Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mikey Found A Sparrow

Here are some photos of the CASSIN'S SPARROW from Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary's County, MD (below). HUGE Thanks to Mikey Lutmerding for finding this incredible STATE RECORD. And special thanks to Jane Kostenko, Marty Cribb, Tyler Bell, Mark Hoffman, George Jett, Jim Stasz, Joe Hanfman and Patty Craig, for keeping us all updated of this bird's appearances.Mikey originally posted this about his discovery on Sunday, September 26th: "Hi all,

I spent the morning at Point Lookout State Park, the definite highlight was flushing an unknown sparrow from near the point. I originally flushed the bird from the Bay side (as opposed to the river side) of the island of trees before the lighthouse. I slowly worked around towards it and flushed it into the grassy center of the loop road where it ran around under the boulders occasionally perching on them. I initially felt that it was a sparrow that I had not seen before, but unfortunately, talked myself into a strange plumage of a young Vesper that I was not familiar with. Some things bothered me about this, and I uploaded photos and solicited opinions. Matt Hafner and I talked about the bird and about what my initial feeling for the birds ID was. He and Marshall Iliff agreed that an Aimophilla sp. is involved. I managed to take many shots from a distance (which I have posted below) and feel that there are at least 2 shots that strongly argue for CASSIN'S SPARROW as opposed to Bachman's or Botteri's. The outer tail as viewed from underneath had a distinctive white border (see photo 5- Bachman's and Botteri's have an indistinct border) and the central tail feathers were barred (hard to see but evident in shot 10, I believe Bachman's and Botteri's tail is plain) which is something that jumped out at me in the field. Unfortunately the whole incident lasted a few minutes and the bird disappeared into the fenced off area around the lighthouse. I spent the next hour and a half walking the grassy area hoping it would return with no luck. I truly hope the bird sticks around!

Photos of the bird can be seen at- http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeycerw/

Comments welcomed."

Good Birding all.


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