This week’s photo, taken February 3, 2014 at Crescent Lake Wildlife Area, south of Monroe, WA, features a SPOTTED TOWHEE, one of several members of the sparrow family present that day.
When I arrive at Crescent Lake (a location known for its variety of sparrows in winter), I approach a birder in the parking lot who is finishing her morning of bird-watching. I ask how the birding is, and she responds, “The sparrows are really skittish, and it’s difficult to keep them in your binoculars.”
On that optimistic note, I press forward. Within a few minutes, I’m at the spot where the sparrows are known to hang out. About a dozen sparrows are perched on branches out in the open, sunning themselves and relaxing. Most of the birds are sitting perfectly still, as if they are participants in a mid-day meditation. These sparrows are definitely not skittish. On one branch, a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW perch together, each facing the warm rays of the sun. Other sparrows in the vicinity include DARK-EYED JUNCOS, SPOTTED TOWHEES and SONG SPARROWS.
Sometimes, when a situation appears less than ideal, if we make the decision to stick around, conditions just might improve. It often helps to gather information and feedback from other birders, but it also helps to get out there in the field and see for ourselves.