|Sooty Fox Sparrow (possibly unalaschensis). Lake Hodges, California. January 25, 2015. Greg Gillson.|
Exactly a year ago in February I wrote of the Slate-colored Fox Sparrow that I had photographed. It is the most frequently encountered Fox Sparrow here. The Thick-billed Fox Sparrow also occurs, but I have been unable to get a photo, as of yet.
The Sooty Fox Sparrow is identified by the rather plain grayish-brown head and back that doesn't contrast strongly with the reddish-brown wings and tail. The breast is densely marked with wide brownish spots, converging on the upper breast. The bill is of average width with a yellow lower mandible. It gives a hard check or chap call. The winter habitat is dense riparian tangles, rather than chaparral.