For the past few days Ralph Eldridge has been getting very brief glimpses of an unfamiliar sparrow near his St. George feeders that made him suspicious the bird might have been a first-fall HARRIS’S SPARROW. The sparrow was very flighty and easily disturbed by the almost-constant squabbling of a flock of hungry starlings that persist at his hanging feeders.
After we finished the Lepreau Christmas Count this afternoon, Lark Doyle, Janet Kempster, Melinda Foster and I paid a visit to Ralph’s St. George yard at the end of Clinch Street. We arrived at about 4 PM and around 4:30 got pretty good looks and some photos of Ralph’s bird. As he suspected, it is indeed a HARRIS’S SPARROW. Congratulations Ralph, on hosting yet another great bird!
There was also a Baltimore Oriole, a White-Breasted Nuthatch and both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.
The sparrow stayed in the Japanese Knotweed on the top of the hillside near the feeders but didn’t visit the feeders while we were there.
I didn't get photos of the bird myself, but others in the group did.
I was there around 10:30 am - 11:15 am this morning and gots some pics of the female oriole ripping apart some fruit, and the Harris' sparrow was in some back tree, but when i got camera up to take a pic it took flight, of course :)!
There were two Orioles around, then one disappeared. The one which stayed was a young male and it wouldn't touch fruit.
So it looks like the female that went missing may have returned, or else this is the 3rd Oriole to show up at the feeders within a week.
I went back late this afternoon, and stayed from 3:45 p.m. to 4:35 pm and the female oriole was there again at that time. After sundown I went and sat in my car and watched for a bit, and I actually thought I was seeing double with the oriole, but just shrugged it off, but what I saw was always a female. There was also 4 female Northern Cardinals and 1 male foraging on the ground. There was no sign of the Harris's Sparrow to my knowledge, as I am only going by the photos by Lark, and in my Bird Guide.
Glad to hear that you had a good day on DI, Karen.
The Harris's has been around long enough, and in tough enough weather that it might stay the winter.
Tree Sparrows seem to do well there and the Golden Crowned Sparrow stayed from December, well into May and completed a full molt.
I am mildly surprised that an Oriole is still around. I never have them stay more than a few days, even in the summer/fall with lots of food out for them.