Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Song Sparrow in the late afternoon light...

Sunday I finally started to feel better after recovering from a cold that had kept me indoors for far too long, so I bundled up and headed over to Voice of American (VOA) Park. It was very cold, but it was also blue-sky sunny, and I wanted to see if the American Kestrel that's usually there was hanging around (he wasn't). After checking the frozen lake for winter visitors (there were none save a lone Canada Goose slipping and sliding on the ice), I went off-trail and climbed over the brushy hills that lead to the meadow. It was nearly 5:00 p.m., and the late afternoon sun was doing its winter magic by coloring the dead and bleached brush with warm tones of gold and rust. Suddenly, what seemed like a deserted patch of earth came to life as five small brown birds skittered around, weaving here and there through leaves and bent grass until eventually bursting up in a panic to the safety of stubby snags and the remains of giant pokeweed bushes where they paused to keep a wary eye on me...

A beautiful little Song Sparrow peeked at me from behind a branch, watching warily with just just one eye. If you think he looks cute here, you should have seen him through the camera lens. It would have melted your heart.

...he then moved behind a branch, peeking out with the other eye, obscured from view in shadow...

I'm surprised he didn't lift his little foot and point two little toes at his eyes and then one back at me in that "I'm watching you..." gesture.

The warm browns of a Song Sparrow in late afternoon sunshine...

Eventually the Song Sparrow decided I was no threat...

...turned his back on me, and rejoined his little winter foraging flock on the ground.

When I read this journal entry from Thoreau (April 2, 1853), I had to smile...sounds just like our little sparrows:
"The song-sparrows, the three-spotted, away by the meadow-sides, are very shy and cunning: instead of flying, will frequently trot along the ground under the bushes, or dodge through a wall like a swallow; and I have observed that they generally bring some object, as a rail or branch, between themselves and the face of the walker,—often with outstretched necks will peep at him for five or ten minutes." (Source: page 302, "Early Spring in Massachusetts: from the journals of Henry David Thoreau," edited by Blake, 1881/1893. Click here for the online version of this book.)

16 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Cute little Song Sparrow, Kelly... We have a few of them around here --but I don't see any of the sparrows in winter.

Take care of yourself and stay WELL.
Hugs,
Betsy

Elva Paulson said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been under the weather ...

The light on your song sparrow is lovely. ANd you are so right, they just love to peer and peek. I've been trying to photo sparrows a lot this past month. They are so pretty when one is close.

forgetmenot said...

Kelly, Glad you are feeling better. Great captures of the Sparrow. I love the Kinglet shots too, and your Cardinal paintings are exceptional. I always know I will find some amazing posts on your blog. Keep well. Mickie ;)

holdingmoments said...

What a little beauty. I love the way he was checking you out, from behind the branches.

Elaine said...

Your patience was rewarded with this little sweetie! The light was just right for intimate little photos.

Chris said...

He is a beauty and the light was superb. I can see you are copying Dave on the last shot ;-)

Carol Mattingly said...

I love Thoreau and these song sparrow images. I think sparrows are so absolutely adorable. Carol

Bob Bushell said...

Number 4 is my favourite, they are slendid.

TexWisGirl said...

he's adorable!!! and i almost spit my coffee at the 'i'm watching you' image!!!

Jenny wren's nest said...

very cute, you are very inspiring, I will go paint now.Thanks
Jenny wren

Alan Pavey said...

The behaviour of the Sparrow is illustrated perfectly in your pics, a lovely set.

Montanagirl said...

They're so cute. The lighting in these is beautiful! We have mainly white/gray wintery looking weather today.

Gillian Olson said...

Lovely little bird and great series. Glad you are on the mend.

Wanda..... said...

Perfect Match, Kelly!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! What a sweet experience. It was fun playing peek-a-boo with this little Song Sparrow!! I love the golden glow of a late afternoon sun in winter. It's so rare here. Even though it was cold...cold, the sun colors the landscape with warmth. It's a nice illusion. My fingers were still numb, though! :-)

eileeninmd said...

Kelly, Lovely photos of the Song Sparrow. Happy Birding!