Sorting Sparrows

I took the Vizsla on a birding outing this morning to the local North Branch Nature Center –   I wanted to check out the community garden for birds.  I hitched up her leash to my belt and off we went, with her dragging me along the mowed pathway.  I met an acquaintance who I see birding from time to time and he reported that he saw many sparrows, and ticked them off to me, including a couple of juvenile Field Sparrows.

Well, my sparrow expertise is about like my warbler ID skills – not great — but I had already heard a Song Sparrow sing from the top of a bush as I started out.  That seemed pretty unusual for this time of year but it was a good start.

I entered the fenced-off garden and watched dozens of skitterish sparrows scatter here and there.  I could see that many were Song Sparrows but then I started to see a few White-Crowned Sparrows.  Here’s a poor picture of one — I’ll blame it on the morning light.

White Crowned Sparrow

In addition to the many active Black-capped Chickadees were a dozen or more Chipping Sparrows.

Chipping Sparrow

A young Chipping Sparrow posed in the morning sunlight.

I also saw some Lincoln’s Sparrows and was looking for White-throated Sparrows but they were likely back in the woods.  Finally, a gardener, with a dog, showed up and I left her to her fall chores since my dog was very interested in hers.

This afternoon I went for another walk with the Vizsla in our woods and among other birds, saw two very cooperative White-Throated Sparrows.  They flitted around and I was able to grab a couple of photos of them.

I suspect I’ll try to get back to the garden sans dog later this week and check for Field Sparrows.  I have yet to see one this year — about the only one I’m missing from our usual suspects.

White-Throated Sparrow

A handsome White-Throated Sparrow in our woods.

When I watch sparrows I wish that I had started birding decades ago like many my age but hey, we all need challenges.  Sparrows are one of mine.

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