Interesting sparrows at Ellwood Mesa this morning

John Callender
 

I visited the Coronado Drive butterfly preserve and Ellwood Mesa this morning. I struck out on finding a Baltimore Oriole in the eucalyptus grove, but had more luck with sparrows in the meadow.

I got good looks at three Grasshopper Sparrows, and got to hear them making not only the high insect-like buzzing song I was already familiar with, but also the alternate song Sibley describes as "a rolling jumble of high, buzzy, slurred phrases", which I hadn't heard before. I also got a brief look at a male Blue Grosbeak, which always feels special to me.

The most interesting bird, maybe, was a small-billed, long-tailed sparrow that was associating with two Savannah Sparrows. I'm pretty sure it was a Spizella, and to me looks similar to the Brewer's Sparrows I've seen before, but I realize that would be unusual for the date and location and would appreciate getting feedback from people with more expertise.

Photos and recordings are in this eBird list:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55213569

John Callender
Carpinteria

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