a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Good Day of Birding!

Savannah Sparrow

   Most birders check www.birdingonthe.net each day. This is a great site that posts bird sightings in every state. I regularly check Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and of course, Vermont. Last Sunday there was a post that a red-necked phalarope was spotted in Brattleboro (not too far away). Of course, this doesn't mean the bird is still there, but there's always a chance. So Monday morning I went to Brattleboro and checked the area around the Retreat Meadows (where the West River meets the CT River). No luck on the target bird but a walk around the cornfield served up lots of sparrows. Sparrows, aka "little brown jobs", are a tough group to identify especially when they fly quickly down into the grasses! Even in plain sight, they can vary in their plumage. The first picture is a typical Savannah Sparrow, one of the identifying marks is the yellow lore (the line between the eye and the bill). The next picture is also a Savannah, note the yellow lore, but the coloring is different.

Savannah Sparrow
   These two were sitting on the same branch so the comparison was easy; same size, same shape, bill color, streaking on the breast and sides, shape of head, length of tail...........................all combine for another Savannah.

My birding friend Snickers, rests quietly while I bird!
   
   Heading for home, I decided to stop at another cornfield, hoping there might be some shorebirds. We've had so much rain lately, there were lots of big "puddles" in the newly harvested cornfields in the area. Geese, crows and shorebirds love these areas.

Stilt and White-rumped Sandpipers (photo credit Don Clark)
 
   When I got to the cornfield, my birding friend Don was there with his scope and camera! I thought "something's good here" and there was! Shorebirds galore! Stilt, pectoral, white-rumped and semipalmated sandpipers, black-bellied, semipalmated and American golden plovers, killdeer and a dunlin. We hit the jackpot. And the best part was the "puddle" was pretty close to the road so we had great views. It made for a great day of birding, especially since the Stilt Sandpiper was a lifer (I did my lifer dance)!!

Semipalmated Plover (photo credit Don Clark)


American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plover

Dunlin

Stilt and Pectoral Sandpipers