Bashakill is alive with Sparrows and Waterfowl

a White-crowned Sparrow cooperated for a shot today

a White-crowned Sparrow cooperated for a shot today

The Bashakill has been really jumping with birds the last couple of days. The Birch Trail has hosted big numbers of waterfowl and the Deli Fields have an array of sparrows. Starting out the Birch Trail yesterday morning I came across a flock of 75 Blue-winged Teal. This is a record number for me at the Bash, or anywhere in the county for that matter. Green-winged Teal were plentiful as well with two flocks totaling 40 birds. Wood Ducks numbered over 200, followed by 100 Mallards and 30 Blacks. A single Northern Pintail was present as well. This morning I repeated the walk with somewhat lower numbers. Sparrows are thick in the Deli Fields. Song, Swamp, White-throated and Chipping all numbered over 40 individuals each. There were quite possibly twice that number. Lincoln’s, Field and White-crowned showed three to six of each species. A couple of Eastern Towhees and Dark-eyed Juncos were also present. As I searched the many birds in the area of the wash, I stumbled across a small sparrow that only flushed at the last minute. As soon as it landed in a small tree only twenty feet from me I immediately recognized it as a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. It had an overall pale straw-colored appearance with a pale brown crown with a white streak down the center. It was a warm buffy overall, not showing any of the gray tones of the Chipping sparrows. I should note that the bird was in the company of Song Sparrows, not with the Chipping Sparrows that were in the next field over. The bird flew to a larger tree where it perched in the open for nearly a minute. As I tried to get closer for a pic, it simply vanished. I did not see where it went. I called Scott Baldinger who came over to help relocate the bird. We were never successful in doing so. The fields are huge and the vegetation is so thick. The bird may remain and the wash area would be a good area to look for it. We crossed into the next fields where many sparrows and Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers were feeding. Only a couple of minutes there and I spotted a sparrow fly with white outer tail feathers. It went down in Goldenrod and disappeared. As we moved forward, the bird flew out, passed us and landed in a tree right in front of us. It was indeed a VESPER SPARROW! Great morning with an abundance of birds.

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