Plummer Marsh at the mouth of Plummer Creek on Lake Chatcolet and within Heyburn State Park. Benewah County.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Brushy edge of a cattail marsh with scattered hawthorn and other shrubs. Adjacent to mixed forest of western red cedar, douglas fir, larch, ponderosa, and white pine.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Several minutes at fairly close range (<10 m), under sunny skies, with Bushnell Elite 10X43 binoculars.
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)
A medium-sized sparrow, similar in structure to nearby Song Sparrows but a bit smaller and more slender. A few slight blurry streaks and a blurry central spot on the breast, reddish wing panels and mantle, the later with dark heavy streaks. Face mostly gray with a pale gray-white throat, gray supercillia buffy malar, and dark brown stripe behind eye like a stretched out triangle.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
As soon as we were about to step onto the start of the boardwalk, a melospiza flew across from the marshier side to the brushier side and dove into shrubs and debris. Neil got on it first and immediately called out Swamp Sparrow. It moved around in dense brush and low to the ground and eventually came out for some good looks. I never heard it call, except maybe a few slight lisps.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
The plumage was pretty unmistakable, so I knew Neil was correct (as expected) as soon as I got it in the binoculars.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Extensive experience with Swamp, Song, Lincoln's, and (surprisingly similar) White-throated Sparrows
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Advanced birder of ~18 years.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
eBird checklist (plus additional photo by Neil): https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50557907
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Nice description and photos confirm the identification of Swamp Sparrow.
Description and photos confirm the identification
Decent photos and excellent description lead to an “accept” vote.