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Vesper Sparrows

Iris Kilpatrick
 

Today I spent several hours at Barnett Ranch Preserve (located in Ramona off San Vicente Road) attempting to count the largest flock of Vesper Sparrows I’ve ever seen! They are mixed in with large flocks of Savannah and Lark Sparrows.  They are easy to pick out but hard to photograph in groups because of the vegetation they creep in and out of.  I spotted a group of three on my right and another group of three on my left at the same time so I saw six at one time but I’m sure the count is higher than that. I can usually count birds from taking photographs in succession but this was not possible due to the habitat. I did not make an eBird report because it’s a record number at that location for this time of year and I want the count to be verified and accurate.  So I’m putting this shout out to the group. 

After parking your car in the parking lot at Barnett Ranch, walk up Deviney Lane (the paved road) 0.2 miles to where it insects the Valley View Trail, a very wide dirt trail.  Do not hike any further!  At that intersection there is a closed pasture gate and a large rock pile in the pasture. The pasture is not part of the preserve. The sparrows forage along Deviney Lane and often land on the barbed wire fencing, the fence posts or on the rock pile where they are easy to photograph.  I got great photos. Counting them is another matter entirely.

Later I walked the entire loop (the Rattlesnake trail) looking for the male and female Harrier that hunt in the meadows there and found both of them.  A few days ago I came upon a small group of California Quail drinking at the pond.

Iris Kilpatrick
Ramona, CA


Jim Roberts GMAIL
 

I visited the Barnett Ranch Preserve at 1:30 PM today (1/18/20) and found only 2 sparrows in the area described by Iris.  Fortunately, they were both VESPER SPARROWS (outer white tail feathers and white eye-rings).

 

Earlier in the day the HARRIS’S HAWK was seen and heard along Montecito Way, north of Montecito Road (Ramona).

 

                                         Jim Roberts

                                      University City

 

From: SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io <SanDiegoRegionBirding@groups.io> On Behalf Of Iris Kilpatrick
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 6:11 PM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding <sandiegoregionbirding@groups.io>
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Vesper Sparrows

 

Today I spent several hours at Barnett Ranch Preserve (located in Ramona off San Vicente Road) attempting to count the largest flock of Vesper Sparrows I’ve ever seen! They are mixed in with large flocks of Savannah and Lark Sparrows.  They are easy to pick out but hard to photograph in groups because of the vegetation they creep in and out of.  I spotted a group of three on my right and another group of three on my left at the same time so I saw six at one time but I’m sure the count is higher than that. I can usually count birds from taking photographs in succession but this was not possible due to the habitat. I did not make an eBird report because it’s a record number at that location for this time of year and I want the count to be verified and accurate.  So I’m putting this shout out to the group. 

After parking your car in the parking lot at Barnett Ranch, walk up Deviney Lane (the paved road) 0.2 miles to where it insects the Valley View Trail, a very wide dirt trail.  Do not hike any further!  At that intersection there is a closed pasture gate and a large rock pile in the pasture. The pasture is not part of the preserve. The sparrows forage along Deviney Lane and often land on the barbed wire fencing, the fence posts or on the rock pile where they are easy to photograph.  I got great photos. Counting them is another matter entirely.

Later I walked the entire loop (the Rattlesnake trail) looking for the male and female Harrier that hunt in the meadows there and found both of them.  A few days ago I came upon a small group of California Quail drinking at the pond.

Iris Kilpatrick
Ramona, CA