Images were prepared using screen settings of 1024x768, and are
best viewed with those settings. As usual, the name of the bird can be seen by placing the cursor over the photo.
Let us now praise sparrows who, in all their
drabness, swarm into the southern U.S. by the millions in winter - a
bird to fit the season. Sparrows are beloved only by the die-hard birder who
enjoys the challenge of
identifying birds by subtle clues.
you are so inclined, and need to photograph sparrows as well, it would
be hard to beat central Texas. At nature ranches there, one can, for a
price, sit in a blind and photograph at leisure. Where else will as many as
seven species of sparrows appear in the viewfinder?
Nature Ranch, just north of Junction, Texas.
After a night in a motel, I enjoy a tasty sausage biscuit and coffee at
McDonald's in the pre-dawn darkness. Then it's off to the ranch.
The last stretch is dirt road; 8 cottontail rabbits dash across the
before I meet Kevin Kothmann, who drives me to the blind in his pickup.
we have bird seed, perches, and water. This is easy,
bird-on-a-stick photography. Just relax and enjoy the birdsong and fresh
breeze. Press the shutter button when a smartly dressed Lark
Sparrow lands on a limb that is, in fact, attached to the arm of my
spare tripod. Alan Murphy would be proud of me.
of course I didn't drive 520 miles just for sparrows. Alongside
them we have, recently arrived from Mexico, 3 male and one pretty green
female Painted Bunting. Amid the sparrows, their colors seem
especially showy. They eagerly join sparrows, Brown-headed
Cowbirds, House Finches, Northern Cardinals and the like at the seed
feast and water fixture. If you do a search for Kimble County
www.ebird.com, you'll find the complete tally of all 20 species that
came to the Red Creek blind.
Sparrow is a faithful attendee, dining on bird seed and also enjoying a
bath in the water fixture. We get them in the southwestern corner
of Oklahoma, but they're mostly found in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
And what's with the oversized legs and feet?