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Swamp Sparrows (and an unusual one) in Saskatoon

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  • Ryan Dudragne
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2005
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      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
      pathway.

      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 Robins
      American Tree Sparrow- 5-10 (*see note below)
      Chipping Sparrow- 1
      juv. Spizella sparrow- 3
      Lincoln's Sparrow- 2
      *Swamp Sparrow*- 10-12 +
      White-throated Sparrows
      Dark-eyed Juncos
      250-300 blackbirds (flying over)
      American Goldfinch- several "peetering" in the vegetation along the
      water trench

      *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).

      Humbly Submitted,

      Ryan Dudragne




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