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Posts Tagged ‘swamp sparrow’

It was really frosty yesterday morning in the back area of Huntley Meadows Park where I spotted this Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana). I was standing in a mostly dried-up marshy area and noted that a series of little birds would stop at a little patch of vegetation in the middle as they pecked about in the cattails and denser vegetation at the tree lines on either side of me.

I parked myself with my monopod far enough away from the vegetation that I hoped that I would not disturb the birds and eventually the birds began to return to the area on which I was focused. There were a lot of small branches that kept misleading my auto-focus, so I switched to manual focus and waited. I could see birds pretty frequently, but most remained partially hidden down low near the ground.

Eventually my patience was rewarded and I got these two shots of a little sparrow.  I wasn’t sure what kind of sparrow it was, but got some assistance on-line and learned that it was a Swamp Sparrow.

The background looks a little unusual in terms of the coloration, but it is a pretty good reflection of what I was seeing. That is also the reason why I was willing to plant myself in one spot—generally I like to keep moving as I look for photo opportunities.

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s so easy to overlook the ever-present, drab-colored sparrows when searching for birds to photograph. This past weekend, though, I stopped and watched one as it pecked away in the mud at Huntley Meadows Park, my favorite local marshland park. By slowing down and looking more closely, I was able to marvel in the beauty and industrious persistence of this little bird, which I believe is a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana).

Slowing down and looking more closely—that’s probably a lesson I could probabl apply to more areas of my life than just photography.

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some winter days, it’s really hard for me to find birds to photograph, but I can usually count on seeing some sparrows busily at work, pecking away in the underbrush for what look to be the tiniest of seeds.

This past Monday, before the arrival of the Arctic weather, I observed this beautiful little sparrow, which I think is a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana). Sparrows are tough for me to identify, so I apologize in advance if this turns out to be another kind of sparrow.

The bird kept its head down most of the time and remained stayed primarily in the shadows. For just a moment, though, it lifted its head and turned toward the light and I was able to take this modest little portrait of one of my faithful winter companions at the marsh.

Swamp Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year especially, I can usually depend on seeing ducks, geese, and sparrows at my local marsh—other birds may or may not be present, but these three species are my constant companions. The ducks and the geese are often loud and occasionally obnoxious, but when the sparrows sing, it’s generally a more melodious song. The ducks and geese will often fly away when I approach, but the sparrows will just take a hop or two and continue to forage for food.

I take lots of photos of sparrows. They are usually within range and have a surprising amount of personality. Yesterday, on a cold and windy day, I captured this image of what I think is a Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). The light was pretty good and the sparrow cooperated by lifting its head without turning, resulting in a pleasant little portrait of this pretty little bird.

CORRECTION: A number of more experience bird watchers have noted that this is a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), not a Song Sparrow. Sorry for any confusion—this is not the first time I have misidentified a species, and certainly not the last.

sparrow_shadow_28Feb

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Even when the weather is cold and overcast, I can usually count on finding sparrows in the marsh and in the field, cheerfully pecking about in the undergrowth. Their positive, hard-working approach and predisposition to spontaneously breaking out in song never fails to lift my spirits.

I have gotten to the point where I can identify some sparrows, but many of them continue to confound me. I think the one in the first photo is a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), but I am not sure of the identity of the rotund little sparrow in the second photo.

I remember when I used to categorize all sparrows as “little brown birds,” but have grown to appreciate their beauty and individuality.

sparrow2_dec_blogsparrow1_dec_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On days when no other birds are visibly active, I can always count on the sparrows to be hard at work, often accompanying their work with a song. As I watched, this sparrow (which seems to be either a Song or Swamp Sparrow) took a break from his activities and burst into song, as though compelled to share his joy and excitement with the rest of the world.

Wouldn’t it be great if we felt that way too and felt free enough to share it with others?

sparrow2_blogsparrow_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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