Friday, October 19, 2007

Winter Finches and Hasty Sparrows

After the pelagic trip two Sundays ago, with dry clothes and a nice rum drink warming me from the inside out, I settled in to see what birds were visiting the feeders at Hasty Brook.
A beautiful male purple finch bullied the rest of the birds away when he wanted this feeder.
I have a hard time telling females from immature purple finches. Is that a fox sparrow watching from above? There were many fox sparrows in the thickets- they were reluctant to come into the clearing.
A new lifer for me!! Pine siskins! I've had glimpses of pine siskins before but this day I got to watch them up close for quite a while.
A purple finch and two pine siskins on the feeder gave me a chance to compare their sizes and bill shapes.

In among the many juncos was this lones sparrow. My first thought was that this is a chipping sparrow but it didn't seem small enough compared to the juncos.
It doesn't seem to have the dark eye-line.The beak is pinkish and it has a white eye-ring.

Field sparrow? Am I off the mark?



16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne: What you have there is
a winter plumaged White-crowned
Sparrow. Nice photos! I have had
a Pine Siskin coming to my thistle
feeders with the goldfinches since
last Monday (Oct. 15th), right
here in NW New Hope.
Hap in New Hope

Lynne said...

Ummm...Hap in New Hope, I live in NW New Hope! Can I come to your feeders? Thanks for the sparrow id.

I'll have to watch my thistle feeders more closely!

Patrick Belardo said...

I guess you're not talking about New Hope, PA... first-winter White-crowned it is! Great birds!

mon@rch said...

As patrick said, this is a hatch year bird and has not developed the white crown yet! Love your winter finches and I really need to start looking for them at my feeder!

Susan Gets Native said...

What a bunch of cuties!
I've not seen a siskin yet. Ever.
: (

Mary said...

Great day, Linne :o) You have an assortment there, for sure. I'm glad others helped you with IDs because I'm still in the summer mode here...no junkos yet, (I'll probably never see pine siskins). I'll keep looking!

Hmmmmph.

They are all Spinches to me.

Wonderful photos, dear.

Linda said...

Nice pictures. The sparrows are very hard for me to identify. There are such little differences between many of them. I'm going to have to carry my bird book with me.

Mike Hendrickson said...

Lynne:

Many of your readers of your blog are correct and its no doubt a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow but do not feel frustrated because you knew enough that a Field Sparrow has a white eye ring and a pink bill. Keep studying them brown drab sparrows especially this time of the year when juvies and winter adults are at your feeder.

Jayne said...

Love the contrast of the finch and the siskin! Will have to keep my eyes peeled on my feeders to see if I have any. BTW, I'd never guess the first year spinches ever... too subtle for me to even attempt ID! :c)

Lynne said...

Thanks for the help and encouragement everyone! You all are so kind when I make a mistake, I'm not afraid to stick my neck out and it builds my confidence for the next id attempt.

I want to LEARN from you all.

Larry said...

Great birds and great photos!I was confused between immature White-crowned and Field Sparrows.-They both have pinkish bills.Those types of spaarrows are tough.It just takes time.

Ruth said...

I saw my first female/immature purple finches today, but thought they were a type of sparrow until I got home and looked them up. I would have looked harder for a male. I also saw my first fox sparrow today, a bird I first saw on your blog.

dguzman said...

I've had a few of those first-year white-crowneds too, but your photos are better than any I have taken. Nice work.

And a pine siskin! That's one of my "goal" birds for Cape May....

Julie Zickefoose said...

Interestingly enough, there is some thought that White-crowned Sparrows may have a brown and white morph just like White-throated Sparrows do. So this could conceivably be an adult. Heard that from Jim McCormac's Ohio Birding Blog. They caught a hatch-year WCSP at their banding station that had a blinding white and black crown!!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Interestingly enough, there is some thought that White-crowned Sparrows may have a brown and white morph just like White-throated Sparrows do. So this could conceivably be an adult. Heard that from Jim McCormac's Ohio Birding Blog. They caught a hatch-year WCSP at their banding station that had a blinding white and black crown!!

judit said...

Pine siskins!? That's what I've had around all winter! So glad I saw your photos. I'm in NH and have had lots of fox sparrows and the obligatory chickadees, nuthatches,titmice, juncos and yesterday a bear (yes, I brought in the feeders. Sigh).