Sparrows in numbers

Richard Bradus

Hi all

They're back! 

I had planned to take a look around the Simonds Loop this morning hoping that the Rock Wren or some other notable might still be about, but I never quite got there. Entering the Presidio from the Lyon St./Broadway gate, as I slowly descended through the woodland I walked right into a sparrow-palooza. First a couple of Golden-crowns, then White-crowns, more of both, Juncos (lots and lots of them), Towhee (at least six - the most I've ever seen in one place), a few Fox and Song, then just one swirling cavalcade of all of them, even a White-throated. Our winter regulars are arriving and, from the behavior I saw, many of them are famished and jumpy, feeding like crazy and chasing each other about for the spoils - and unfortunately skittish as well, scattering every time I took a step closer.

Also of some interest: a Creeper that briefly flew down and bathed in a small puddle from dripping fog below one of the pines - the first time I've ever seen a creeper on the ground. And a ?late Swainson's Thrush that flew out of the brush and posed nicely, but briefly, on a fallen log. Few Warblers (just one Yellow and three Townsend's) but Pygmy Nuthatches all over, a couple of early Kinglets and, following faint high pitched calls, a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings eating berries from trees just south of the back of the Simonds Loop houses. Looked like a good amount of activity around Logan's neighborhood (most of the above plus a bunch of Robins, Finches and the like) but I didn't venture any further.

Having chased a number of the "rarities" all of you have been so good at finding and reporting over the past couple of weeks (thank you!), it was nice to just stand and gawk at the spectacle of more typical local birds in good numbers and spirits. Don't overlook the pleasures of the common birds in our midst - they are endlessly entertaining and sometimes surprising. Especially in this stressful time, they are a balm for our souls.


Richard Bradus
San Francisco