March 10, 2007

Talk the walk

73 Savannah sparrow
74 Le Conte's sparrow
75 lapland longspur
76 Smith's longspur
(total on this date in 2006: 64)

MARCH 10, BRADFORD FARM, sunny, 40-55—On a classic March morning, windy and warmer every minute, Bradford's fields were filled with calling and singing killdeer, meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds. Our team moved as systematically as a harrier cruising for rodents, and with 15 people we had extra eyes, ears, and experience—plus walkie-talkies.

Though maybe not as impressive as three short-eared owls, two sparrow species and two longspurs (lifers for me) ended up making the day. The sparrows stayed down in a weedy field and we slowly encircled them for a look.

In birding slang these are LBBs, little brown birds: they tend to be brown, streaky, and sparrow-sized (see Audubon's Savannah sparrow above).

People I bird with aren't heavy on jargon or bird nicknames, thankfully. If I ever talk about IDing by jizz, pishing out LBBs, or chasing rare peeps, you have permission to confiscate my bins.


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