Monday, May 31, 2010

Fox Sparrow

I have now seen more than 100 species for 2010. It is a bird bonanza. This weekend I shot around 1000 pictures, and I have a lot of reviewing, deleting, organizing and cropping to do. I haven't even unloaded my camera from Saturday's and Sunday's outings. To try to maintain a manageable number of photos on my computer, I have to review a lot of older shots and delete many.

As I go back through earlier shots, I find it easier to delete now. The pictures are getting better. Yet, in some cases I don't have new images of birds with my 300 mm lens, so I have to keep some of them. That is the case with the Fox Sparrow.

I took these images on Maddox Cove road in early April with my 250mm lens. Unfortunately, I haven't encountered a Fox Sparrow since where I could get better pictures. Nevertheless, I need to post a backlog of birds and decided on this one this morning.

The Fox Sparrow was one of the earliest sparrows to return after Winter. Its song was very impactful since I hadn't really noticed any sparrow song since I began watching birds. This confident sparrow's song is loud and sounds somewhat like a flute. I heard the song from my car as I was driving down the road. I parked and easily located the bird. I stood and listened for a long time while it serenaded.  I almost forget to get the camera clicking. It was my first time to see this species, and it made quite an impression.

The Fox is one of the largest sparrows and is so named because of its rufous coloring. It also has dark grey markings on its nape and upper back. The breast has a large reddish-brown spot in the center with triangular shaped brown spots below. 

There are so many sparrows around now and this is a great time to begin to learn to identify them. In most cases, I still have to come home and look the bird up in the field guides to come up with the ID. It takes a long time to learn all of the variables associated with the different species and groups of birds. I will be learning for a long time. The jargon is "lifelong learning."

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