Monday, October 11, 2010

Grasshopper Sparrow in Stratford

Late this morning our friend, and expert birder, Frank Mantlik and I were walking through Stratford's community gardens on Connors Lane. The Boothe Park Hawk Watch had proven fruitless, once again, as southwest winds stopped any raptor movement. Despite a light migration at best the night before, the garden was full of sparrows. We saw many Song and Swamp, a few Savannah, several White-crowned and a couple Lincoln's. We saw Palm and Nashville Warblers as well as House Wren and even a Bobolink. Eastern Phoebes flew about as I heard yet another Red-breasted Nuthatch in the pines back towards Bunnell High School.

Around 11:30, Frank saw a bird he thought might be a Field Sparrow flushed into a sapling along the back of the garden. Once we got our binoculars on it, we saw it was most definitely not - it was a Grasshopper Sparrow! We stared at it for a moment before raising our cameras to get some record photos. This rare sparrow species was a new town bird for both of us. It is difficult to see outside of large grasslands, and is a Connecticut endangered species. However, this area is fantastic for sparrows and other fall migrants. Frank has found some other great birds there before including a female Blue Grosbeak he spotted during the BioBlitz. Here are four photos I was able to snap off before it hopped back into the grass. We could not find it again, but it is there somewhere.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

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