Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 23:18:41 -0500
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Grant McCreary <jedigrant@EXCITE.COM>
Subject: In search of Ammodramus at CRNRA
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I tried for the Henslow's and LeConte's Sparrows at CRNRA this morning. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful.
First went to the North Johnson Ferry Unit and searched the grassy areas all around the building:
Palm and Orange-crowned Warbler
Song, Swamp, White-throated, and Vesper Sparrow (the latter flushed up from the low grass just past the building)
Also saw an unknown Spizella sparrow on two occasions. Both times it was flushed away by other people. Grrrrr. Anyway, odds are it was a Chipping, but it definitely struck me as something else. It was slender and long-tailed, with a "horn" colored bill. Overall it was very light and tan, with no bold features. Very non-descript. White-ish throat, breast and belly, with absolutely no streaks. The sub-moustachial area was white, but was not set off by a prominent malar stripe. Brown ear-coverts. No median crown-stripe, and crown was steaked buffy and dark. I didn't notice a prominent eye-line and I didn't note the color of the lores or nape (my bad, but I'll never forget those now). No prominent eye-ring. I couldn't see the rump.
It just seemed too light overall for a Chipping, and the face wasn't bold enough for a typical Clay-colored (not to mention there was little or no buff on the breast area). If I was in Arizona right now, I would've called it a Brewer's, but I'm not prepared to make that claim here. I'll just have to consider this a learning experience. It's funny how you can try to memorize field marks of all the birds, even common ones like Chipping Sparrow, but it takes an actual encounter with an identification-challenged bird to make them sink in.
Afterward went to the Cochran Shoals unit, where I ran into Pierre Howard and Larry Russell who had just searched the bathroom field for a couple hours unsuccessfully. I accompanied them to the boardwalk where we found a couple Winter Wrens, Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, and heard a couple Eastern Screech-Owls. I also had both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets on the Philly Vireo Trail. But I couldn't leave until I had searched the field for myself. After 45+ minutes I still didn't have my targets, but did see a consolation Sedge Wren (sorry Larry!).
Cumming (Forsyth county), GA
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