Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Elusive Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow
It was pretty darn cold out today. 26 degrees and clear. Back to the winter clothing drill. Even if I took my gloves off for a minute my hands were frozen solid.

I saw some of the shallow water areas were frozen again as I headed down to the river. Tons of robins, blue jays and some grackles down there as well as a few mallards and Canadian geese couples. Saw two herring? gulls flying overhead.

On the way back to the soccer field I saw what I think is the same red tail hawk I keep seeing hanging out in a tree near the pond. Just as I saw it, there was some scrambling in the leaves near me and I saw a very reddish brown furry creature that I thought might be a woodchuck or something but I couldn't get a good look it. I'm always amazed at all the creatures that live here. Near the little round-about parking area I saw lots of chickadees, titmice and had a great look from underneath of a beautifully red breasted nuthatch.
Red Tail Hawk

In the lower gardens I was so hoping to see the fox sparrows that Jane and Haynes had seen. At first I only saw song sparrows, some juncos and a few mockingbirds although I did see a tree with three cowbirds - 1 female and two males. Then heard a beautiful song that I didn't recognize. I had heard it last weekend too and was wondering if it might be the fox sparrows but since I couldn't see the songster and I'm not familiar with their song, I couldn't confirm. Today though, I finally caught a glimpse of it and I'm glad I had studied up on it because I only saw it from underneath but its breast was unmistakeable and at top left is a poor picture of it. Ian appeared from nowhere and he heard the song too. He checked it against his iphone bird song app and we both think it was definitely the fox sparrow. Also, saw a bright yellow goldfinch looking very elegant.

We headed to the upper gardens and had another very close encounter with the hawk. I think it really likes to be photographed. It's most cooperative and lets you get very close.

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