“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6 - Walking for Grasshopper Sparrow

Today I opted to go for a walk instead of a bike ride.  Elings park is about a 15 minute walk from the house, and some good birds can be found there.  When I left home I was hoping to add at least 5 species to the year's list.  I figured this would not be a problem, as this year I have yet to encounter many of the more common species.

I got a bit of a late start, and the day was heating up by the time I got to the park - quite a change from only 3 days ago when I was breaking through ice on my bike.  The warm day may have reduced the bird activity, for it seemed a bit quieter bird-wise than my last few visits.  

I was greeted by this Mockingbird as I entered the park.

Northern Mockingbird, Elings Park

As I wandered around the top of the park I did manage to tease out a few new species: Purple Finch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, House Wren, and Fox Sparrow (Slate-colored).  As the day continued to warm, I decided for one more pass around the top and then head for home.

I saw a sparrow-like bird dive into a nearby bush.  I waited, and it flew to a nearby bush.  There I could see it was a smaller sparrow with a large bill, short tail, thin white eyeline, and orange/yellow area between the eye and bill - a Grasshopper Sparrow!  A very nice find, and hello #5 for the day.  (There was one Grasshopper Sparrow reported at Elings Park during the Christmas Bird Count.)  While there are a few fairly reliable spots to see this species in the county, it is nice to have it taken care of.  This eliminates a potential chase situation later in the year.

I was able to get a couple of photos for identification purposes, but the bird refused to come out of the bush and pose nicely for me.

 Grasshopper Sparrow, Elings Park

Grasshopper Sparrow, Elings Park

With the addition of today's 5 species, the year's total stands at 126.

Today I walked about 2.5 miles.

More later,

1 comment:

  1. Nice find. Thought Grasshopper sparrows were only around in the summer. Guess we know better now