I made a brief check of three local areas on Saturday to see what birds I might come across. It was a very casual morning of birding for me. Once in a while I like to go about my birding with a little less intensity.
My first stop was at the Portland Reservoir. The photo is of a small pond that is across from the reservoir. There wasn't much bird activity here, but it's a nice place to view the foliage. I did get a nice view of a Belted Kingfisher which was perched up on a dead tree in this pond, but I was too distant at the time to get a decent photo. I enjoyed hearing it's rattling call as it flew across the reservoir.
I ran in to an amateur photographer while I was there. He told me that he was trying to capture a photo of the sunrise over the reservoir but the low clouds put a damper on his plans. He said that snakes were his favorite photography subject. He hopes to get a photo of a Timber Rattlesnake at some point. There is a healthy population of them in Portland.
My next stop was at the Cox Road power line crossing. This a nice spot that you can sometimes see interesting birds within twenty feet of your car. There is a stream that runs underneath a thick mass of berry-bearing bushes (say that 10 times fast!), cedar trees, and some nice weedy areas that makes for good sparrow habitat. There were a lot of White-throated, Chipping, and Swamp Sparrows on one side of the road.
One particular bird caught my attention on the other side of the road. It appeared to be a sparrow or finch type of bird with pronounced black markings on the side of its face. I saw it on the ground underneath a bush. What could it be? I spent fifteen minutes trying to relocate the bird, but saw no sign of it. I decided to flip through a field guide hoping for the possibility that I may have seen a rare bird. That was a mistake because my view of the bird was so brief, that I didn't have enough time to gather details. Be sure to observe a bird very carefully before considering the possibility of a rare species. It is important to take detailed notes of a rare bird sighting before reporting it. Of course, taking a photo would be a big help if you can get one. I'm not writing this to preach to you. I need to repeatedly remind myself not to jump to conclusions.
I searched the area a little bit longer. Suddenly, a bird landed in the same location that I had seen the mystery bird. I studied it carefully. It turned out to be a bird that I was fairly familiar with, a female Purple Finch. This one had particularly bold facial markings. My guess is that the lighting had played tricks with my eyes before. There was a combination of sunlight and shadowing casting down upon the area where the finch had been. I'm also more familiar with seeing Purple Finches in trees.
My last stop was at a little known nature preserve in Glastonbury called Great Pond. I found this place very intriguing. I decided to come back early Sunday morning rather than explore it halfheartedly. I'll tell you all about Great Pond Nature Preserve in my next post.
Have You Ever Mistakenly Thought That You Had Seen A Rare Bird?