with a few notes in the
wrong places. When I arrived at the summit I had a quick look at a fairly
nondescript spizella sparrow with a pinkish bill feeding on the ground with
House finches and White-crowned sparrows - unfortunately a man walking by
flushed it before I could really obtain a satisfactory look.

Returning down the hill I lucked into the CASSIN'S FINCH perched obligingly
and at close range at the top of the ravine trail. This bird showed very
crisp, dark-brown streaking that contrasted sharply with the white
underparts. I wasn't able to see if the streaking extended to the undertail
coverts. It
was very plain-faced, with no obvious supercilium, and had a pointed bill
with a straight culmen, which to me looked much less stout than on Purple

Also of interest were a LARK SPARROW which I saw briefly on the grassy
hillside, a Hermit Warbler at the summit, a calling Blue-gray gnatcatcher,
and a Willow Flycatcher.


--- On Wed, 9/10/08, htcotter@comcast. <> net
<htcotter@comcast. <> net> wrote:
From: htcotter@comcast. <> net
<htcotter@comcast. <> net>
Subject: [SFBirds] Cassin's Finch, Brewers Sparrow on Mt D- fide Brian Fitch
and David Armstrong
To: sfbirds@yahoogroups <> .com
Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2008, 10:36 AM

There is currently a Cassin's Finch on MT D seen by Brain Fitch this
morning and re-found by David Armstrong in the last few minutes. Seen by
at the top of
the ravine and then few down the hill.
Per Brian it was singing.

David also reported a likely Brewers Sparrow.

I am sure the full details will follow later



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