A garden, a scorpion, and a mystery bird

This past Sunday was "planting day" at our community garden, and I'm hopeful that this season will bring a delicious bounty. I stopped by today to trim off some oregano and chives, and to decorate with some personal touches.

If you remember, last year our little garden decoration (a flower made of recycled spoons and forks) was stolen. We're optimistic, however, and trying again with this super cute scorpion we got at the Paradise City Arts Festival. It's from a Kentucky craftsman I mentioned in last year's post, Rich Kolb of Yardbirds. Hopefully he'll intimidate any hooligans and ne'er-do-wells, and if not, then the new closed-circuit camera monitoring the garden should do the trick! Anyway, here's what's growing:

A) two tomato plants, B) a trellis for peas to climb up, C) three kinds of peppers, D) sweet basil, E) chives, F) oregano
Hopefully there will be such a bumper crop I'll be giving food away by the bushel!

Hanging around near the garden were these little black birds that I can't for the life of me identify. I've gone through all of my field guides, and they remain a mystery. Am I just missing something really obvious? Maybe you can help me out.

As you can see, it's not completely black. It's primarily black (or black-ish) with lighter colored markings on its back and brown tipped wings (the primary feathers). It also has a yellow beak. It's about the size of a robin, maybe just a little bit bigger. Anyone who can identify this bird for me gets 100 brownie points!


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