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Eastern Phoebes winter here on the Gulf Coast, but you don’t have to go all that far north to reach year-round and summer range. This past spring they were nesting on my brother’s front porch in South Carolina. Winter range extends down into eastern half of Mexico, but regular and breeding range is mostly east of Oklahoma. Photographed out near East Beach in Galveston, TX.

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They look a lot like small kingbirds with that white breast and white scallop that pulls up into the neck. In profile their heads seem unusually large from bill to back and that’s my best field tell.

Also saw a Savannah Sparrow and a Western Kingbird on this brief outing, and not much else. That’s only the second time I’ve seen the WEKI as Galveston is a bit too far east of their range. They look like the Eastern Kingbird but with bright yellow on the belly and extending up into the breast.

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White-crowned Sparrow (immature)

Two weeks ago I caught this sparrow (same spot as the phoebe) and had trouble making ID. Been told it’s an immature White-crown (I was leaning toward Chipping Sparrow.) Youngsters of unfamiliar birds will give a good challenge. Lifer.

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And then there’s this fellow. Someone left this golden figure perched atop a piling in the fishing area by the bridge on Boddeker Road (extreme east end of the island.) You would normally assume one of the Buddhist Deities when you see a statue like this, but this one is unadorned, bearing none of the marks of a Buddha, seated like a commoner. Perhaps doing some sky gazing? A surprising find!

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