This afternoon at 4 pm, I was more than a little surprised to find a Vesper
Sparrow in the gravel parking lot just north of the Ledyard Bridge in
Norwich. The bird flushed as I drove in and obligingly perched in a box
elder ~40 feet away. My immediate impression was that it might be a
Chipping Sparrow, but binoculars revealed a white eye ring, streaking on
breast and flanks, indistinctly brown and whitish striped head, and
chestnut on bend of wing. I got the bird in my 30X spotting scope, at which
point it flew back down to the ground, eventually approaching within 15 ft.
I never did see the whitish outer tail feathers, but there was no doubt
about the bird's identity.
I called George Clark, who quickly showed up and confirmed the ID. With the
temperature hovering at ~30F and wind screaming at 30+ mph, I'm not sure
who was colder, we humans or the sparrow...
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055