Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fox Sparrow sings in the marsh on the last day of fall migration

The nets came down today. It is a happy but sad occasion when the migration season has ended. Many things to reflect on such as the slow moving September, the great numbers of chickadees and Downies, the fantastic help of many volunteers, the inquisitive and ornery faces of Winter Wrens and kinglets, and the warm October. All in all another good season! Every year is different and to say one year is like the last is an overstatement. We did not manage to see or catch an American Tree Sparrow before closing down the station this year. There was one at the Observatory office. Not many are here yet from their Alaskan breeding area.

I must say one of the best looking sparrows is the Fox Sparrow with its bi-colored bill, bold brown chest streaks, gray cap, and russet tail. There was one singing at the station which also adds to its beauty! I know there are many other sparrows but this is one of my favorites.
Take a look at this photo and tell me what two birds I have pictured:
With only the heads can you tell they are a Hermit Thrush and a Swainson's Thrush? The Swainson's has the buffy eye ring. The Swainson's Thrush also has more buff color on its throat and chest than the Hermit Thrush.

Here is the whole bird. Can you see the rusty coloration on the wings of the Hermit as well as its rusty tail? The bird did get switched from left to right in these two consecutive photos so do not assume the species locations are the same in both photos.
Enjoy the rest of fall and occsionally I will post some aging and other ID tips throughout the winter. When we do some birdfeeder netting I may post some pictures then as well.

All the best!

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