Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sparrows in South Dakota!

I am not an impulsive person. At all. It's an old family joke that I can agonize over choosing something new off of a menu. That said, sometimes things come together, details and timing, and I believe I'd be a fool not to act. This morning I was looking at some pictures I took last weekend at Hasty Brook. Puzzling over my field guides I started out thinking it was a Lincoln's sparrow, but now I'm pretty sure it's a juvenile song sparrow. I struggle with sparrows. I love them- their songs, the subtle coloring, their behaviors. I was thinking that I've improved my warbler identification skills a bit this spring and summer and that I really needed to work on sparrows next.

Reading through my blog lists I came across Birdchick's post titled "Learn Your Brown Birds". I need to do that. A sparrow workshop? In October in South Dakota? I immediately checked my work schedule. My weekend off! I clicked on the link. Doug Buri is putting on a three day intensive sparrow workshop on October 3, 4, and 5 in Milbank, South Dakota, about 180 miles east of the Twin Cities.
A combination of field work and classroom instruction, a limit of 20 participants with two very qualified instructors, a chance to see some of the original northern tallgrass prairie- I was sold. I quickly emailed Doug Buri to see if I could reserve a spot. Within five minutes I had a confirmation email from Doug. I grabbed my credit card and made hotel reservations for the weekend. It all just fell together.
In less than an hour all of the details were taken care of. So on October 2 I'll pack my car and hit the road for a weekend of sparrows.
Can't wait!
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25 comments:

Red said...

That will be awesome for you to share your soon to be new-found skills id-ing sparrows!

Jayne said...

Now THAT should be some intensive time when you are concentrating on sparrows only. Makes my head spin just thinking about it, but now we'll have our very own LBJ ID expert!!! :c) So glad it worked out for you Lynne.

Linda in Erie said...

Oh, boy that's great news! Those little brown birds are the hardest, especially juveniles. You are going to have so much fun learning.

RuthieJ said...

Good for you Lynne! You will have a great time for sure!

Richard said...

Great...a soon to be expert that I can ask my sparrow questions to. Have fun.

Richard said...

Are you even sure it's a sparrow. Kind of looks like a juv. Purple Finch. Heaven knows that small birds are my downfall.

Dog_geek said...

I'm enjoying your blog - you have such beautiful bird pictures, I'm so jealous!

KatDoc said...

Lynne: Oooohhh, yeah, SPARROWS! I luvs me the little brown birds! Wish I could go with on this trip with you.

Richard:

It's a sparrow - the bill is too small for a purple finch - and a "streaky sparrow" at that. I'm pretty sure it is a song sparrow - not enough yellow for a Lincoln's; the streaking and "stick pin" are lighter than I expect for a song, but if it is an immature ... and it is fall. Also, songs can vary a lot from one region to another. If you could see the wings and tail, that would help.

I love sparrows, but I struggle with them, too.

~Kathi

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, I do hope it is fun and you have a great time! It'll be here before you know it.

Kathiesbirds said...

You don't know how I wish I could join you! Wow! I am so jealous (but happy for you!) Sparrows are the bane of my existence. I just saw one this morning that I couldn't ID. You got some really nice shots of this little fellow here. I can't wait to hear what you learn there!

Mary said...

You go! Bring back some skills for the rest of us sparrow (spinch) lovers.

Linne, I don't have any sparrows this year...I wonder if it's weather related (too hot - too dry). Last year I had song, chipping sparrows. I'm wondering why they're gone.

Bird Girl said...

Well, I guess I haven't reached 'birding maturity' because I just don't want to learn brown birds - I want color - I want flashy - I want warblers and predators and owls and all the exciting stuff. Shame on me - I'll sit in the corner and meditate on how sparrows are GREAT birds too and worthy of my attention! ;-)
By the way - love your pictures!

Ruth said...

I can now ID a few sparrows, but juveniles are so confusing. Field, Savannah, Chipping and Song Sparrows are around all summer. And the "travelling through" White-crowned and White-throated sparrows stand out in the crowd. That's it for me! I have a number of pictures I cannot ID yet. Sounds like a great trip.

scienceguy288 said...

I hope you have a good time on your road trip.

possumlady said...

I had to laugh at Bird Girl's comments because I feel the same way (hanging my head in shame). I think it's because I have sooo many dang house sparrows that drive me crazy. Although I do admit I get excited when I see white throated sparrows on occasion. So maybe there's hope for me yet!

Love the second photo of the sparrow looking up to the sky (although it was probably looking for a bug).

Kathiesbirds said...

Lynne, I answered your question about camera settings in my Skywatch post, which you inspired. Come take a look!

nina said...

Oh, Lynne,
Good for you! I never realized SD would be that close to you.
I admire you for jumping in and tackling a subject you're not good at. I'm not that brave.
I want to be sitting next to you in WV!

Corey said...

Sounds like fun! Somebody once called them LBJ's when I was complaining about sparrows . . little brown jobs. I've gotten a touch more comfortable with them as my ear has improved (that's the key, I think). This one definitely looks like a juvenile Song Sparrow to me.

Carolyn H said...

Lynee: The photos are great! I'm a bit jealous of your upcoming sparrow trip. It sounds like a great time.

Carolyn H.

Q said...

Dear Lynne,
Good for you!! I also think, think, think about going on adventures and often I over think and never go. You will have fun, meet new bird people and learn about the darling Sparrows. I too am a Sparrow lover, sweet little birds. You might even see a few butterflies!
Looking forward to learning along with you.
Sherry

scienceguy288 said...

Ok, so I know that this is probably not the correct post to ask you about this, but oh well. I want to purchase a set of Merrells. Now, I personally wanted some ankle support, but the mid height ones seem to go really high and limit your movement. Any suggestions?

Eve said...

OH MAN Lynne!! You are so SMART!! I just know you are going to have a great time and will be an expert when you're finished!! Wish I could go with you!

Larry said...

I was just looking at a phot of a young Chipping Sparrow and was fooled by it.-I hadn't realized that they start out with streaking on their breasts.-We have sparrow workshops too-I also need to attend one.

Leedra said...

I have learned this summer the sparrows are REALLY hard for me to tell the difference. No matter which it is the photos are great. I have your blog to my blog list.

Leedra said...

That was suppose to say I have added your blog to my blog list.