Now that the fall sparrows are all but gone, I’ve decided to pay tribute to them. Although I wasn’t lucky enough to photograph some less common species that made the front pages of the local list-serve, one or two which I even managed to see, I had some cooperative models nonetheless, and they’re all compelling to me in their subtle variety.
And for me, anyway, I need a break from the evening news.
I hope you are all safe and secure, wherever you are, as storms seem to be raging across the planet.
As you might notice from the locations, the sparrows were plentiful in the Chicago lakefront parks and also in the marsh area of McGinnis Slough, a Cook County suburban forest preserve.
When I first photographed the Clay-Colored above, it was such a cloudy, or as my mother used to say, “glismal” day that I thought perhaps he was a Chipping Sparrow. Imagine my delight upon developing the image to discover he was a Clay-Colored Sparrow! They are a bit similar but Clay-Colored are rather more unusual and I haven’t seen one in a while. The grayness of the day certainly contributes to his clay color!
As common as Song Sparrows are when they breed here, they seem less so in migration.
So many White-Throated Sparrows come through, often you can hear one or two singing, although usually they’re first-year tryouts.
I like pictures that sometimes show just enough of the bird for identification…
Sometimes that’s all a bird’s going to show you.
Or in Daley, there are lots of sparrows in the grass but all too often the grass overshadows them.
Fox Sparrows are another favorite of mine. There are four subspecies in North America; we get the red guys.
There’s more plumage variation among Savannah Sparrows.
And even White-Throated Sparrows have two subspecies that intermingle. The bird above is the tan-striped variation, the earlier one is the white-striped.
And then of course there are the House Sparrows. They aren’t really sparrows, they’re weaver finches. But don’t tell them that: they like to think they pass for sparrows and the city HOSPs, at least, don’t mingle with the other finches.
Great series Lisa! 🙂
Thanks so much, H.J.!
You certainly know the sparrows. I have the hardest time trying to ID them I need lessons from you. :-). Great photos, too, Lisa. 🙂
Thanks, Bob! I know the Juncos, White-Throated and White-Crowned only because they come through the lakefront in the hundreds, and then anything else becomes a matter of a process of elimination. I’ve taken some classes too but I always, always pull out the field guides, especially in the fall.