21-B-2016 Clay-colored Sparrow

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Lisa Hardy
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, Kellogg, ID, Shoshone County
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Field of grass, purple vetch
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Clear, 75 F, wind 1 mph
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
I heard the distinctive insect-like monotone buzz-buzz of a Clay-colored, and used my camera to make several recordings. I then glassed for the bird, and found a small sparrow perched on a tall spotted knapweed about 200' away. I confirmed that this was the singing individual, as I could see it tossing its head back as it sang. The bird was about the size of a Savannah Sparrow, was facing me and showed an unmarked pale gray breast and throat. I could see some dark markings on the face, but the bird flew down into the weeds before I could study it further.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
I have been birding this stretch of the bike trail at least once a week since May, and this is the first clay-colored I have noted here.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I immediately recognized the song.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Not aware of any other sparrows in our area that have this song.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
some experience
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
Three videos obtained, all available on request. I am submitting audio from one video.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Video
Audio
SUPPORTING AUDIO

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Shirley Sturts
Accept

easily identified by song

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description and audio files support the identification of Clay-colored Sparrow.

Darren Clark
Accept

Plumage and song described well. Recording is of a Clay-colored Sparrow. This is also an area where Clay-colored Sparrows are more common than other areas of the state.

Doug Ward
Accept

While would have preferred a good visual description, song diagnostic and observer noted seeing the bird sing; observer experience also key. Small "colony" also appeared not far west of this location in the Spring of 2016 in Kootenai Co., ID helps support presence.

Dave Trochlell
Accept

The sound recording was convincing to me.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

diagnostic song recorded

Charles Swift
Accept

It would be nice to hear the audio but I am sufficiently convinced by the report and observer's experience and Clay-colored Sparrow is a marginal rarity in northern Idaho.