“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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 281 - Swamp Sparrow - Not!

Yesterday while I was chasing the Prothonotary Warbler around, Rob Denholz was reporting not one but 2 Swamp Sparrows at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh.  This is a bird I have yet to see this year, and in fact I have yet to catch up with in Santa Barbara County.

So this morning I pedaled down to the Salt Marsh in Carpinteria.  I headed to the spot where the birds were seen, but did not find them.  So I took a stroll around the area.  On the way back I saw Rob at that spot looking around with this binoculars.  I stopped along the way to get some photos of the local Savannah Sparrows.

When I arrived where Rob was I asked if he had seen any Swamp Sparrows.  "Yes, they were here."  "Just now?"  I asked.  "Yes, they just flew away."  Now, it is one thing to go looking for a bird and not find it.  It is an entirely different level of disappointment to miss a bird that was JUST there.  I was definitely regretting those Savannah Sparrow photos.

However, I did have some time and was hoping the Swamp Sparrows had not gone far and I might come across them yet.  After entertaining myself with the antics of a Kingfisher and Green Heron I noticed some nearby sparrow activity and went to investigate.  Bingo - Swamp Sparrows!  I managed a couple distant photos before the birds flew off.

UPDATE: At least I was convinced they were Swamp Sparrows.  Upon review of the photos by an expert with a more critical eye, it was pointed out that these are in fact Lincoln's Sparrows.  You can see in the lower photo the most common ID feature of a Lincoln's Sparrow, the finely streaked breast with a buffy band across the upper breast.  This is why it is always good to have photo evidence.  Embarrassed to make a bad ID call, but my education continues ...

A few photos from today:

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow - Belding's

Belted Kingfisher - Juvenile Female

Belted Kingfisher - Juvenile Female

Green Heron

After today the year's total still stands at 256.

Today I rode a total of 31.3 miles

More later,

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