Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall chippies

I wish I'd tried to save the doppler image from Wunderground yesterday morning as it seemed to show the reflection pattern that I think is migrating birds north of a front and none south of the front. Anyway, Floral was awash with sparrows yesterday, hordes of juncos and white-crowned, but a lot of chipping and whitethroats as well as smaller numbers of less common species (including half a dozen vespers and one clay-colored).

I returned today hoping to get some portraits. There were a lot fewer birds today; thickets that yesterday held 8 orange-crowned warblers today might have one. I didn't see vesper, Lincoln's, or clay-colored. I concentrated on the chipping sparrows. It doesn't take much grass to hide a sparrow.
They were fairly variable, some were still practically in breeding plumage, though I didn't manage any shots in focus of these. I think my camera exaggerated the rufous-ness of the plumage and the crowns in the more typical winter birds.
They're pretty hard to age in the fall per Pyle as most of the first year birds undergo some pre-basic moult into the winter plumage and approach the appearance of adults.
It's too bad I couldn't get a shot at the clay-colored yesterday or find one today. The bird had much brighter underparts than the chippies with a warm buffy breast and whiter throat and malar ground color, very different from the colder tones of the chippie's medium gray.

White crowned's, on the other hand, are twice as big and half as shy as most sparrows and are fairly easy targets for digi-scoping.

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