We had very good morning with 79 new birds and 14 recapture of 9 different species. Yellow-rumped Warblers were by far the most common bird out there with 72 of them banded. Other highlights included a Sharp-shinned Hawk and an Orange-crowned Warbler but the "Bird-of-the-Day" was a Nelson's Sparrow! In between net-rounds, we took advantage of the super high tide to see if any "marsh" sparrows got forced out of their normal haunts in the salt marsh to the high marsh and scrub surrounding one of our mist nets. We successfully flushed a few sparrows but only one of them (the Nelson's Sparrow) got captured in the net. The following individual is most likely from the subspecies alterus which breeds in the marshes along the southern and western shores of Hudson Bay. We based that identification on the following characters: (1) lack of black in the lateral stripes on top of the head, (2) minimal amount of black on the back feathers, and (3) distinct but blurred striping in the flanks. There are two other distinct subspecies of Nelson's Sparrow - nelsonii and subvirgatus. Nelsonii breeds in the northern interior prairie regions of Canada and northern U.S. while subvirgatus breeds along the North Atlantic coast. All three subspecies spend the winter in South Carolina.
|Nelson's Sparrow (after hatch-year, sex unknown)|