Friday, October 12, 2012

Before the Weekend Rain

White-crowned Sparrow (adult)

The weather forecast is calling for a very rainy weekend, so I was grateful I got to spend a few hours outside this morning at the prairie. For me, the White-crowned Sparrow has typically been one of the more challenging sparrows to get decent photographs of, but not this fall. There were plenty of other sparrow species zipping around in the dense tangle, but they were not as obliging as the "flat-heads," as I like to call them.

White-crowned sparrow (adult)

About on schedule, I saw my first two American Tree Sparrows of fall, but only briefly. They’re pretty much the last migratory sparrow to arrive at Pheasant Branch Conservancy and will remain through most of March.

Fall arrival dates for American Tree Sparrow at Pheasant Branch Consevancy:

2007: 10/20
2008: 10/21
2009: 11/01
2010: 10/12
2011: 10/21
2012: 10/12

I guess they like 1's, 2's and 0's, eh? Kidding. There are only a few other songbird species I’m expecting to see yet this fall (or year) at the conservancy. I usually find a Northern Shrike or two before the end of October, and then Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings. Maybe some uncommon winter finches will show up?

The prairie where the sparrows are.

It's been a great fall season for birding. The lighting has been exceptional for nature photography, but we're still under drought conditions. The prairie plants and grasses are mostly brown, but there are still some patches of color remaining.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Oct 12, 2012 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
36 species

Canada Goose 
Ring-necked Pheasant 
Sandhill Crane 
Ring-billed Gull 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Downy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Horned Lark 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 
Eastern Bluebird 
American Robin 
Brown Thrasher 
American Pipit 
Palm Warbler 
American Tree Sparrow 
Chipping 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 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Rusty Blackbird 
House Finch 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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