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Subject:Sparrow workshop - terrible weather; great results
From:Doug Buri <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Doug Buri <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 12 Oct 2009 07:10:53 -0500

With weather more like a Christmas bird count than early October, Bob Janssen and I were not sure what to expect for this weekend's Sparrow workshop held in Milbank, SD. Friday started with below freezing temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour. Saturday dawned with 2-3 inches of snow on the ground and more coming down. The first task was breaking out the ice scrappers to clear the windshields on our cars. Then the wind came up - gusts to 35 miles per hour making wind chills below zero................well, you get the idea.

Our expectations were low but the results were high. We saw 14 species of sparrows over the three day workshop.
  a.. Chipping Sparrow
  b.. Clay-colored Sparrow
  c.. Field Sparrow
  d.. Vesper Sparrow
  e.. Savannah Sparrow
  f.. LeConte's Sparrow
  g.. Fox Sparrow
  h.. Song Sparrow
  i.. Lincoln's Sparrow
  j.. Swamp Sparrow
  k.. White-throated Sparrow
  l.. White-crowned Sparrow
  m.. Harris' Sparrow
  n.. Dark-eyed Junco
One of the highlights was the LeConte's Sparrow seen on the first field trip Friday morning. With the rising sun behind all of us, the bird appeared, glowing bright and golden about 25 feet away and stayed long enough to be timed with a sun dial instead of a stopwatch. We saw several other LeConte's over the weekend but he was the best.

It proves that bad weather does not mean bad birding.

Doug Buri
Milbank, SD

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