Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When I am Wrong, I am Wrong...dang Sparrows!

All summer long I have seen a flock of about a dozen sparrow-type birds around the Avimor Town Lake and in the wildflowers on the vacant commercial lot across the street. Earlier in the summer I positively identified them as Lark Sparrows and I had kind of become accustomed to seeing them. As Summer turned to Autumn I continued to see sparrow-types in this area and I wouldn't even put my binoculars on them because I just "knew" they were Lark Sparrows...at least I thought I knew. Even on our September bird walk I pointed them out to the folks as Lark Sparrows. I even directed them to look at the unique face pattern. I actually looked at them through my optics this time and something struck me as different about them, yet I chalked it up to them probably being juvenile Lark Sparrows.

Well, late last week I took a longer look at them and realized they were not Lark Sparrows at all. They had streaky breasts and white bellies, still a strong face pattern, but not as much as an adult Lark Sparrow. What are these confounded sparrows?! Song Sparrows look similar to what I was seeing, but they don't act like them. Could they be Savannah Sparrows? I have only seen them individually before and never in a flock.
So I took another look at them today and I noticed a yellow eye-brow. I had my father-in-law double check in his book "Sparrows of the United States and Canada". Savannah Sparrows indeed!
I'm embarrassed that the Bird Walk group probably thought I didn't know what in the heck I was talking about and now I have a vote of zero-confidence. Oh well. You sure learn a lot by being wrong sometimes!

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