Sunday, March 31, 2013


all shots taken with 150 -500 mm Sigma Tele

I have been attempting to learn to identify the various small birds I see daily.  I've got the wading birds and ducks down pretty well, but the tiny warblers, sparrows and finches are difficult.  To be more precise - sparrows are driving me totally nuts.  Most sparrows are so similar that identification is more difficult.  I have procured the most prestigious bird field guides and I am still having difficulty.  I attempted to photograph some sparrows today for later ID purposes.  I've been able to identify only one.  The other two are so similar to other illustrations in the guides that I am at a loss.  I will post all of them here on this entry and promise to identify them in the near future.  If any readers know the Id's - please leave a message in the comments section at the end of this blog.  I'm not giving up on sparrow identification.  I know what a swamp sparrow, white throated sparrow and white crowned sparrow looks like and that's the extent of my sparrow knowledge.  I'm not even sure what a common house sparrow is anymore.  I have posted extensively sparrow shots below in my further attempts to totally bore you to death.  First it was bald eagles and then turkeys.  Canada Geese are coming on strong as a third over posted bird.  Now, the diminutive, little sparrow.  In error already.  I thought the little bird below was a sparrow.  It's a carolina wren.  Man!
This is a terrorist carolina wren known for flying directly into camera lenses and taking out the sensitive light sensor of the camera rendering the camera useless.  Also known as the kamikaze carolina wren.

All the shots above are of the carolina wren.   It has a buff colored breast and the white stripe behind its eye that continues to the back of the head.  Most sparrows have a marking behind, above or below the eye in various shades of gray, brown or buff.  I mistook the Carolina wren for a sparrow.   Like I said - identification is tough.   

The bird above and below is a white throated sparrow.  His markings are unique to him.  He's a really pretty bird when compared to most sparrows.  Note the white plumage on his throat in the shot directly below:

The next sparrow has me baffled also.  I looked at the chipping sparrow and its a close matchup, but I doubt that is the proper Id.  

He doesn't' have any white circle around the eyes, nor does he have the stripe down the center of his crown.  There is no patch of white on his breast but, he has the barred striping that starts fading on his breast and sweeps back to his sides.  So do other sparrow species.  ARRGGG!  Also - just had this little guy identified.  He is a song sparrow.  I knew that.  Really I did.  I was testing everyone.

The two birds below need no introduction:

And, last but not least is our old favorite - the turkey.

I've probably succeeded in totally boring you once again.  I hope not.  This is sort of like a radio.  Radios have an off button.  Computers can scroll through the boring stuff.  Birds are very interesting to me and I can get carried away sometimes.  I promise to get the sparrows identified very soon.  I've sent off an express email to the best birder in Tennessee and I know she will nail it down.  
I'll be back on the Holston River in the morning and I hope to see some beaver or otter.  I promise not to photograph too many Canada Geese until they have their chicks.  Soon we'll be looking at the geese, merganser, wood duck, green and blue wing teal ducks and their babies.  You'll love that I'm sure. Otter and beaver babies should be prone to be photographed also.   Something tells me there will be a smattering of wild turkey babies in there too.  Thanks for keeping tabs on me.  I appreciate you.