Bashakill – possible Nelson’s Sparrow?

This morning I arrived on Haven Road just before 9 am. The Bashakill was quite fogged in. I walked along the road as it was quite apparent there was a significant influx of birds. I saw many Song and Swamp Sparrows and at least one Savannah Sparrow. Also present were a Common Yellowthroat and several Palm Warblers. As I walked toward the parking area on the north side of the bridge, a very “orange sparrow” flew across the road in front of me. It landed in a small Alder Bush. I could see its very orange color as well as some gray. The bird suddenly popped up to the top of the bush, showing well. Mostly orange with distinct gray cheek patch! I lifted my camera to try to get a shot, but the bird flew off into the marsh near a stand of cattails. A number of other birds flew to about the same area. I called Scott Baldinger, asking him to bring his caller to see if we could coax the bird back in. Before he arrived, many birds flew from that spot to the bushes along the road near the bridge. I could not tell if the bird was among them. I began to sift through the birds when they all picked up a flew off into the fog. Once Scott arrived, we tried to call the bird and searched in vain for about twenty minutes. I believe the bird was likely a Nelson’s Sparrow, but could not see the identifying central crown stripe nor the color of the nape. A disappointing miss! Otherwise, Rusty Blackbirds, Blue and Green-winged Teal and Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers dominate at the Bashakill today.

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