Sunday, October 23, 2011
Sparrows in Flight
I've been going through some serious bird withdrawal lately, e.g. only got a half-day hit this entire week and thus even while sitting cozy in the afternoon with a beer and barbecued pig and beef brisket on my plate, it was the flickers flying over Cape May Point that generated the saliva during the first (hopefully annual) "Pig Sit" . . .
But at least my weekly hit was at the Beanery, and it being the second day of a very birdy weekend, pre-pig-sit birding was extraordinary. At one point I turned and said to my companions, Vince, Louise, and Beth, "This is a damn fine day of birding."
And it was. We were in birds constantly. What do you want to look at? Hawks overhead - like that late Broad-winged? or low Red-shouldered? or young Bald Eagle pestering its parent for food? Or how about late warblers - like a dozen or more Blackpolls on porcelain berry, which is invasive and hated 11 months a year, but come October hold birds better than native fruit? The Beanery yielded 72 bird species - Eastern Meadowlarks, Black-throated Blue Warbler, both cuckoos, first of season Fox Sparrow, Eastern Bluebirds, American Pipit. . . like I said, constant action. For four hours.
But I was there for sparrows. Right at the gate, waves moved past at sun-up, with a Lincoln's among them. We fished out a bunch more, and also netted all the expected woodpeckers (including Red-headed and Sapsucker).
Sparrows are a pain: a pain to see, a pain to i.d., and especially a pain to photograph. This is a good time for Grasshopper Sparrow, and a number were detected today around Cape May: Bob Fogg had one in Del Haven, several people reported them at Higbee, and I had one at the Beanery, but damned if I could get a shot of it.
At some point I decided, perhaps masochistically, to shoot some of the many sparrows in flight. Ridiculous. I.d. 'em with their flight call when you can, and sling pixels.
Posted by Don Freiday at 10:18 PM