April 4, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Two life birds in one day!!??

I spent another afternoon at the Wildlife Center of Virginia today, along with fellow Augusta Bird Club member Elaine Carwile, helping in the rehabilitation of two Red-tailed hawks. The first one flew like a champion, and aside from a few missing tail feathers, is almost ready to return to the wild. The second one, which was only admitted a few weeks ago, was very nervous and reluctant to fly very much. Unlike last week, this flight practice session was inside a specially-built cage that is about 50 feet long and 15 feet high.

Afterwards, Elaine persuaded me to join her in a quick trip to a local pond where interesting species are often spotted. Before long we spotted a Greater yellowlegs and seven or so Common snipes. Finally, we headed to a secret location (!) where a Great horned owl nest has been reported, and sure enough we soon saw an adult sitting next to a fluffy white nestling owl. It was a wonderful, close-up view of a life bird!

Henslow's Sparrow And, if that wasn't enough birding excitement for one day, while relaxing in my sofa late this afternoon, I also noticed a small, slightly different-looking sparrow skulking in the weeds next to our back patio. The head looked a lot like a Song sparrow, while the heavy dark streaks and ruddy color in the wings reminded me of a Swamp sparrow. The breast was pale with thin streaks, not like a Song sparrow. I am virtually certain that it is yet another life bird for me, making two in one day. All you birding experts out there please take a close look before you click on the blank space in the last line of today's list below to see what I think it is.