Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 22:36:55 -0400
Reply-To: Marion Dobbs <marion@MINDSPRING.COM>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Marion Dobbs <marion@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: Lark Sparrow - Peach Co.
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While searching the brushy area behind (south) the Peach Co. SuperSod site
about 2:00 this afternoon, 26Sep2001, I approached a partially dead oak tree
to investigate a group of dark birds in the branches near the top. These
turned out to be Brown-headed Cowbirds, but a largish, long-tailed sparrow
perched on one of the limbs caught my eye, looking grayer than a Song
Sparrow. Although this was an immature bird, it didn't take long to
distinguish the unmistakable facial pattern of a Lark Sparrow, albeit in
shades of buff and brown rather than chestnut and white. The very dark
triangular lateral throat stripe was prominent, and it was easy to
distinguish the light central crown stripe even though the rusty crown was
partially erect giving the bird a tousled look. Upperparts were gray-brown
and darkly streaked. Underparts were paler and plain except for a dusting
of fine dark streaks on either side of the upper breast, flanking the small
central black spot on the bird's breast. I did not see the bird fly, but
was able to catch the occasional hint of white in the tips of the outer
retrices when the bird moved between branches.
To reach this location, take the road past the main entrance to the sod
farm, driving south until you reach the end of the sodded area; take a
right, following the dirt road with the pecan orchard on your left until it
bears around to the left and you arrive at a series of dirt/brush piles near
a large oak. I parked here and walked the road for an additional 100 yards
until I arrived at an open area beyond the tall grasses/sedges on the right
side of the "road". At this point, look left to the tallest nearby tree in
the midst of sumac, goldenrod, small oaks and pines. There are several dead
branches near the top of the tree, and the bird was moving among them, with
frequent long pauses.
Notable also were at least 50 Palm Warblers and 3 species of swallow: Barn,
Tree, Northern Rough-winged.