Sorry I didn’t post over the weekend. I was deathly ill. I can’t even remember the last time I was this sick. So sick I couldn’t work let alone do something fun like write a blog post. Instead I stayed in bed shivering and coughing.
But a few weeks ago I made it to the Red Butte Gardens, which is becoming quite busy with activity! There were tons of secretive quails bursting out of bushes and flying away. This is the best picture I got of a female California Quail.
But even better, I saw a new life bird! The Lincoln’s Sparrow.
I feel very lucky because according to my field guides, they don’t usually appear in this part of Utah. The trick with identifying the Lincoln’s Sparrow is the white patch that starts at the base of his beak and moves below his eye and the grey eyebrow. Compare the Lincoln’s Sparrow above to the Song Sparrow:
They’re pretty close, right? Until I read about the Song Sparrows having a whiter eyebrow I thought the birds in both these pictures were the Lincoln’s Sparrow because I couldn’t see the Song Sparrow’s main distinguishing mark, which is a brown spot on the center of his chest:
From this angle he looks very different. Here’s a comparison with the Lincoln’s Sparrow:
The Lincoln’s Sparrow has a greater contrast in his mutton chops. I also noticed that the tips of the Song Sparrow’s wings form an upside down “L” of dark brown feathers. The Lincoln’s Sparrow has dark brown tips in rows. Lastly, the Lincoln’s Sparrow can raise the feathers on his head sort of like a crest. Soon I will be a sparrow expert!