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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!


Charlie DeWitt said...

Caleb, Feller and I have birded that area every Wed. from March 14 and have not seen the Harris's SP. Maybe tomorow will be our lucky day!

Charlie DeWitt

Silly Putty said...

Thanks for the update Charlie- good luck refinding it! I'd start at the shrubs 100-200 feet west of the HQ building and try to get into the middle of the junco flock, and see what pops up.