Monday, May 03, 2010

Flashback to Texas Sparrow School for an eBird request

So I got in late tonight after a hard day pounding the pavement in my sales job, and I'd received an email from an eBird volunteer -- how exciting!

First, a little backstory: Back in late January/early February, my sister Mary and I went to the Rio Grande Valley and birded at Estero Llano Grande State Park near Weslaco. What a beautiful place! If you're ever down there, don't miss this amazing place! Anyway, I had seen many sparrows (and non-sparrows which I mistook for sparrows), so I put together a post subtitled "Sparrow School" and posted a bunch of photos of sparrow-like birds I couldn't ID for sure.

If you read the comments on that post, you'll find that the second bird was ID'd as a Song Sparrow by a birder I highly respect, John from A DC Birding Blog. Another birder whose ID skills are top-notch is Hap in New Hope (who doesn't have a blog, dangit!), and he thought the bird was a Lincoln's Sparrow. Here again are the photos, for reference:

So--John argued mightily for Song Sparrow, and though it looked awfully gray and didn't seem to have a hatpin spot on the breast, I figured, hey, what the hell do I know?!

Now, as you know, I recently started entering my birding trip lists into eBird, and I thought it would be a good idea to go back and enter all my lists from 2010. When I entered my Estero Llano list, however, I had to add Song Sparrow as a "rare species." Turns out that the Rio Grande Valley is a bit farther south than the Songies like to go, even in winter.

So a volunteer, Mary Gustafson, requested that I send her the photos (I made a note regarding the "rare species" that I'd taken photos and that John had confirmed Song.

I'll let you know what happens. In the meantime, it's kinda funny to me that a Song Sparrow, such a freakin' common bird up here in PA, is causing a bit of a kerfuffle down south.


John said...

Interesting. I didn't realize Song Sparrow's were unusual down there. Did you get a response?

dguzman said...

Not yet, John. I sent the three photos I got, and I asked her to let me know what they decide.

Murr Brewster said...

As a brand-new birder, I'm dismayed that you could have any kerfuffle with a well-photographed bird. What chance is there I'll ever ID anything?

dguzman said...

Murr--oh dear, most of the time I photograph something in the hope that John and Hap from New Hope will ID it for me!