Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Ibis and the Sparrow

Just a short post for tonight. I have just been swamped with work but figured I would put one last posting in for October (or Hawktober?).
Vesper Sparrow

This past Sunday, I was at HBMO (Holiday Beach) and noted to Jeremy Bensette that the bird (the Ibis) had been seen earlier in the morning. Jeremy noted that he missed his target sparrow earlier that morning at Hillman Marsh, but did observe lots of Vesper Sparrows (among others). We both realized where we had to be at opposite locations - him at HBMO and I at Hillman. This Vesper Sparrow was not easy to find. I basically found it by walking along the edge of the shorebird cell which basically looks like a dry field right now. On occasion one or two sparrows would get flushed and on one or two occasions, I was lucky enough to get looks at their distinguishing features: Huge white eye rings, buffy cheek patches, rufous shoulder patches and white outer tail feathers (seen in flight).

Look at those huge eye rings.

Glossy Ibis vs White Faced Ibis

I was once again reminded about how cautious birders are in identifying rarities again last week (a good thing!). I had seen both White faced and Glossy Ibis in the past, but needed to be reminded about their differentiating features. My first look at the bittern this past Friday had an obvious blue-ish face (tapering behind the eyes) which was good enough for me but in hindsight, I should have noted eye colour, leg colour as well.

 White-faced Ibis - Shows a white feather border completely surrounding the face during breeding season, has a red face and eyes, reddish legs or red around leg joints.

Glossy Ibis - Shows an incomplete white (blueish) border around the face during breeding season that is broken at the back, has dark eyes and face, and black legs.


These reflections on observation will/are hopefully making me a better birder.

Good birding!

Lifer Summary:
Vesper Sparrow - 338

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