Nelson’s sparrow


Susan
 

Thanks to Naomi’s sharp eyes, the Thursday group had quite a surprise. We started from Lions Park in Niskayuna and walked west. Just before the Ferry Road bridge, Naomi spotted an unusual looking sparrow. At  that point what we all noticed was a yellow orange wash across the top of the chest with very fine dark streaks and a clear, white belly.   We considered  Le Conte’s and Nelson’s, but no one had noticed the crown color, which turned out out to be a distinguishing feature. We weren’t able to see the side of their head which would have helped with identification. We dismissed Henslow’s because it did not have a flat head. After trying to relocate the bird for quite some time, we gave up and continued down the trail. On our walk back, I was able to relocate the bird in the same clump of reddish grasses, close to the path, where it has been seen before. When it first landed,  I saw a large gray nape and gray patch behind the eye separated  by a buffy-orange color. When it popped up again, everyone was able to see the dark, wide stripe on the crown and again the unusual coloring on the upper breast- a Nelson’s Sparrow!
We also had a fox sparrow, two Lincoln’s sparrows a blackpoll warbler, many yellow rumps and a palm warbler. All in all a great day.
Thanks, Naomi. 
Susan Beaudoin 

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