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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Harris's Sparrow in Muskegon County

Without a doubt my worst nemesis state bird for many years now has been Harris's Sparrow. I have chased it several times and missed it by minutes, or found out others had it before I arrived and after I left. Thankfully, that distinction is now a thing of the past.

On March 10, 2012 I saw this posting on the Muskegon County Nature Club blog:

I was unable to chase that bird at that time and never heard any followup from anyone, and not chasing was obviously a mistake on my part. But the bird seems to have stuck around, and this morning I saw this eBird checklist from yesterday which was the first information I have heard of this bird since March 10:

Needless to say I rushed to the scene and was lucky to get information from Jonathan Lautenbach that the bird was being seen near the tire pile at the Headquarters building. I had been checking Dave Elbrecht's location up to that point, without luck (or any sparrow flocks). After some looking Jonathan and I both scored our state tick. Here is the map of these locations:
I am not sure why this bird wasn't posted more publicly. It is certainly rare enough to merit posting on Mich-Listers (which requires simply that a bird be a "County rarity", among other things, to be permissible). In any event, I am very glad we didn't miss it before it migrates back to northern Canada! State bird 362 and my worst Michigan nemesis averted...

Here are my pictures and ebird checklist:
Harris's Sparrow, Muskegon SGA Headquarters, April 10 2012Harris's Sparrow, Muskegon SGA Headquarters, April 10 2012

Good luck if you chase it!