Monday, February 3, 2014

More Sage Sparrows

Hi everyone,

Today on February 3rd, 2014, Dominic Sherony and I decided to investigate further into the Bell's Sparrow numbers at the Thrasher Spot where I had the four on February 1st, 2014.  We wanted to see how many we could find as well as study the differences between the Sagebrush and Bell's Sparrows.

After starting at 7:30 in the morning and spending 3.5 hours at the Thrasher Spot, we came away successful, and we spent most of our time within the area of where I covered on February 1st.  Today, we came away with approximately 15 BELL'S SPARROWS in this area.  We were rather shocked at the numbers, but these sparrows all came with careful study and observation.  They were well spread out throughout the area, and really favored the noticeable wash that runs north/south through this area.  In means of the wash, they stuck very close to it, and would even perch up very high in the mesquites in the wash.  They were also often found in the creosote bushes closeby to the wash.  In the early morning, the Bell's Sparrows were very skittish, and hard to get close to for the photos we desired.  However, later in the morning from approximately 10:30 through 11 A.M., they sparrows were a little more active and cooperative for viewing.  Most of these sparrows observed were very well marked Bell's Sparrows, and there were some that were confusing.  There were a few Sagebrush Sparrows in this immediate area, but they seemed to be oddly outnumbered by Bell's Sparrows.  If one birds this immediate area, it is quite different in habitat as I mentioned on my post from the 1st.  The creosotes are more condensed, and there are tall lines of trees, which the Bell's Sparrow really seems to like these patches were the mesquite wash and creosote habitat meet.

Bell's Sparrows (usually skittish and pretty distant)

Here is one that seems a little confusing.  Bell's or Sagebrush?

When we went to the south side of the Thrasher Spot on the south side of Salome Highway, we concentrated on looking for Sagebrush Sparrow.  These sparrows weren't as numerous as in most of my previous visits, but we did find a nice clump that held 10-15 SAGEBRUSH SPARROWS.  Also seen were several SAGE THRASHERS, a BENDIRE'S THRASHER, and a heard only LE CONTE'S THRASHER.
Bell's Sparrow "preference?"

"More than often" Sagebrush Sparrow "preference?"

A good approach to searching for the Bell's Sparrows if interested is by parking on the north side of Baseline Road just before it meets up with Salome Highway.  There is a convenient pull off here.  Once parking, follow the dirt path to the west for a rather short distance.  A wash lined with mesquites will be noticeable from this point.  Follow the wash and bird the immediate areas near the wash, and this is where most of these Bell's Sparrows were present.

Another overview map of general Bell's Sparrow locations

These two Sage Sparrow species have certainly been fun to search for so far!

1 comment:

  1. It seems you are from quite a different area than I am but sparrows continue to challenge id skills wherever you go. Nice photos b the way!