The First time I visited Highland County to search for the Henslow’s Sparrows a week or so ago I couldn’t have been more pleased with the number and ease which the sparrows could be observed. Walking along this one lane country road with Henslow’s singing from both sides of you was an experience I’ve not felt since they breed at Voice of America Park a long time ago. Once you tune your hearing for their small “hic-cup” song the easier it is to locate them. And wanting to experience that again, this last Wednesday I made my way back to Highland County, and this time i was going later in the day so the sun would be more to my advantage as I intended to shoot more pictures.
If you compare the photos from my last blog entry, and these new photos you’ll notice the difference as the sun was higher in the sky then in my face. Needless to say I had a ball wandering the edge of these fields creeping up on these amazing birds.
One of the most challenging species of birds to identify by both beginner and expert alike are the Sparrows. For so many birders they’re no more than little brown birds that if you can’t identify right off or get a good view of, they just pass it by without making any kind of effort. I myself have been guilty of this in the past, but over the years I’ve grown to love these birds and to put more effort into this class of birds more than others. As a matter of fact one of my favorite field guides concerning Sparrows is “The Sparrows of the United States and Canada”, By James D. Rising and David D. Beadle.
According to the latest version of the Sibley App there are 38 Old and New World Sparrow species in North America. For myself, I have 26 on my current life list. And with the return of summer I always look forward to the return of a few of Sparrows we can find on the rural back country road of Ohio. Namely the Grasshopper and Henslow Sparrows.
Tracking down these birds took my last Friday to rural Highland County just south of Rocky Fork State Park. On a quite 1 lane country road I wandered as Henslow Sparrows sang from both sides of the road.
Ohio State University has a airport northwest of downtown Columbus close to the city of Dublin. Adjacent to the airport, and owned by the university, sits the Ohio State Equine Center. For the past several years Upland Sandpipers have called this home and raised their chicks in the grassy pastures. For myself this isn’t a life bird to add to my list. That moment came years ago during the spring migration close to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. It was a distant view even through my spotting scope as it foraged in a unplowed field. I did take a very poor quality photo, but the heat shimmer really distorted the final outcome.
So this last Monday Off I drove for the 90 minute drive to see if I could maybe get a better view and hopefully a decent photograph.
After arriving it took me about 20 to 30 minutes to locate not just one, but both Upland Sandpipers perched on top of the wooden fence posts. By this time the sun was full in the sky and the heat shimmer started. I moved around several times trying to get in a good location for any kind of photograph. However the birds really kept their distance, and after getting home and going over what pictures I had of them, this was probably the best one.