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Afield - the Word and the Bad Pun

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

10/18/2019 - 10/20/2019

I made a little time Friday morning to head to a local park for some photos. The next two mornings were spent further afield (pun intended). It's sparrow season here in Indiana, and I spent my mornings pacing and sitting in various fields around the state.

Friday was a quick run at daybreak to visit Daubenspeck Community Park. It's remembered (by me and at least one other) as a great place to catch Orange-crowned Warblers in the fall. It's also a great little place to find sparrows; usually Chipping Sparrows. The park seems to have become overrun with House Sparrows though, and other sparrows are scarce and have been pushed to the edge of the prairie. I enjoyed my morning here, but I missed my targets. Best bird was a lone Lincoln's Sparrow that briefly popped up and then retreated into the nearby treeline.

Saturday morning, I was up and out the door in time to arrive at Goose Pond FWA just before sunrise. Duck season has arrived in full force there, and the sounds of gunfire could be heard everywhere. Duck season for some, but still "orange sparrow" season for me. I spent my time slowly walking the area, but I came up dry (again, pun intended). I think the area is just too dry this year. I've not given up hope, but I feel that I will probably just miss out on LeConte's and Nelson's this year. I had high hopes. There are still plenty of Swamp Sparrows in the area. There are also several Sedge Wren, still. There was even one remarkably colored Sedge Wren that disappeared into the phragmite nearby. I had to replay the encounter in my head to realize the reason is looked so remarkable - it was a Marsh Wren. Some pishing brought it out of cover and then it flew off across the road. I did make time this trip to go check the Main Pond area. I was looking for pelicans and had 6 fly across the road as I drove in. There were not any pelicans on the water, though. I imagine they were further back and out of site of the road. When I turned around, I could see a flock of about 100 pelicans flying up out of the GP10 area and hustled to find a parking spot. I managed a few photos as they flew by.

People say this all the time, but that is because it's true. Pick your background when you can. I was originally kneeling on a small slope when shooting this shot. This put the sparrow against the sky; giving a blank white background. By slowly standing, I was able to get the bird against the sun-drench background and highlight the dew-covered webs in the plant.

By this point, I was on day 3 of little sleep. I've got a cold of some sort, and it's keeping me awake at nights. The smart thing would have been to sleep in. But that wasn't really working out anyway; so, Sunday, I hopped back into the car and drove out the "The Burn" in Montgomery Co. Shari McCollough birds this area and takes amazing photos there. I've never had that much luck there. I arrived just before sunrise and parked my car; trying to use it as a blind. It wasn't working. So, I did the only thing I knew to do. I got out, walked down the path a ways, and just sat down in the weeds and waited. I managed a few photos this way, but, all in all, I'm no Shari. I was happy to get some shots at a Lincoln's Sparrow. I was also grateful for a cooperative pair of Ruby-crowned Kinglet that escorted me back to my car.

I came back and crashed (thankfully, not a pun) for a few hours - and then I spent another restless night. Here's hoping I feel better by next weekend. There's more birding to be done.

Thanks for reading,




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