Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Misguided Sparrow, Miscolored Robin

At the beginning of the week unsettled weather was turning up unexpected migrants in all sorts of locations. Tuesday I decided to try for a rarity in Boulder that had been seen for a couple of days in a row. The Black-throated Sparrow was worth the rushed drive to see and photograph. In a family that features brown, stripes and eye-rings as major identification points the Black-throated Sparrow is a welcome standout.

This bird was ground foraging, alternating his time between groups of Vespers, Chipping, and White-crowned Sparrows. In an area with heavy foot traffic there were many occasions when the bird mix was reset, but this bird was a reliable return to the same area every few minutes.

I headed off after seeing the sparrow to see if I could also refind a reported Gray Flycatcher. I didn't find it, but did see this partially leucistic American Robin.

This bird seemed to show the pigments for orange, but all the dark colors had been replaced by white.

One last shot of the Sparrow, great looking bird! These little guys are normally found in southern Arizona, New Mexico and California, and extend northward in Utah and Nevada. They are not normally found this far north east of the Rockies. I wonder if this bird's navigation system will tell it that it needs to head west or south, not north with the other groups of migrants? I hope it finds a summer home that will support it.

2011 Count: 113
Lifetime: 254

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