Atypical Junco – Cassiar?

23 12 2012
Cassiar Junco? - Luke Tiller

Cassiar Junco? – Luke Tiller

So apart from finding a slew of White-throated Sparrows (OK exactly two), I also stumbled upon what I had initially identified as a possible Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco. The thing that initially bothered me was that the bird looked to have a pretty well defined brown back which would be pretty atypical for Slate-colored. Also at certain angles the bird looks pretty hooded. When seen from side on it’s not always particularly easy to view (see above) but at certain times it seems fairly noticeable.

Below is a snap of the bird from behind taken in terrible light yesterday which seems to show the extent of brown back and clear demarcation from the dark gray/black hood). It seems like this bird would be a fairy decent candidate for Cassiar Junco – whatever that is? Having done some cursory research on Cassiar it seems like it is little more than a hodge podge of birds that fit neither the classic Slate-colored or Oregon mold. Any thoughts appreciated.

Cassiar Junco? - Luke Tiller

Cassiar Junco? – Luke Tiller

Of course just before leaving the east coast I stumbled on this Oregon type Junco in Connecticut. At first a few people had floated the idea that it may be a Cassiar type Junco but I think the general feeling was that it was too distinctly hooded to be anything other than a fairly typical Oregon type bird (see post here). At the moment I am doing some research on the world of Juncos: interesting if not somewhat confusing and frustrating stuff.

As well as the junco this morning I also picked up a couple of Red Crossbills passing overhead. Looks like they might be wandering on both coasts this year.

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