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Grasshopper Sparrow at Tillman Mounds

Published May 22, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Great Blue Heron

Today, in a quest for a Grasshopper Sparrow, we went to the mounds behind the preserve off Tillman Rd. in Clarence. This area has typically been known to be a breeding spot for this sparrow. 

When we first arrived and emerged from the woods out to the expansive fields known as "the mounds", we began tuning-in to all the sounds we were hearing.  Sometimes it's difficult to filter-out everything you don't want, such as the "fitz-bew" of the Willow Flycatcher that was nearby, or the high-pitched chatter of the Tree and Barn Swallows as they flew by performing their aerial twists and dives, or the funny, mixed sounds of the Boblinks. And then there was the Savannah Sparrow songs, similar to the Grasshopper Sparrow's, that misled us more than once because of their similar buzzing song. Grasshopper Sparrows, by the way, get their name, not only from the insect that they love to eat, but from the insect-like buzzing their songs take on.
 
Finally, though, we were able to tune-in to that buzzing from a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows, still sight unseen. Savannahs began to present themselves - but it took a long time - at least an hour - before we finally saw a Grasshopper Sparrow running through the grass.  He actually ran; he didn't fly!  And if he hadn't skirted across an open dirt area, we might have missed him altogether!  It all happened faster than I could even think to get my camera on him, but we got him; a lifer for me!

I'm at 197 life birds with only 3 more to go before I hit 200!

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Savannah Sparrow
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Savannah Sparrow
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An Eastern Kingbird in the distance surveys the field
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A Great Blue Heron flies overhead
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Waiting for the female Baltimore Oriole to come by, I grabbed a shot of this gorgeous American Goldfinch
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Female Baltimore Oriole