Wednesday 24 April 2013

Lark Sparrow!!

I'll make a post with the rest of the day's sightings sometime tomorrow, but I thought I would get the Lark Sparrow photos up now.

After checking the pier and then the harbour at Erieau, I was walking back to my car, cursing the cold weather, strong north winds, and rain. My first day of birding after taking care of a bunch of errands and job/house stuff, and this is what I was being greeted with!

Suddenly I noticed a sparrow with white edges to its tail flush, with a strange call as it flew up in the air and landed. That immediately snagged my interest, and a quick look in the bins revealed my suspicions - a Lark Sparrow!!

Lark Sparrow - Erieau, Ontario

Lark Sparrows usually occur about 5 or 6 times a year in Ontario and they have occasionally bred in the province. However they are a tough one to get and most years I don't see any. This was my second "self found" Lark Sparrow, after a bird I had on the Bruce Peninsula a few autumns ago.

After some quick looks at the bird, I carefully made my way back to the car without flushing it again. After texting some people and posting to Ontbirds, I grabbed my camera and took my first photos. The rain made it tricky and the bird was a bit skittish, but eventually I was able to hide behind a concrete block with a red boat resting on it. I snuck around the corner and rested my camera on the concrete (to prevent shake due to the strong winds) and took some better photos.

Lark Sparrow - Erieau, Ontario

Lark Sparrow - Erieau, Ontario

Steve Charbonneau, a Rondeau area birder came by to take a look at it. I called James Helmer, who is doing a big year and was in the area, and he saw it too. Perhaps half of southern Ontario's Lark Sparrows seem to hang around for a few days so there is a good bet it will be there in the morning.

Lark Sparrow - Erieau, Ontario
A great start to my Pelee trip!

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