I thought I had submitted this yesterday, but I don't see it in the message lists or my e-mail. So forgive me if it is a repetiion.
A birdy day on the Bob Jones Trail. I saw two black-headed grosbeaks singing lustily, and heard a few more. As I came upon the stubbly farm field, I noticed several swallows swooping over the field and perching on the telephone wires. They were uniformly light brown above--face, head, back, wings, tail--and the breast & belly were a "dirty" white or pale gray. No special markings on the head or throat. The wings were long and tail short, without fork. Their burry vocalizations matched the recordings on my field guide app in type, though the bursts of sound from my birds were of longer duration. I saw about ten birds in all. They fit the description and pictures in my Sibley reference book and Nat'l Geographic field guide. Were these northern rough-winged swallows? I ask because, while their map shows a huge expanse of territory, I've never seen one anywhere in my 20+ years of birding! So--have I bagged a life bird?
There was another bird I couldn't identify. It was about jay size. I saw it only from front-on. The head, face, eye, and bill were black. The throat, breast and belly were light grayish. The tail was very long, and dark underneath. It eventually left its perch and flew into another tree, where it was hidden by foliage. I caught a glimpse of its hindparts and tail as it flew, and thought I saw a streak of blue over the rump and top of tail. I checked against California scrub jay and Steller's jay, but no match. Did not have the blue cap and white eye stripe of the scrub jay, or the crest, dark throat and blue belly of the Steller's. I checked for Townsend's solitaire, but that bird is smaller and gray all over with an eye ring and short beak. Any ideas?