Something old: Me
Something New: Maybe
Something Borrowed: Four Tim O’Brien CDs from birding buddies Karin and Pat
Something Blue: My trusty Saturn
Okay, in the Something New spot above I had intended to write, LeConte’s Sparrow. Now that I’ve given away the end of this story, if you want to see a picture of LeConte’s Sparrow, open your dictionary to the word nemesis, I’m sure its picture is there.
I’ve chased the bird before, even as far north as Winnepeg, Manitoba, once. The little, skulky, orange-colored sparrow and I have yet to cross paths. I thought today might be the day, however. The state bird hot line has been all abuzz with daily reports this past week of a LeConte’s on the nearby Wake Robin Trail in Mentor Marsh, less than an hour from home. It’s a rare bird in these parts.
I’ve been otherwise busy with another project, however, Susan convinced me that I needed some fresh air and what better way to get some much-needed exercise than by chasing after a bird that rarely flies more than 12 inches above the ground; or so it seems to me.
I arrived at the designated spot at the crack of nine this morning; birders were in place as I expected they would be. The bird, however, was yet to be seen, even by the fellow, Jerry Talkington, who has been tracking the bird for the past few days. Not a good sign.
Jerry and I walked the trail a bit and he told me, almost down to the blade of grass, where the bird had been seen. Hmmmm. The best look I had was a flash of orange about 50 yards away. Could have been LeConte’s or it could have been a Nelson’s Sparrow, also seen in this spot during the past few days.
It was a great day for birding so I’m not complaining. I logged 25 species for the day. To paraphrase John Lennon: If you can’t find the bird you want, want the bird you find. I talked with a few birders who had driven up from Cincinnati and Dayton who were not as generous. But, if you’re going to get into this game, the first thing you have to realize is that birds have wings and they don’t read the rare-bird alert traffic on the Web.
Speaking of new birders, I was pleased to see a good number of beginners among the more experienced birders along the trail. One woman in particular impressed me with her enthusiasm. She was carrying (I should say lugging) binoculars better used for astronomy than birding. They had to be 20x60s and must have weighed 10 pounds.
She said, “Are there any birds in this place other than sparrows?”
Me: “Sparrows are what it’s all about, today.”
Her: “We were hoping to see some eagles. Seen any eagles?”
What's not to like about a White-throated Sparrow?