Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Smiths before the rain

It was a pretty good sparrow day.  It started at Tiscornia where an odd call note drew Tim and me onto a flyover bird which he recognized pretty quickly as a lark sparrow (clicking through the view-finder no less).  I was having trouble making sense of the darkish tail with round white corners and the heavily contrasting malars setting off the breast feather tract that tapered
down to the central spot at first.  It landed distantly, too far for pics though with a digiscoping camera I might also have gotten ID-able images.  It stayed far "longer" than any prior Tiscornia Lark Sparrow; Rhoda was able to successfully "chase" the bird traveling all the way from the parking lot.

After Tim had to leave for work (can you say role-reversal) Rhoda and I did a south-county loop.  While Yellow-throated Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Fish Grackles, and Wilson's Phalaropes were nice, the highlight by far was a small group of Smith's Longspurs at the expected location Tim's worked out along Buffalo.  There was a male and 2 females though I managed pics of only one of the females.

We'd have stayed longer for the male to come back but rain started up in earnest.
Earlier in the week some harriers put on a show at Tiscornia, none were adult males that day, this one I think is a first spring female based on the streaking along the breast.
Here's a montage of shorebirds from yesterday and today.
Upper left is 2 sanderling from this morning, certainly our earliest.  Upper right is Wilson's Phalarope from the Rocky Week pothole yesterday (behind the teal), lower right is another WIPH from the Buffalo Rd pond that's really overexposed and lower left is the pair of WIPH from 3 Oaks today.
Finally it isn't spring without flower pics, this is a nice clump of hepatica from Kesling.

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