Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Week In Review

     I went out a few times last week, but also managed to stay super busy last week with work and gatherings. So, here are (a lot) of views from last week...
On Monday, Halloween, my trick was not seeing pipits or blue birds, but my treat was a few different sparrows in the setting sun- really great lighting to highlight these great little birds.
A lovely swamp sparrow in the first two shots. I walked along the cricket field to the RAG pond, and in the brush bordering the path were some very active sparrows.
Another treat was this perched merlin who was greeted, or pestered by another merlin who flew in and swooped close, just as quickly as it flew off- so I got to hear some vocals which confirmed this as a merlin, especially because I saw it from afar and it was severely backlit.
In losing light- I was not about to go solo onto the trails, so I turned back and practiced checking out sparrows. The song sparrows, in terms of photos, are always reliable to capture. Other sparrow species can be a bit more skulky than these guys-- birder speak for staying hidden among the brush/grasses/trees- you get it? good.

Saw some birds foraging in the grass- a slightly more slender/pointier bill, yellow above the eye, streaky...
And a full body view, looks good for a Savannah Sparrow.

This bird reveals how their streaks differ from those of the song sparrow- they are not as thick- also many sparrows boast a marking referred to as a malar stripe-- it looks like a mustache coming off the side of the beak. The malar stripe on this bird is thinner than the one boasted by the song sparrow.
Walking to my car I had a chance to enjoy a second and smaller species of falcon (the merlin being the first), a male American Kestrel- patrolling the fields before the sun disappeared for the evening.
On Thursday, before work, I took a quick walk through Prospect. With cloudy skies, and the threat of rain, I didn't take too many pictures. But another sparrow species to toss into the mix from Monday, a white-throated sparrow, common throughout the winter into spring. You can see where they get their name- also another fairly easy sparrow to ID if you're just getting started with sparrows. And also, like the song sparrow, fairly common- especially this time of year.
A nice treat on the Lullwater that Wednesday, a small group of American Wigeon, including a nice flashy male.
And one last sparrow for the road- and one already ID'd in this post-- I'll let you give it a try, especially if you're practicing.
I just invested in Sparrows of the United Sates and Canada by Beadle and Rising- it's a photo guide, which I am finding I tend to like better than guides that use art. I have been studying it little by little, and so far, I like it alot!
I also went into work late on Friday- had a couple extra hours I worked to burn... Started off with some close to shore ruddy ducks on the lake. 
The squirrels were especially ridiculous today...
Especially this guy, who consumed his snack entirely while dangling like this.
A chameleon squirrel.
A fat squirrel.
Another sparrow species. I am feeling confident for chipping sparrow... the streaky crown helps me differentiate this guy from one further down in this post.
The group of Wigeons on the Lullwater grew to also include another male and additional females.
On Saturday I joined my friend and the Feminist Bird Club and arrived early to find this guy/gal- a juvenile white-crowned sparrow. The brownish-red crown lacks streaks like the chipping sparrow. Subtle differences become important to note when spying sparrows.
I had to scurry home early but found some less-than-normally-shy hermit thrushes foraging by a picnic/bbq area on Wellhouse Drive.
Ending the day with a hermit thrush smile? Maybe?