The splendid White-throated Sparrow

Photo by Chris Bosak A White-throated Sparrow perches on a branch in Stamford, Conn., March 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A White-throated Sparrow perches on a branch in Stamford, Conn., March 2015.

There are few annual birding moments as striking as seeing your spring’s first male White-throated Sparrow in all his breeding-plumage glory. The white shines, the yellow pops, the browns mix together in perfect harmony. You even notice a few colors you never knew this sparrow had before.

Well, I had that moment last week while watching some feeders in Stamford, Conn.. The House Sparrows, American Tree Sparrows (another looker) and even some White-throated Sparrows (mostly female) jockeyed around the feeders. Then this handsome fellow flew into the scene. He was a show-stopper as far as I was concerned. “If only he’d jump off the ground and take a perch more conducive to getting a good photo,” I thought to myself.

Then, of course, he did. He jumped up to a large stick jutting straight up into the air. Many times birds take those perfect perches and take off two seconds later before you can get the camera ready for the shot(s). Boy that’s frustrating when that happens. But his guy kept that perch in front of me for a good 12-15 seconds — an eternity in bird photography terms. Soon, most of the males will look this resplendent. I love his head and face with the white, black, gray and yellow. Who would have thought all that beauty in a sparrow?

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Tiny footprints in the snow: White-throated Sparrow

Photo by Chris Bosak Footprints of a White-throated Sparrow are impressed into the snow of a sidewalk in New England.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Footprints of a White-throated Sparrow are impressed into the snow of a sidewalk in New England.

Not all interesting bird sightings involve birds. Sometimes they involve merely the signs of birds, which are everywhere if you look hard enough. When I opened the door this morning to check the temperature about a dozen White-throated Sparrows took off for shelter. But their signs were everywhere on the ground in the form of tiny footprints in the dusting of snow that fell overnight in parts of New England.

A couple winter birds

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Downy Woodpecker perches next to a birdfeeder in New England, Jan. 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Downy Woodpecker perches next to a birdfeeder in New England, Jan. 2015.

Yesterday (Saturday) coastal southern New England had its first significant snow of the year. And even so, it wasn’t that much of an event as we woke up to about four inches of snow and nothing else fell during the day (except some light rain off and on). But it was nice to see snow finally (I’m sure not everyone shares that opinion) and, for me, that always means checking out the feeding stations for photos opps.

I didn’t do so well in that department as the birds were surprisingly somewhat scarce. White-throated Sparrows were the most plentiful species, with 10 to 12 under the feeders at all times. A Downy Woodpecker showed up frequently, too. There were infrequent visits from cardinals, juncos and titmice. That’s about it. The Carolina Wren Continue reading

Towhees and thrasher in the snow

Photo by Chris Bosak An Eastern Towhee eats a crab apple during a cold winter day at Weed Beach in Darien, CT., Jan. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Eastern Towhee eats a crab apple during a cold winter day at Weed Beach in Darien, CT., Jan. 2014.

It was bitterly cold, but bright and sunny. Perfect day for a quick bird walk. Perfect day for a long bird walk, too, but I had limited time before my son Will’s basketball game, so it had to be a quick one.

After seeing a few Fox Sparrows at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., as soon as the walk started, the only species I could find was White-throated Sparrow. And there were lots of them. I love my White-throated Sparrows, of course, so I’m not complaining. My eyes, however, were darting around the brush for other birding goodies.

Trudging through the snow and doing my best to ignore the

More photos below, click on “continue reading.”

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