Thursday, September 14, 2006

Final Days of Summer...

Pheasant Branch Conservancy was shrouded in fog at sunrise. Billions of water droplets covered the prairie, revealing the webs of thousands of spiders. After several days of rain and gray skies, it was nice to be in the openness of the prairie and enjoy the sun beaming down, contrasting the dense canopy of the stream corridor.

Warbler-wise, the stream corridor has been pretty quiet the past few days – gobs of mosquitoes, though. I met Sylvia and Dottie there this morning and recommended returning to the prairie where earlier I had heard many sparrow calls. I predicted we would likely see our first Palm Warbler of the fall there as well.

We watched a Lincoln's Sparrow preen for several minutes and I seized the rare opportunity to differentiate its plumage characteristics from nearby Swamp and Song Sparrows. We heard a few White-throated Sparrows sing and a Clay-colored Sparrow rounded out the emberizids for the morning, And as guessed, there were several Palm Warblers foraging in the prairie plants.

The sparrows are are coming – soon the conservancy fields will be full of my favorite birds. For them, I will finally bring out the digiscoping gear and collect some new bird portraits.

All images © 2006 Mike McDowell

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