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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nelson's Search Update

Well, several more days of searching (including 2 trips to Hofma Preserve and 2 more to Roselle Park) for our elusive visitor have come up empty-handed, although I still think we're getting hotter. To date, we have now located at least 4, probably 5 separate individual Le Conte's Sparrows, a species which I'd never seen as a migrant in my life prior to this fall's targeted search. Here is the latest individual, a particularly confiding bird, from Roselle Park this morning:With all the reports of Nelson's Sparrows from surrounding states in the last 10 days, I thought it would be interesting to plot a map of those sightings. (Format = # individuals, date)I really don't think it's possible that a bird found this regularly this close to Michigan is truly a vagrant-only in our state. It may indeed be rarer here than in WI, IL, OH, ON, etc., but I cannot believe that it just isn't here right now. I am starting to think that we may not have exactly comparable habitats (for example, we lack a dredge spoil jutting out into Lk Michigan such the Milwaukee Coast Guard Impoundment, and places with thick, relatively homogeneous smartweed patches such as Nine Springs, Milwaukee), but this may mean we just need to figure out what our best habitats are. With the end of the migration window rapidly approaching, I am hoping for paydirt in the next week. The cold weather certainly can't hurt!


Phil said...

I'm a big fan, and read your blog fairly regularly. I've followed but missed some of you earlier leads (bl-thr. gray & king eider). I've had better luck with the Le Conte's here though.

Yesterday morning I saw 2, possibly 3 male Le Conte's @ Roselle. I was by myself when I saw them, so I didn't want to post elsewhere about them, but someone came as I was leaving. I first saw one from the path about 150 feet east of the electrical line. It darted in and out of the first clearing, then travelled real low until a second clearing further in. Here it joined for sure one more, and possibly another as it continued to head into the thick meadow, just east of the line.

Also a note for others, Roselle is under construction and also hosts construction vehicles for other sites on Grand River. Be careful and stay out of the way if you go during the day, and especially if construction workers are buzzing around. I went Monday morning after your first sighting, and found 14 construction vehicles moving in & out. I did see one Le Conte's in a willow later that evening.

Charlie said...

I have read your postings on Nelsons Sharp-tailed Sparrow with interest. Here in Southwestern CT.,we get both alterus and subvirgatus in fall migration, with peak in mid-October. Alterus seems to outnumber subvirgatus, which was a bit of a surprise to me over the years.
I have seen only 1 bird here which I am sure was a nominate nelsoni. That bird was as illustrated in Sibley. It was small, with a very small bill, rounded head,brilliant plumage on the face and chest, with reddish toned streaking.