Swamp Sparrows (and an unusual one) in Saskatoon
- Good Morning All!
The rain is really starting to come down now-- chilled this birder to
the bone! As far as birds are concerned my morning started around 9:30
AM, with a drab bird coming in for a landing in the bushes beneath my
window. Only drizzling outside at this point, I decide to investigate.
Robins are screaming at each other in the poplar trees, and my bird
remains somewhat elusive. It finally alighted on a branch above me, and
with poor light conditions at this angle, I can only name it a Thrush of
the genus Catharus. I then progress out of the courtyard here at Luther
and follow some White-throated Sparrows and juncos to the nearby river
Just perpendicular to this path (at an intersection) is a water trench.
Here, and along the cut trench running NE, +/- 50 mixed White-throated
Sparrows and juncos, plus a Swainson's Thrush and a juv. White-crowned
Sparrow, are present. Several other sparrows are flying up along the
trench, heading behind the Luther parking lot. I follow.
By this time, the drizzle has turned into light rain, but I am "warmed"
by a colourful lifer. I immediately recognize 6 Swamp Sparrows in the
grasses making their way to the willows(?) along the water trench at the
corner of the parking lot. Further observation nets me the following
(*__* indicates a lifer):
Rock Pigeon- 1 flying over
Northern Flicker- 1 calling in nearby trees
Black-billed Magpie- 1
Black-capped Chickadees- calling nearby
wren- one scolding in the willows(?) along the water, but will not pop
up for id.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet- 1 juv. (with very yellow primaries/secondaries) (!)
American Tree Sparrow- 5-10 (*see note below)
Chipping Sparrow- 1
juv. Spizella sparrow- 3
Lincoln's Sparrow- 2
*Swamp Sparrow*- 10-12 +
250-300 blackbirds (flying over)
American Goldfinch- several "peetering" in the vegetation along the
*The Tree Sparrows were with in 5 feet of my face, and one bird, facing
full front, DID NOT have a black dot on its chest. The white on its
wings was not as prominent as other Tree Sparrows, and the bird had a
softer appearance. The bill was pink/orange. I am not sure if I can
say Field Sparrow, but it looked awfully suspicious. I will be keeping
a look out in the area (provided the rain slows/stops), and encourage
others to to the same. The location is the NE corner of the 'E' parking
lot (access on Seminary Cres., off of North Road on the U of S campus).
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