Sunday, December 10, 2006

LeConte's Sparrow

Headed back to Lake Jessup to try and focus on Sparrows. I had the Vermilion Flycatcher checked off and there are so many more birds to search for. In fact, I barely flinched when Vermi showed up again a couple hours after sunrise. We waved hello and went about our merry way.

The only problem with locating the Vermilion was that I felt I had to share the news with the birding world. Now the place was beginning to crawl with humans and their 600 mm/stacked telephoto SLR digitals where last week I was all alone with much less hardware and a cheery morning.

A few heavily armed guys approached me to ask if I had seen the flycatcher. "Yep," says I, "he is right over thataway." I had already begun my sparrow search but I led them over to where Vermi flew to and they set up. Told them to have fun, I was hunting other prey this day.

Sparrows were everywhere out here. Mainly Savannah Sparrows but someone thought they had seem a LeConte's out here not long ago. Habitat sure is favorable for all kinds of sparrows and a LeConte's would be new for me.

Sparrows are hard to see in a place like this. The wire grass and bent over reeds make an excellent hiding place and you usually don't even know they are there until you are almost on top of them. Then, they fly up and away from you and dive into the next hiding place before you can even ID the species.

Not long after I showed the birders the flycatcher I noticed one sparrow that landed quicker than most. It also behaved differently in the fact that after it landed it actually came up unto the weeds and...posed. Turns out that this was my first LeConte's.

LeConte's Sparrow

Pretty sparrow. More yellow/orange than most brown and white sparrows we usually see around Florida.

LeConte's Sparrow

After a few minutes (yes, it stayed there for a couple minutes instead of seconds) it dropped down into the weeds and basically ran in the opposite direction. Though you see sparrows when they fly up and away to escape, they often prefer to run along the ground. With thick grasses all around you can loose or never even see the birds that are all around you.

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