Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/205710

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Ranges of the belli, cinerea, and clementae subspecies of Bell's Sparrow. Map © Kei Sochi. íno Peninsula in northern Baja California Sur. It makes contact with A. b. belli in southwestern Baja California state at about 29°N. Visual separation of A. b. cinerea and A. nevadensis has not been studied, but, save a vagrant A. nevadensis, identifcation by range should be suffcient. Little Shearwater Split The "Little Shearwater" which occurs off eastern North America is now called Barolo Shearwater (Puffinis baroli). A record from California, which was attributed to Little Shearwater , is no longer considered to have been identifed unequivocally. [For more a comprehensive treatment of the "Little Shearwater" complex and of "Sage Sparrows", see the ABA CLC report in the Sep.–Oct. 2013 issue of Birding.] Bell's Sparrow of the nominate subspecies (A. b. belli) in San Diego County, California. Note the dark gray head, nearly unmarked dark brown mantle, and thick submoustachial stripe. Photo © Robert Royse. Want to see Bell's and Sagebrush sparrows? Here are some dependable locations. Nominate Bell's Sparrow (A. b. belli) is often found in Chamise-dominated chaparral on the hillsides of the east side of Pinnacles National Park in central California. Knowing what Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) looks like will greatly increase your chances of fnding the bird. Once inside the park boundary on the east side, the entrance road winds up and over a ridge before descending to Bear Valley Visitor Center. Before the visitor center, the road crosses a bridge over Chalone Creek. During fall and winter, there is often some water under or near this bridge, and, with patience, you may see a Bell's Sparrow (or some Lawrence's Goldfnches) coming in for a drink. Note, however, that you are not permitted to park on the road at this location: You must park in a designated lot and hike to the bridge. The east side campground (which is also a good location for California Condor) may have puddles of water worth checking, as well. The west side of the park also has Chamise, so you may fnd sparrows there, too. (Note that the east and west sides of the park are not connected by road.) "Mojave Sparrow" (A. b. canescens) is usually not too hard to fnd in lower Jawbone Canyon, near Mojave, California. Jawbone Canyon Road goes west off CA-14 just south of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area/State Park (which is north of Mojave). Not far in along the road is a large expanse of sparse scrub covering the foor of the fat wash. This area is also good for Le Conte's Thrasher and Chukar. Sagebrush Sparrow can be found breeding in sage fats within Colorado National Monument, just outside Grand Junction, Colorado. It's also a good location for Gray Vireo, Pinyon Jay, and Chukar. November 2013 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy 53

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