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Monday, July 19, 2010

Vesper Sparrow, Birding Maine 2

Vesper Sparrow, you can see a hint of the rufous shoulder patch, not often visible.

The dark streak coming down off the bill is called the malar streak

Note the distinctive white outer tail feathers, one of the clues to this species

A beautiful bird we saw at while birding at Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area was the Vesper Sparrow. Vespers were common here, because they nest in grassland habitat. I was able to get some nice photographs of them from many angles. One of the key clues to their identification is the white outer tail feathers and white eye-ring (less obvious on these worn birds) on this largish sparrow with streaked breast and back. Vespers are named for their twilight singing (although they're not the only bird that does this.)
Sparrows are beautiful and challenging to identify. You need to get into subtlety, since most sparrows are shades of brown, and appreciate how wonderful they blend with their environments. We enjoy that.
I took the photos with my Canon 1D Mark IV camera, my 500 mm lens and a 2x teleconverter, thus I had the equivalent of a 1000 mm lens, which helps to get closer shots of these birds.


Anonymous said...

I have been trying to identify some of the sparrows I see everyday, here in a forests' edge and tree line near conservation area in Newmarket, NH. I recently started to photograph them in order to get something to help me do the identification with.

Beautiful photos. You are an inspiration to one trying hard to see the minuscule differences in these birds.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful shots.I have struggled long and hard to get an almost good enough picture of these guys.

Dan Huber said...

Great photos of the Vesper. I have had a few looks myself but not so closeup.

Lillian Stokes said...

I took the photos with my Canon 1D Mark 1V camera and a 500 mm lens with a 2x teleconverter.

ILBirder said...

Great shots! It's such a hard bird to usually get great photos of, at least in my experience. They are always in that barren field, singing away on that one twig that seems surrounded by heat shimmer. Excellent post