Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sparrows at Lord Stirling Park

Yesterday, I visited Lord Stirling Park in Somerset County in the hopes of finding some sparrows. The park has a mix of woodland and meadow habitats in addition to the swamp that the area is known for. I have had some luck with sparrows there in past autumns, such as the Lincoln's Sparrow I found in 2007.

The morning started out slow, with some flocks of White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos but not much else. As I continued around the trails, I found a few Eastern Bluebirds. One of the bluebirds flew up to a nesting box, clung to the front of the box, and stuck its head through the entrance hole as if it were feeding a nestling or checking out the cavity. Soon it was joined by a second bluebird, and both birds perched on top of the box. I am not sure exactly what it was doing. It seems too late for nestlings, so perhaps it found a source of invertebrates, maybe a spider web or a mass of insects seeking a sheltered place to spend the winter.

When I got to the farthest meadow, near the west observation platform, I finally found some bigger sparrow flocks, though most of the birds were either White-throated Sparrows or Dark-eyed Juncos. A few flocks included Swamp Sparrows and Song Sparrows. As I rounded the south end of the main pond on my way back to the parking lot, I enjoyed a nice view of a Fox Sparrow, a highlight on almost any birding trip.