Charles Swift and Kas Dumroese both showed up within 20 minutes and were able to see it.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
"Sand Road Wetlands" in southwest Moscow, immediately west and south across Sand Road/Palouse River Road from the southern entrance to the UI Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Latah Co.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Emergent marsh of mostly rushes (scirpus or sheonoplectus), a few cattails, Canary reed grass, with scattered small shrub willows, adjacent to the South Fork Palouse River (which is more of a creek).
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
2 encounters, the first lasting several minutes and the second for 30-60 seconds.
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)
Please refer to photos
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Typical shy Swamp Sparrow behavior, disappearing and going quiet for long periods. After making one pass through the area, as I returned I heard it calling and quickly spotting it perching in the rushes and calling frequently. It bounced around for several minutes mostly calling and scanning and then dropped down and disappeared. About 20 minutes later, Kas glimpsed it, and after another 10 minutes it resumed calling in response to Charles' call broadcast, and we both had good looks.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I knew as soon as I heard it, and the first thing I did was to shoot a video with my camera to record the sound in case I didn't get photos.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Quite extensive including 5 previously this fall (4 in Idaho and 1 in Washington).
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
~17 years of frequent birding
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
It has been an extraordinary year for this species in our region. After realizing that they were showing up widely in appropriate habitat, I went to this location just to "check for swamp sparrow" thinking it might be one of the best locations in Latah County. As far as I've been able to gather, this might be a first county record, but I haven't searched exhaustively.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Photos depict a Swamp Sparrow.
described well & diagnostic pics
Well documented including photos and video
The documentation is good
I'm totally convinced!
While description essentially lacking, photos diagnostic as well as the attached video that includes good audio of call. As observer noted, the winter of 2017-18 was particularly good for this species in North Idaho and Eastern Washington.