[CT Birds] Big Jan 13 Results, About face!

David F Provencher david.f.provencher at dom.com
Wed Feb 6 10:42:37 EST 2013

Thanks for the additional photos Bill!

One of the toughest things to do as birder (and a Human) is to keep an open mind in regard to our own opinions. My first take on the photo published on the blog was the bird was more likely Nelson's Sparrow than Saltmarsh. I have to admit to a bias as well. Since winter Nelson's tend to be found in higher and drier sections of coastal marshes than Saltmarsh Sparrows, they are generally more easily found (when both species are present) by birders birding on foot. That predisposes me to ask "Why isn't it a Nelson's?" when I find one of these guys while I'm birding on land rather than finding one while in my kayak in the outer reaches of a marsh.

So now, looking at all the images you sent me, I have to reverse my previous opinion. What appeared a clean monochromatic supercilium and short-ish bill in the published image, does not appear to hold up in the additional images you sent. So based on all the images in aggregate, I'd have to do an about face and join the camp that calls this a Saltmarsh Sparrow.


David Provencher

From: Bill Asteriades [mailto:bill.asteriades at gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 9:36 AM
To: David F Provencher (Generation - 4)
Subject: Fwd: [CT Birds] Big January 2013 Results

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your thoughts on the ID of this sparrow.  So far, the birding community seems to be split. I will forward a few other photo's which may provide further assistance.



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