My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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Another Nemesis Down and a Rarity

Published September 29, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Sora, Nelson's Sparrow, Northern Pintail, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Black Duck, Common Merganser, Killdeer, Marsh Wren, Eastern Phoebe, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow

What a great day of birding today: the weather was perfect and the birds were cooperative.  I've been bent on finding a Sora, and finally today was the day for this elusive bird!  I have to admit that I wasn't all that hopeful, but, like a dog with a bone, I couldn't give up my quest.

Doug Happ and I made two stops to a couple of marshes that Doug Beattie had suggested to us last weekend when we saw the Red Phalarope at Stafford Marsh.  Doug pointed us a little south of Batavia where he's had success before.  Unfortunately, we didn't find a Sora at either spot but I'd like to return in the spring as it looks great for Sora and other birds.

After failure at both marshes, we decided to stop by the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant just to see what was there since we were so close - and guess what?!  Yep, as we were leaving, we drove by the reedy areas at the bottom of the plant - and found a Sora! And not one, but THREE!  I am still wanting in the visual department as the looks weren't that great - but the birds called their Sora calls and gave us furtive looks through the reeds.  I'm hoping that springtime will bring the birds out into the open where I can get some better looks and hopefully some photos too.

As Doug and I were happily driving back to the southtowns, we got a phone call that two Nelson's Sparrows were seen in Amherst. We made the fast decision to join the small group out there (Willie, Betsy, Celeste, Holly, and Bernie) and hopefully get a chance to see this rare (to our area) and beautiful sparrow.

Sure enough, Jim Pawlicki's great find was still there and we all got some wonderful - outstanding even - views of these shy birds. Unfortunately, we didn't hear them sing. I would have liked to have heard their song as the audio files I've listened to depict a rather odd sounding call, a raspy trill, of sorts.  But at least the views were great and thankfully, this time, I even managed a few photos. 

Other birds seen today: Northern Pintail, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Black Duck, Common Merganser, Killdeer, Marsh Wren, Eastern Phoebe, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow.
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Nelson's Sparrow
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Nelson's Sparrow
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Nelson's Sparrow
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Nelson's Sparrow
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Swamp Sparrow
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There were still a couple of Green Herons around - but most have migrated already.
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Killdeer
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Killdeer
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Northern Harrier
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Young Snapping Turtle - Doug noticed this guy walking along the berm so we stopped to say "hello"!