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The white thing in Hillsborough

Hi Carolinabirders,

Just back from Thanksgiving with the folks in Massachusetts. Was greeted 
Thanksgiving morning by a Pileated Woodpecker in the yard. Managed to 
sneak away from the family on Saturday to join my old friends and birding 
mentors Bill and Barbara Drummond, who were leading a Brookline Bird Club 
trip to Cape Ann. Highlights were a Greater Shearwater and two Pomarine 
Jaegers flying over the ocean, plus a staked-out drake King Eider; a 
previously reported Ash-throated Flycatcher didn't show, nor did a flock 
of Common Redpolls. Other than that, we just saw the usual humdrum 
everyday run-of-the-mill winter birds for coastal Massachusetts: 
Harlequin Ducks, Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, 
Thick-billed Murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Purple Sandpipers, a 
Snow Bunting... Oh yeah, and one o' them Snowy Owls too...

Speaking of Snow Buntings, some of you may remember Olesia Kennedy's post 
on November 16 about a possible Snow Bunting in her yard in Hillsborough, 
NC (see 
to refresh your memory). She managed to photograph it and, at my request, 
e-mailed the photos to me. Her bird is not in fact a Snow Bunting, but 
instead appears to be a really strikingly pigmented White-throated 
Sparrow! It is pure white on the tail and most of the body, but has brown 
wings and back typical of a White-throat. It also has the White-throat's 
bright yellow lore, and a dark grey smudge on the cheek, on an otherwise 
pure white head. It's legs are pink; I can't quite figure out the bill 
and eye color from the photos.

I still have the photos of this very attractive and unusual bird on my 
computer. If anyone from the CBC or CHBC or whereever wants them for 
their website, let me know, I have permission to pass them along. 
Otherwise, I may get them up on my own site eventually. Other individual 
birders who want to see the pictures, or the bird itself, contact Olesia at 

Good birding,


Joshua S. Rose
Duke University
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)