05 April 2009

Probable Sparrow

The pictures are lamentable; hand-held 800mm and the focus isn't quite right. (Neither I nor the focus confirmation system can reliably pick the bird out of the branches at that range.)

It was in thick bushes at the verge of one of the ponds at the Metro Zoo; initially at ground level and then up about four feet off the water, presumably to clear the feeding geese who were working that verge.

I can't figure out what it is. Almost certainly a sparrow, but I'm having no luck relating the field marks in the picture to anything in a field guide.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

swamp sparrow would be my guess. it doesn't seem to have the right shape for an american tree sparrow, and i can't detect a colour difference between the upper and lower beak -- though it's hard to tell in these pictures.

Graydon said...

The pictures are lamentable, yeah. (I had decided I didn't want to lug the tripod. :)

Swamp Sparrow is not implausible; I'm probably too focused on that big black dot on the breast feathers as a field mark. Especially since it's probably some sort of intermediate, spring-molt plumage.