Birding friend, Scott Olmstead, had the weekend off. We planned a specific study on sparrows that most birders try to avoid. Enter the Sage Sparrow.
|Ferruginous Hawk-one of my favorite hawks|
|A Sage Sparrow is difficult to ID in bad lighting or where the field marks cannot be seen|
Scott wanted a good study session. The Bell's Sparrow would be a lifer for him. And I love sparrows. So the challenge was on!
So we got in the car and headed to the best place in the state for Bell's Sparrows, Robbin's Butte. And there we did our detailed study. Scott is analytical and very good about observation. We scoured the property and found two nice loose flocks of "Sage Sparrows". It was SUPER enjoyable. This is not a birding trek for a lot of people, but sparrows are my favorites.....even more so than owls! GASP! It was fun being with someone who also found them fascinating.
|A Bell's Sparrow-a dark malar and fairly non-streaky mantle is good for Bell's|
|Sagebrush Sparrow-uniformly gray in malar and head-streaky back mantle|
|Maybe a Cackling Goose but the neck was really long! I'm still stuck on the ID of this bird.|
Not all birds are tricky to identify though. Most were a welcome reprieve from our difficult ID challenges. But how does a birder ID these tricky birds successfully? Lots of study from bird guides, online sources, conferences and observations in the field with experts can help greatly. It's a combination from all of them that ultimately make you a better birder in general.
|American White Pelican|
|Snow Goose at Lakeside Park|
|A mystery scaup at Kennedy Lake|
|Redhead at Reid Park|
|The Blue Molt Snow Goose of Columbus Park|
It has been a good month so far in that it has been full of amazing finds for the state. We both finally saw the Black-throated Green Warbler in Phoenix. Later, we chased a rare Lapland Longspur. And then with friend Magill, we conquered the Short-eared Owl.
|My first state record of the Black-throated Green Warbler in AZ|
|Black-throated Gray Warbler|