“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

Friday, September 18, 2015

Day 261 - Scoring Locally

I was not planning on going birding today.  You've all heard me say that before!  Then, of course, the report came in.  This time it was a Virginia's Warbler seen by Dave Compton in La Mesa Park.  Well La Mesa Park is just over a mile from home so how could I resist that?

I popped down there and started looking in the Lerp-infested Eucalyptus trees.  Sure enough there were plenty of warblers and Western Tanagers working through the treetops.  I looked for about an hour but could not find the small gray warbler.  I did realize that I should be paying closer attention to these spots closer to home.

Sometimes when you are looking for one thing you find something else.  As I was on the way out of the park a sparrow flew down from a tree and began poking around in the grass.  Without binoculars I assumed it was a young White-crowned Sparrow - the first one I have seen this fall.  Since this was a species I have yet to photograph this year I pulled out the camera and started taking photos.  I quickly realized it was not a White-crowned Sparrow.  I checked the field guide.  I thought it might be a young Chipping Sparrow.  This would be really great as I had not yet seen one this year, but there were a couple of things about it that did not seem quite right to me.  First of all, the breast was not fully streaked as was shown in the guide.  Also, the bill seemed a little large.

After getting home I studied the field guides some more but could not completely convince myself about the ID.  Young sparrows can be confusing.  I sent photos to some local bird gurus.  Mark Holmgren responded with a nice summary of the features shown in the photos that in fact make this a Chipping Sparrow. (Dark line both in front of and behind the eye.  Slight bit of exposed gray rump showing beneath the wing.  Slight central crown stripe and no strong eyering.  No strong gray collar, and the crown streaking continues down the nape.)   Thanks Mark!

Chipping Sparrow comes in for bird #247!

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

There have been reports lately of Coyotes frequenting this park.  They were not kidding - this one was walking casually around at noon and did not seem upset at all by the activity at the park.


After the addition of this 1 species, the year's total stands at 247.

Today I rode a total of 2.9 miles

More later,

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