Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wet Sparrows and Warblers

I birded for about an hour and a half before work today. I started on the T&C playing fields at the western most creek crossing. I took this picture of the crossing and you can see that the water was still high from yesterday's rain. Sometimes spring rainstorms will slow down or stop migrating birds. When the rain stops there will be higher concentrations of the migrants, making them easier for birders to find and see. Since it rained so much yesterday, I wanted to be sure to get out this morning to see what I could find. After crossing the creek here I walked downstream along the edge of the soccer fields and into muddy trails beyond.

I saw most of the birds we saw on the NASWC walk Sunday afternoon, plus a few more. I had the most success standing in the mud under these trees. They were full of the same songbirds we saw on Sunday afternoon but I also found 2 Black-and-white Warblers (one singing), a Brown Thrasher, and a Spotted Towhee. On the other side of these trees (where I took this picture) I found the first Clay-colored Sparrow I've seen this year. And I saw what was probably the same Black-chinned Hummingbird near the same spot. At the creek crossing on my way back I flushed some sparrows including another Clay-colored. But most exciting was a Grasshopper Sparrow that flushed up from the wet grass and sat up in some brush long enough for me to get a great look at it. This was only the second Grasshopper Sparrow I've ever seen in our neighborhood. It's in the genus Ammodramus, which is infamous for popping up out of the tall grass, flying a ways, and then dropping back down never to be seen again.

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