Friday, October 12, 2007

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

These two photos of birds enjoying rain puddles can be clicked to enlarge. Connecticut has been in the midst of what is categorized as a severe drought, so I had no complaints about the rain today. I don't think that the birds minded it much either. I was able to catch some American Robins and White-throated Sparrows taking puddle-baths along the side of the Road At Cedar Hill Cemetery.

I drove around a little bit today, looking for flocks of birds. One method that birders use to find uncommon/rare birds during is to carefully search through flocks of birds one by one. It's kind of like that game where you have to pick out the picture that is slightly different from all the others-do you know that game? This can be a tedious chore if you are checking a large flock.

About 2 years ago, I saw a report of a Lark Sparrow that was found among a flock of Chipping Sparrows in a cemetery. I stopped by this cemetery after work three days in a row looking for the Lark Sparrow. It wasn't until the third day when the sun appeared that I finally found it. When I saw how different it was, I wondered how I could have ever missed it. So if you come upon a flock of birds, remember that it may be worth your while to carefully scan through the whole flock ( I'm not saying that I always do this, but I'm trying to do it more often). Dana from Backyard Birds recently did a post on identification tips. Have you ever found an interesting species mixed in with a flock of birds?

Another thing that I recently did was to buy some White Proso Millet. Thanks to Lynne from Hasty Brook for reminding me (I can't remember which post). During the fall and winter, I spread this millet under feeders, along hedges, and in the weedy remains of my gardens. I also leave the remains of plants and don't remove my tomato stakes(birds love to use them as perches, especially in winter. I've attracted some sparrows that are less common in my area using these methods. Fox Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow are two visitors that I look forward to seeing.there are actually a few variations of the Fox Sparrow. I usually see what the call the Red Fox Sparrow variety around here.

I plan on meeting up with The Mattabeseck Audubon tomorrow for a field trip referred to as a "sparrow crawl." This should help me brush up on my sparrow i.d. skills-or should I say lack thereof. They do many field trips, but I like them because the groups are usually nice and small. I'm looking forward to catching up on some blog reading tonight (in between innings of the Red Sox/Indians playoff game). What do you have planned for this weekend?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've been scanning the many flocks of Canada geese hoping to find a Cackling goose mixed in.
This weekend? Working the night shift... :(

Larry said...

Lynne-I do the same.-I saw a Cackling Goose last year.It shocked me how miniature they are compared to a Canada.I would really like to find one myself instead of seeking out one that somebody else found.-Good luck on that!I quit my second job after 11 years.If I pick up another second job, it will be something that I enjoy.-Hope work goes well for you.

Ruth said...

I have found a number of interesting ducks amongst Mallards and Canada Geese. I have only about 3 sparrow IDs down pat. What is a puddle?? Haven't seen one in months!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I had a clay-colored sparrow mixed in with my house sparrows and house finches last JAN/FEB. It did catch my eye, but I had to get some "expert birders" over to my place to help me ID it because Clay-Colored Sparrows are NOT supposed to be in Minnesota in the wintertime!

I'll be sitting in my deer stand tomorrow and hoping to see some cool birds and other interesting things in the woods.

Have fun at your "sparrow crawl!"

Patrice said...

Go Red Sox! We have several flocks of Canadian Geese here and where I work we're always watching where to step :-). It never occurred to me to look for other types of geese with them. Now I'll be more observant!

Larry said...

Ruth-Short on rain up your way too are you?-Hopefully relief is on the way.

ruthiej-That is a bird that I would love to see.-Good job picking it out!-Have a great time in the deer stand!

Patrice-Sox were great last night.-Even if you've never seen a Cackling Goose mixed in with Canadas,you should have no problem picking it out.-It looks just like a Canada but only it's more like the size of a Mallard.

Larry said...

I should say closer to the size of a Mallard-It is actually bigger, but much smaller than anaverage Canada.

Cathy said...

Hi Larry - It was good to see you on my comment page. I see you've been having a great fall. You've already seen juncos? Dang. Summer is really over.