A Sparrow Kind of Day

Today’s longshore flight occurred again under miserable conditions.  Dense cloud banks  cold winds, and chilling drizzle and rain was a staple of the day again.  It was near impossible to believe that this was going on with south winds.  No major flight happened in today’s mess, but another 2,748 birds were added to the season’s total nonetheless.

Two new birds for the tower site this season were Hermit Thrush and LeConte’s Sparrow.  The latter was located in the dune grasses behind the tower site.  With the LeConte’s, it was a 9 sparrow species day.  Some seed piles down the service drive from the tower are drawing many of these sparrows.  The tower site has been a good site this past week to see Vesper Sparrows too.  Vesper’s are typically a little rarer along the actual lakefront, but have been hanging out in cottonwoods near the counters.

Rounding out today’s highlights were 2 Merlin.  One particular Merlin seems to have learned of the above mentioned seed piles.  You can guess that millet is not his food choice.  A few juncos may not make it to Canada at this rate.  Lastly, another Long-eared Owl was found today in some recent Jack pines where others had been.  It’s hard to say that this was indeed a new bird, but from personal observations, this one seems slightly smaller with more white markings on it’s chest.  Many park visitors have had the opportunity to see Long-ears this spring.  Among them was a large group of high school environmental science students from Fort Wayne, IN today.    Below is a picture taken today by Mike Bourden.

Long-eared Owl near the Green Tower site, 4/12/13.  Photo courtesy Mike Bourden,
Long-eared Owl near the Green Tower site, 4/12/13. Photo courtesy Mike Bourden,

During a lull today, we snuck up to the continuing bird tower.  Construction has been difficult in the weather, but is slowly advancing, with the staircase now complete to the top deck.  Work is meticulous, as exact measurements are made from the center pole and each step is precisely cut at curving arcs.  But, when complete, the view will be fabulous.  Check out the photos below!

tower construction2
Top of new tower, 4/12/13

New Tower Staircase, 4/12/13
New Tower Staircase, 4/12/13

Today’s total highlights follow:

White-winged Scoter 2
Common Loon 25
Sandhill Crane 19
Caspian Tern 25
Long-eared Owl 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 10
Merlin 2
Barn Swallow 2
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 123
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4
Eastern Towhee 1
American Tree Sparrow 4
Chipping Sparrow 8
Field Sparrow 4
Vesper Sparrow 4
Le Conte’s Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 8
Dark-eyed Junco 87
Red-winged Blackbird 910
Common Grackle 1160


2 thoughts on “A Sparrow Kind of Day”

  1. I am not a bird watcher, but this blog has been very interesting and educational. I give you all a big kudo for the job you are doing. Can anyone go up the the towers? I would love to see the veiw from there. Keep up the good work. Jeannine

    1. Jeanine,
      Anyone can visit the bird counting site. It is at the top of the staircase to the park’s west lot. It is also where trail 3 starts. The new tower should be complete sometime this early summer.

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