This week’s photo, taken June 1, 2013 at the Union Bay Natural Area (Montlake Fill) in Seattle, WA, features a CHIPPING SPARROW.
On the first day of June of this year, I enjoy a very productive morning of birding at the Fill. I find two new species for the year: a pair of REDHEADS and a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. I also get great looks at a RED CROSSBILL, a bird I never grow tired of seeing. Toward the end of my walk, I photograph a CHIPPING SPARROW, just before it disappears into the brush. Afterwards, I give little thought to that sparrow, because I used to see plenty of Chipping Sparrows when I lived in San Diego. So, I’m quite surprised the next day when I learn that a Chipping Sparrow hadn’t been reported at the Montlake Fill in nearly two years.
Connie Sidles has birded the Fill since 1986. She surveys the bird life there nearly every day, and when she heard about my Chipping Sparrow sighting, she asked if she could include my photo in her latest book about the Fill. The “Fill of Joy” is a lovely collection of well-written essays about life’s lessons found in nature, and the book contains just the right amount of photographs and illustrations to complement the writing. My favorite image, of course, is the photo of a Chipping Sparrow on page 231. The “Fill of Joy” is now available at: http://www.constancypress.com/store/
As I enter my second year of residence in the Northwest, I’m developing a better understanding of what birds are common and what birds are not so common here in Washington state. Although it can take a long time to acquire that perspective, little by little, I am chipping away.