Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

February 3, 2011

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Filed under: behavior, Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 8:34 am
Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

I mentioned this Lincoln’s Sparrow at the Gilbert Water Ranch in a recent post, so figured I’d show the results of my aborted session with this unusually cooperative bird. In that post I commented

A guy with a spotting scope, binoculars, and field guide insisted on standing right behind us as we sat on the ground taking close photos. That happens a lot on busy days at the Water Ranch and normally it isn’t a problem as the birder keeps quiet and then moves on, but this guy insisted on dragging us into a discussion of Ringed Turtle Dove versus Eurasian Collared Dove field marks while he looked at both across the pond. I don’t mind talking birds or photography with anyone who shares common interests with me, but not when I’ve got a Lincoln’s Sparrow teasing me 10 feet away. I managed a couple of shots of this normally very shy species but not what I could have gotten given more time. Unfortunately the bird went back into hiding because of the lummox with dove on the brain.

So, please don’t bother photographers who have been patiently sitting for a couple of hours getting the birds accustomed to their presence. If you want to jawbone wait until they’ve finished and are not actively engaged in photography of spooky subjects.

Lincoln’s Sparrow is a shy species most of the time, and I recall what a treat it was to catch a glimpse of one in my days birding in New Jersey. Here in AZ they are more common, but even here they don’t spent much time out where they are easy to see.

After sitting quietly by the side of pond 5 at the Water Ranch for a couple of hours working the water birds the sparrows and towhees kept feeding closer to us. I took the occasional shot of the abundant white-crowns, but nothing to get me excited given the better shots I knew I already had in my files. But when I noticed this Lincoln’s Sparrow join the other sparrows I repositioned my tripod to make it easier to work to the side where the sparrows were feeding.

This bird spent most of its time buried deep in a tangle with little more than the head in view, but I stuck with it hoping for a brief chance to get a clean image. That finally happened when it hoped up on this small mound and paused long enough for me to get a couple of frames.

And then “dove guy” butted in and the bird withdrew.

Here’s the other frame I managed to get (basically just a small head turn makes it different):

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

January 28, 2011 9:31 am, Nikon D200, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/500th second at f/8, 78% of frame.

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