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Henslow's Sparrow - A Great Way to Start the Day

May 20, 2016

On the morning of May 12, I headed out in search of a life bird for me, Henslow’s Sparrow, at Grimm Prairie (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge) in Oak Harbor, Ohio. This restored prairie provides excellent habitat for this and other bird species, such as Grasshopper Sparrow. I walked along one of the hiking trails and about 20 minutes later I could hear the distinctive song. According to Chris Earley’s book Sparrows & Finches of Ontario, Roger Tory Peterson described the Henslow’s Sparrow’s song as “one of the poorest vocal efforts of any bird, a hiccoughing ’tis-lick’”. Henslow’s Sparrow is a secretive bird and keeps hidden much of the time. Fortunately on this damp early morning a small brownish bird, which turned out to be a Henslow’s Sparrow, could be seen perched near the top of some tall grass. At the time, it sounded much closer, but its call travelled well on this quiet morning. I was able to get fairly close to this Henslow’s Sparrow, which would hop up to the top of some tall grass close to the hiking trail from time to time and on this occasion it sang frequently. It flew short distances a couple of times during my visit, either dissapearing into the tall grass or landing on a new perch. The photos below are a selection of some of my better efforts that morning.


Point Pelee NP_20160512-0075-Edit_0.jpg
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 1250, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II +1.4x tc

Henslow's Sparrow is one of the prettiest sparrows I have seen; it and Lark Sparrow rank at the top of my list.


Point Pelee NP_20160512-0047-Edit_0.jpg
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 1600, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II +1.4x tc


Above is a straight on view showing the buffy central crown stripe and streaked head. You can see the narrow black streaks on the breast sides with a buffy wash, which reminds me a lot of Lincoln's Sparrow. The chin and throat are bright white while the legs are pinkish.


Point Pelee NP_20160512-0043-Edit_0.jpg
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 1600, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II +1.4x tc



In the photo above you can see the pointed tail feathers, in addition to the olive and green nape. Its back is heavily brown streaked.


New Gallery Photos Added                       Gallery

Henslow's Sparrow                                    Emberizids Part 2


Happy Birding,


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