First of all let me say that I did not figure this one out on my own. On August 18, 2011 I managed to get one picture of the gray, fluffy little bird at Bidgood's Park. I had never seen anything like it. So, what's new?
I sent the picture to two people, not knowing who would have time to reply to me. Both responded that this was a baby Cedar Waxwing. Then one changed his mind because it doesn't have a yellow tail.
I "Googled" baby Cedar Waxwing and came up with a number of very young birds that had a more pronounced mask and a yellow tail. None looked just like this one. The blue eye ages this little bird to be very young. Maybe too young to have a yellow band on its tail?
This ID would fit the time and place as Cedar Waxwings were present at the park for at least a 4-week period over the summer. Unfortunately, I took this picture so long ago that I can't remember what other activity that I saw around this bird. There are often many clues that help with the identification, in addition to the "look" of the bird. Time, place and surroundings can help. Next time I see something that is totally new to me, I will surely take account of additional info that will help when I try to figure out what it is.
It is hard to imagine that this puffy little gray bird is going to transform into this beautiful, sleek song bird. I took this shot at Pippy Park last Spring when the berry-feeding birds were finishing off the few remaining berries that survived Winter.