Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sparrows in the Light

Song Sparrow

26 degrees!? This Song Sparrow seemed none too fond of the cold weather this morning. A gap in the thicket made a perfect perch, exposing itself to the sun's warming energy. Ground plants were covered with glistening frost crystals, but was soon to disappear along with sparrow's chill.


I can't recall ever seeing this before. The cold temperature caused many trees to shed a large portion of their leaves, though they were still green. The corridor trail was carpeted like this. I thought about staying home this morning because of the cold weather, but I would have missed out on so much! From my bedroom window, I could see sunlight hitting treetops in the woods across the courtyard, beckoning me to go explore sparrows in the light.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow (juvenile)

White-crowned Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Homo sapiens digiscopi (winter plumage)

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."

-- Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Looks like someone is really upset about the paved trail along the creek corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. I found several of these signs posted east of Park Street this morning. A few weeks ago someone spray painted similar sentiments directly on the asphalt. Middleton promptly covered it up.

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 10/11/09
Number of species: 56

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Ring-necked Pheasant
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Nashville Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch

© 2009 Mike McDowell


  1. Beautiful sparrow shots the last few days Mike! Dave F.

  2. Bravo, Mike great detail on all of your captures!


  3. The sparrows are sweet looking! Especially the JuVe. The photo of your towhee is awesome too. The towhees near me all look more mottled, I'm thinking they maybe young.

    Glad you decided to head out and NOT stay inside. Keep warm- :)

  4. Great photos as always, Mike. Especially loved the first White-crowned Sparrow's crying out to be framed and hung! Such gorgeous sharp colors - great contrast. :)