Abby Heller was the finder of the bird at her private residence (she does not want the specific location of the private residence, which is close to a public road, revealed) Thus the delay in submitting this report and my ebird report. Abby recognized it was a species she had not observed before and subsequently sent a photo to a friend who IDed it and recognized it might be unusual both for early date and location and posed the question on an email list that I read. I followed up and was able to make contact with her. She was gracious enough to allow me to view the bird from her residence with the understanding I would not say anything about the sighting to other birders until long after it was gone to insure her home privacy. However she recognized that the bird should be recorded officially for the county and was willing to do that herself but was running into problems on this website. I offered to do it for her and she was grateful.
The bird was first sighted by Abby on April 1, 2023 and the last sighting was by Abby on April 8, 2023;
The bird was associating with a flock of House Sparrows. Since I was observing from inside through closed windows I would not hear any vocalizations. The bird was primarily foraging on the ground along the manmade berm of grasses and small bushes interspersed with rock. It would occasionally fly off with the HOSP to the road edge of other dried grass and then return. On a couple occasions it came out into the open and once flew up to the water bath. On other days, Abby had seen it pecking at mixed seed she dispersed on the ground within a few feet of the house but I didn't observe that.
The bird clearly showed the distinctive face markings of black throat, dark gray mask bordered by white and partial white eye ring. Otherwise the bird was gray throughout, with darker gray/brown tinge on the back, slightly lighter breast/belly and some white bordering the v-shaped black throat.