On this day, Larry and Pat were the trip leaders and they like to move along at a leisurly pace, which I like.. There's much talk about changes in the habitat, invasive plant species, native plants, and the effects that development is having on our local environment. They will spend time carefully observing field marks of an individual bird, and discuss their preferred habitat. .
We managed to see several species of sparrow including: Savannah, Song, Chipping, White-throated, Field, White-crowned, Swamp, and Eastern Towhee (heard). We found the White-throated Sparrows in a place referred to as the bean field in Middletown, and also in a field located on Miller Road in Middlefield. Three of the five sparrows were adults, with bold black and white crowns.
I think that might be one of the problems some of us run in to when it comes to identifying sparrows. Once we see the key field marks that lead to making an identification, we tend to move on to the next bird. If the field mark aren't obvious on a particular bird, we suddenly feel lost. Perhaps the key is to take the time to notice other, more subtle features of each species- (or individual bird) -that make it unique. By doing this, we may feel more comfortable trying to identify sparrows that are new, or less familiar to us. At least, that's what I'm hoping for. I certainly don't take this approach with every bird, so this is definitely a long term plan.
We also came across a lot of Purple finches. It started with a few at the bean field.We later visited The Middletown Nature Gardens on Randolph Road in Middletown where we saw about 20 or so. The vast majority were females which have a bold white eye stripe. I've seen a few of these finches in Connecticut at a time, but I've never seen this many at once.
A few of the other birds we saw included Peregrine Falcon, Tree Swallows, Black Vulture, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cedar Waxwings, Palm Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
We had nice fall weather for the trip. I'll be looking forward to their Eagle Watch, which won't be until March of 2008. I also plan on meeting up with some of the members for this year's Christmas Count.