10/8 – LeConte’s Sparrows – Lorain Impoundment

After finding no Ammodramus sparrows of any kind Sunday, there were two ad. LeConte’s and a Nelson’s Sparrow at the impoundment, today.  These birds appeared to come in with a fresh wave of migrants overnight, as was reported earlier by my comrade JB out of Cleveland.  The first LeConte’s was one of the first birds flushed as I entered the impound – only about 25 feet inside.  To view some of the prime sparrow habitat, I will reiterate previously posted directions:

Drive north through the parking lot, past the porta-a-potty, where you’ll see a stake with a black plastic shroud and a large rock placed at the base – this is the beacon of Ammodramus sparrow habitat.  Walk over the dike, and you’ll see two ponds, and just to the north a dirt “ramp” dropping into the impoundment.  Head east through the low smartweed grass – you’ll probably see some rough trails that have been tramped into the underbrush over the past couple weeks.  The LeConte’s was in this general area, as was the Nelson’s, but further east.  The second LeConte’s was in the first big smartweed patch along the west side of the impoundment – just past the big puddles. 

A couple observation notes about this birds & this species in general that I don’t often see quoted in the literature.  Several times in migration I have encountered LeConte’s that were quite vocal, chipping quite a bit when flushed and also agitated.  This goes hand-in-hand with the next note – I have read time and time again that these birds (Nelson’s, too) will not respond to pishing, and I have found this to be untrue, at keast some of the time.  LeConte’s & Nelson’s when buried in the short grass are not going to pop up for the pisher, probably due to the lack of suitable perching locations.  However, after they are flushed out a couple times and land on a more substantial clump of grass I’ve found that they can often be drawn out and up by a bout of pishing noises. 

Migration has been good on the north coast, as of late.  Though no rare sparrows were present at the impoundment Sunday, Merlin and Pine Warbler were highlights, along with two Pine Siskins.  48 Green-winged Teal dropped in Sunday and pintail were present both days.  A lone Pectoral Sandpiper dropped by today.

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