One morning in late December, it was super cloudy and foggy outside. I almost rolled over and went back to bed. Instead, I went wandering with my camera around Oakland Nature Preserve and discovered that foggy days are good for sparrows and little birds.
I was tickled to spot this first Grasshopper Sparrow perched out in the open…until I came across the group of three of them! They were the most cooperative Grasshopper Sparrows that I’ve encountered. I was surprised at how long they stayed still while the other little birds flitted around.
The air was full of the song of Eastern Bluebirds. Then I heard the happy calls of American Goldfinches – “potato chip! Potato chip!” One of the goldfinches perched high in the treetop next to the bluebird – what a fun combination.
I was on a quest to spot the Field Sparrows that had been reported on eBird. So I was carefully checking every little bird that I saw. It’s a shame there wasn’t more sunlight, as I found a bunch of fun surprises. Like this Black-and-White Warbler…
…and this Orange-Crowned Warbler, who didn’t show me his orange crown as he hopped in and out of the leaves.
A flock of Chipping Sparrows has been hanging out at Oakland Nature Preserve this winter. As I focused my binoculars on anything that moved, I found myself thinking, “just another chipper!” They came close and posed nicely in the grasses for me.
You hear the Tufted Titmice before you see them. Their happy calls came from the treetops where I spotted them eating acorns. They are such cheerful animated little clowns.
A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers was clearly a mated pair on the lookout for a good nesting site. One of them hopped down to a dead tree stump and posed for me. A few feet behind him, a Downy Woodpecker said hello also.
When I least expected it, a striped Prairie Warbler hopped out in front of me and started foraging in a vine. Although it’s January and still the middle of winter, some of the birds are starting to get into their spring breeding plumage. My favorite time of year is quickly approaching!
Finally, as I was considering heading home, I spotted the object of my quest – two Field Sparrows who hopped out briefly into the open. I only got a few quick snaps of one before they flew off. A great end to a fun morning!
Find my birding list from today on eBird.
Want to learn more about nature photography at Oakland Nature Preserve?
Check out my Oakland Nature Preserve page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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