I went on another field trip with my ornithology class yesterday. We walked around a local arboretum for a few hours. I’ve made it a personal goal to get better at identifying sparrows, and we had a few opportunities to see some yesterday. There were a number of American Tree Sparrows around. Excuse the horrible photo, but the best I could get was this:
I have a really hard time telling a Tree Sparrow from a Chipping Sparrow. The Tree sparrow has a black-and-yellow bill, which I can see in this picture, and the Chipping Sparrow has an all black bill. Also, the Chipping Sparrow has a black eye line while the Tree Sparrow has a rusty stripe behind the eye. Yikes, it will take me a while to be able to tell those two apart.
I saw another Song Sparrow, and was happy to be able to identify this one based on seeing and photographing it the other day at the river. That little dark triangle in the white throat helped me identify this one.
During the field trip, I thought these were the only two sparrows I saw. But when I uploaded my photos to my computer, I saw this one:
When I took the picture, I though I was photographing another Tree Sparrow. But when I saw the picture, it was immediately clear that this was another type of sparrow. I was able to identify it as a Field Sparrow, mainly because of the pink bill and the pink legs. I can also see a white eye ring in the photo. This is another example of why I love birding through photography–I just missed the marks out in the field and only saw them later when I could look at the picture. Examples like this increase my admiration for those people who can walk around outside and call out one bird after another!
I saw a few other interesting birds over the last few days. Near my home, I saw this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I was so happy to get a photo of it–I haven’t gotten any good photos of this bird before.
I also saw a Black-Crowned Night-Heron for the first time this week. I had heard there was one nearby a few weeks ago, and went to check it out, but never found the bird. On Friday, I took the kids to the zoo. And there, sitting right over the polar bear exhibit, was a Black-Crowned Night-Heron! What a beautiful bird!
I hear our fantastic weather may be gone for a bit this week. Hopefully, our beautiful, warm, sunny spring days will be back very soon!