Vesper Sparrow


This morning I promised Ingrid we could sleep late and have a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and just relax. Then as I took my first sip of coffee, I looked at my phone and saw the words “Maine Rare Bird Alert – Vesper Sparrow – Damariscotta”.

Ingrid looked at me and sighed, “this is your Big Year let’s go get it.”

I don’t deserve this woman.

Anyway, 30 minutes later we were walking through a farm field, looking for a drab streaked bird that is a little out of place in this environment. Preferring dry grasslands, sage brush, and bare ground it’s a tough bird to find in Maine.

After a bit of searching, Ingrid herd it sing (two pairs of whistles and then a long trill) and then I saw it feeding in the grass about 25 yards away. Not shy at all, the Vesper allowed us to approach and observe it for ten minutes.

We then headed home for the promised leisurely breakfast . . . when Ingrid looked at her phone and read “Maine Rare Bird Alert – Canvasback Duck – Whitefield”. That search was not as successful as it appears the Canvasback was a case of mistaken identity.

But such is life during a Big Year.

The Vesper Sparrow is Bird #160 for the year. The Maine State Record is 317, so I’m halfway there with about nine months to go . . . but the easy birds like Chickadees, Bluejays and Mourning Doves are behind me . . . every bird from here on in will be more like the Vesper Sparrow.

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