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Southern Maine mystery passerine


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This just showed up near my bird bath and I'm stumped.    Warbler-like in its appearance and behavior, yet its bill is finch or sparrow-like.  Mostly gray, faint Blackpoll Warbler-like striping on its greenish yellow-tinged back.   The photos don't show the triangle-like pattern on the back, which reminded me of a dull female Pine Warbler.  Whitish vent (no yellow), no hint of wing bars, no eye ring.   And gathering nesting materials off the ground for several minutes, while accompanied by Chipping Sparrows which it was close in size to.   It's like the field marks all cancel each other out for anything obvious.  Thanks for any help with this puzzler.

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Posted (edited)

Hmmm, thanks Blackburnian.  I will get this to eBird.  I have a bunch more photos.  Unfortunately it was getting dark so none are high quality.  These others show different angles.   If it was a Painted Bunting would it be gathering nesting materials?   Incidentally Painted Buntings do get reported in Maine almost every year, but yes they are a rarity for certain, and I've never seen one.  It appeared to be picking up the dandelion seeds as if gathering nest materials (rather than eating them), but I suppose I could be wrong since I've never witnesses the way Buntings feed.

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Edited by sanddog
incorrect # of photos given in reply
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Thank you Blackburnian & IKLland.   It's been reported to eBird and is still awaiting confirmation.  From these pics can anyone tell me what sex/life stage this bird is?   And does it appear to be gathering these dandelion seeds as nesting material, or just eating them?   Here's another photo from yesterday.

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5 minutes ago, sanddog said:

Thank you Blackburnian & IKLland.   It's been reported to eBird and is still awaiting confirmation.  From these pics can anyone tell me what sex/life stage this bird is?   And does it appear to be gathering these dandelion seeds as nesting material, or just eating them?   Here's another photo from yesterday.

P1040765 (mystery bird_8).jpg

My best guess is female @blackburniancan probably help more with that.

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I've been reading about the species and it says they leap to grasp seed heads.  That's exactly what it was doing near the bird bath that caught my attention in the first place.   So cool to see this bird in Maine.

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