After I got home from tutoring this morning I made my way to the window on the far side of the house Outside that window I can see my bird feeders (all eight of them). Saturday and Sunday are my Project Feederwatch days so I make sure to spend a few minutes each day observing the feeders and writing down the species I see. I always keep my camera nearby so that I can photograph any new or exciting species that visit the yard.
As I settled in to spend a few minutes relaxing and watching my feeders something caught my eye. Under the feeders, mixed in with a flock of blackbirds (grackles, starlings, and red-winged blackbirds), I caught sight of something different. Something the color of a burnt orange crayon and about the size of a female cardinal. It hopped around, in between the blackbirds, and I suddenly realized what it was.
I turned to grab my camera and it wasn’t there! Ahh! That’s right, I had taken it on the field excursion yesterday. It must still be in my field bag!
I flew out of the room, rushing past Chris. “New bird! Need the camera!” I explained. He didn’t even blink. He’s pretty used to my bird antics at this point.
I grabbed the camera and rushed back to the room. No! The bird was gone! I scanned the tree line and tried to see into the bushes. Nothing. Arg!
I was pretty sure I knew what I had seen but without a photo to get a closer look I felt guilty counting it and adding it to my Project Feederwatch data. With a sigh, I packed up the camera and headed out to run errands with Chris.
We returned about an hour later and I figured I’d give it one more go. Not expecting to see the bird again, I sat down and started to count the juncos flitting about the feeders.
Then I saw it. Red. Orange. Grey. It was back! I grabbed my camera and began clicking away through the window. The bird hopped around, cracking sunflower seeds and safflower seeds, ignoring the other birds doing the same. After taking a lot of pictures I grabbed my phone and opened up the Merlin app. After inputting the size, color, and location of the bird I was vindicated. My rare sighting was confirmed!
Meet the fox sparrow. A first of the year, a first in the yard, and a lifer for me!