Saturday, May 21, 2011

White-throated Sparrow

 Last Thursday was a beautiful warm day that brought out sparrows and birdwatchers alike. On that day I saw five different species of sparrows but the greatest of these was the White-throated Sparrow. This is without doubt the best look that I have ever had at this bird and I was startled by the brightness of the yellow and the pure white throat.  It was easy to find because of its distinctive call.
 Another birder and I spent quite a bit of time trying to find it out in the open to get some nice pictures but it was only partially cooperative. Nevertheless, it gave us a good challenge and that is one of the great parts of birding. If it is too easy, why bother?

Over the fall and winter I became so accustomed to taking pictures on the dark, dreary days that I forgot how to set my camera for lots of sun and bright open spaces. Gotta work on that.
 On the same day the song of the Fox Sparrow drew us to it. However, it was even less approachable than the White-throated Sparrow. It kept its distance far back from the trail. It was interesting because it was singing a song very different from one that I remember from last year. Yet, it was a loud and long song.
 In Goulds there were many different birds just beginning to show up.  This Swamp Sparrow could be heard from a long distance... singing away. There seemed to be two in the area.
When a bird is singing and if approached very slowly and quietly, they seem undisturbed and will continue to sing. On this particular day, we were hearing one different song after another and realized how very hard it is to learn the songs of birds. Any one species may have three or more songs and calls. I think that is a task beyond my reach at this time. I listen, try to render it to memory and then I hear another song and the first one is gone out of my head! There is no doubt that this skill is very important to birding as it is more likely to hear a bird before seeing it.
Not yet in song is this Song Sparrow that was hanging out at Long Pond on the same day. This is the third time to see this bird or its buddy (there are two) and I have not heard it sing yet.
This last sparrow is still a mystery. I can only say what it is not but cannot determine what it is. I was able to get only this one very poor picture. There is no streaking which eliminates Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, or Fox Sparrow. I am leaning toward a Swamp Sparrow but am far from certain. I will send this one to someone more knowledgeable than me to ID this one. If anyone knows, please post a comment.

It is so pleasing to find the sparrows back in the woods. With all of the activity, song and sunshine, I thought I was in the tropics!

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