[Mystery bird] American Pipit, Anthus rubescens, photographed at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, southwestern Texas. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]
Image: Joseph Kennedy, 30 January 2007 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/1000s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
I'll go with pipits (slender bill and long legs), and comparing the American vs the Sprague's, I'm thinking with the fainter wing bars and streaking down the flanks that this is the American Pipit. Both species could winter along the Texas Gulf Coast. I saw him at Cape St. Mary's, NFLD, on a pea soup foggy marvelous day in July, 30 years ago; when I saw the gannets, guillemots and murres.
Either Sprague's or American Pipit. The bird here shows streaking down the flanks which should rule out Sprague's and has a fairly unstreaked back, mantle and head again features of Sprague's so I agree with Ruthie American Pipit.
Special Bird ID Request
Brian Switek of the Laelaps science blog http://scienceblogs.com/laelaps/2009/10/photo_of_the_day_732_grouse.php has posted what I think is a Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) on one of his entries today which some of you might like to check out and confirm/deny my ID, but it is probably not a Sooty Grouse...
re. Dusky vs Sooty Grouse from Western Birds, Volume 38, No3, 2007:
"In 2006 the American Ornithologistsâ Union checklist committee split the Blue Grouse into the Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) and the Sooty Grouse (D. fuliginosus) (Banks et al. 2006). The occurs in the intermontane West and ranges west to eastern Washington, eastern Nevada, and northern Arizona, while the Grouse occurs nearer the Pacific coast and is the species found in California. The Sooty Grouse thus replaces the Blue Grouse on the California list."
[Banks, R. C., Cicero, C., Dunn, J. L., Kratter, A. W., Rasmussen, P. C., Remsen, J. V., Jr., Rising, J. D., and Stotz, D. F. 2006. Forty-seventh supplement to the American Ornithologistsâ Union Check-list of North Birds. Auk 123:926-936.]
I agree with American Pipit (Anthus rubescens rubescens), but if this was somewhere in Central Asia where A. rubescens shares distribution with A. spinoletta, it could almost be a Water Pipit (http://www.alsirhan.com/Blog/wp-content/2008/11/antpra4038.jpg)!
In fact, it wasn't all that long ago that we would have called this bird a water pipit. I have a 1990 version of Peterson's Western that includes "(water pipit)" after the official "American Pipit".