Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 25, 2009

Song Sparrows

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, style — richditch @ 6:51 pm
Song Sparrow singing adult

Song Sparrow singing adult

I don’t have a lot of images to show for today’s time out looking and shooting. Most migrants have already passed through central AZ, and most of the wintering birds (like White-crowned Sparrow and Yellow-rumped Warbler) have departed. And the brutal heat of the AZ summer keeps creeping closer, so there’s not much time left to enjoy being outside locally.

But there are always Song Sparrows, like the two birds shown here today. This is a highly variable species over its very large range in North America, and the birds I find at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, look somewhat different from the ones I’d gotten used to in 24 years of birding in New Jersey. So, I get to enjoy them as both familiar friends and new birds at the same time.

The image on top is an adult singing from a favorite perch. This bird-on-a-stick composition isn’t my normal style, but it has its place in any portfolio. This natural perch is higher than I’d like for the shot, but the height is one of the reasons the sparrow chose it so who am I to ignore the bird when it is singing from it?

Song Sparrow juvenile

Song Sparrow juvenile

About 20 feet away from the treetop singer I also found this juvenile bird. At first glance I almost marked it down as a Brewer’s Sparrow based on the muted look to the face. But the gape (the pale yellow area where the upper and lower mandibles meet at the face) tells me this is a very young bird, which should rule out Brewer’s at this elevation and time of year.

This messy setting appeals to me a lot more than the boring blue sky of the top image. I like the mix of greens and tans, and all the textures of the various twigs. But I know my tastes differ a lot from the majority of viewers on this.

If anyone has a different ID for the second bird I’d like to hear what it is and why, so don’t be shy and add your thoughts a s comment.

Both images: Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus 2x, ISO 200, as metered, cropped to about 60% of the frame.

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1 Comment »

  1. In my neck of the woods, you can always count on the song sparrow to be there for you. I agree with you about the “messy” photos..it’s seems more authentic to the experience of birding and provides much needed context. Thanks for your posts.

    Comment by artistatexit0 — May 26, 2009 @ 8:06 pm


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