Thursday, January 15, 2015

So was this a Baird's Sparrow

One of John's target birds for the trip was Baird's Sparrow and who can say know to stomping around in the grass when its 28 degrees? Actually by the time we got around to stomping through the grass the temperature was up into the high 40's so not that bad.

Our target Baird's Sparrow habitat, site of the first bird we flushed.
So we spied a likely stand of grass out on 118 in the Davis Mountains that we saw a good number of sparrow in, Chipping and Rufous-crowned mostly. We walked down one side of the road, then crossed over headed back to the car through the grass on the other side of the road.

Bingo! a sparrow flushed from the grass. White-tail corners, streaky back, very pale, like the color of the dried grass. It flew and dove in the grass, kinda typical of Ammodramus sparrow behavior. We were able to flush this bird two more times not really getting a better look, but not finding anything to contradict Baird's Sparrow.

So was this a Baird's Sparrow?
We tried another site, no luck. We continues down the road, turning south on 166 and about a mile and quarter south we found another good looking stand. Very quickly we flushed another bird. This time I was ready with the camera, but the bird was faster and while I took many shots I didn't get much bird. Left is the most bird like shot. It looks much dark here than it did in the field.

So did we have two Baird's Sparrows today? We did have two very Ammodramous acting sparrows, that were light colored, with streaked backs, white tail corners, very cryptic, in the right kind of habitat. Something to think about, but it didn't make the year list. Funny I looked at my copy of Beadle's Sparrows of the United States and Canada: The Photographic Guide before this trip and said to myself "naw you won't need that".

It was a good day for me in terms of meeting my goals. I did get my target of 11 new year birds and reached 200 species.
Western Bluebird of Happiness - Lawrence E Woods Picnic Area - Davis Mountains
You never get chances like this to photograph a Lark Bunting!
Western Meadowlark - "Does this fence post make me look fat?"


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