Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Fox Sparrow of the season!

More southwesterly winds today; not as strong as yesterday, but it still produced some great birds. I hope all of you have not stopped searching for fall songbirds. Take a look at this handsome looking male:
It deserves a whistle, if I do say so myself!

Ninety-nine new birds banded today with 51 recaptures. If you follow this blog, then you can probably guess what the number one species recaptured was: Blackpoll Warbler. There were some porky ones too, with fat classes in the 4.5-5.5 range, and weights of 18-20 grams. A Blackpoll Warbler with no fat would weigh around 12-13 grams depending on its size.
Beach top species:
Blackpoll Warbler-4
White-throated Sparrow-3
Common Yellowthroat-3
Golden-crowned Kinglet-2
Gray Catbird-2
Main Inside top species:
White-throated Sparrow-13
Swainson’s Thrush-9
Blackpoll Warbler-6
Hermit Thrush-5

Too many good birds to spend time writing a lot of text. We had eight species of sparrow observed on the site today, including a Snow Bunting that flew over; are you feeling like winter should be here? Just say, “No!” Eastern Towhee, Fox, Song, Lincoln, Swamp, White-throated, and Slate-colored Junco were the other seven sparrow species. Here are four that we had at the same time:
Here are front and back views to help with ID
I'm giving you one of the other sparrows as a quiz bird. Give it your best shot!
Another treat was the American Woodcock with its camouflaged feather coat. Look at its toes too. There are so many interesting features on a woodcock.
The Quiz bird is a Lincoln Sparrow with its buffy chest markings with dark brown flecks. It also has brownish-gray wings unlike the other small sparrow (Swamp) in the top group shot.
Group sparrow pictures from left to right: Swamp, White-throated, Song, and Fox Sparrow.

Get out this weekend and take part in National Wildlife Refuges Week. There are lots of activities at your nearby National Wildlife Refuge (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge). Check out the Observatory’s website for more event details. (

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