Thursday, May 6, 2010

Missing a Twitch - not the worst thing that could happen

Yesterday, a Boulder birder reported seeing a Worm-eating Warbler at the South Mesa Trail. I went for a quick try on a late lunch - and failed to find it. But the Yellow-rumpeds were out in force, and one even shot for a few shots in a row. After looking at my posts from a year back I realized that I had fallen behind my 2009 count at this point of the year. That got me going a bit, so I made a 15 minute stop on the way home at a small lake along the Boulder Turnpike, Hodgson-Harris Reservoir. I approached as close as I was able and with a bit of scanning was able to throw together a list of sixteen species. I added a distant Spotted Sandpiper, and then as I was turning to leave spotted a small bird moving in the dried cattails.

It was another Lincoln's Sparrow! I can honestly say that in the field, with only my camera's eyepiece to scan through I had no idea what species this was. Thanks to my encounter in April, as soon as I had a full picture on my screen I knew that it was a Lincoln's Sparrow. My first series were from a good distance and a bit washed out, but fortunately a cloud crossed the sky and I got a couple later that show a bit more detail. The main field marks to note on the Lincoln's Sparrow are the narrow black streaks on a buffy breast, and the facial pattern that has two buffy mustache stripes and clear eye-rings.

Even though it wasn't a new species, even for the year it was a fun find. As so often happens to me, a recently seen life bird reappears shortly after to reinforce the species. Once again I am left to wonder if the study after initially finding the bird makes the mind more apt to detect it sub-consciously as it enters my environment, or if just having more experience in the field leads to more chance encounters falling closely together. As with all things in life there is probably a bit of both, but it is a phenomenon that always makes me think - what in nature doesn't though?

So, missing a bird kept me seeing cool sights - and I'll take that any day.
2010 Count: 122

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