Monday, June 13, 2011

Vesper Sparrows, Early April Migration to Northern Illinois

A Vesper Sparrow hiding in the reeds, Nygren Wetlands Preserve, Rockton, IL; 4/10/2011.
I added the vesper Sparrow to my Life List (#281) this spring, when I spotted one hiding in the reeds at the Nygren Wetlands Preserve in Rockton, IL - just a few miles north of Rockford. I could very well and probably have seen Vespers before, but I could very easily have mistook them for Song Sparrows, of which they look and sound very much alike. Vespers are the 3rd of the sparrows that arrive in northern Illinois in early April along with the Chipping and Field Sparrows which I blogged about the last two days.
Vesper Sparrows are less common than Song Sparrows, but are similar with fairly heavy streaking on their flanks and breast (Vesper's streaks are not as thick). Also Vespers have less reddish coloring on their wings, crown and tail. Vesper's bills are not thick or gray as a Song Sparrow's, and Vespers have a complete eye-ring, which Song Sparrows lack. Also their songs a bit more buzzy than the Song Sparrow's.
I finally caught up with this Vesper Sparrow, who was dodging me for several minutes, hiding in the long reeds, Nygren Wetlands Preserve, Rockton, IL; 4/10/2011.
Vesper Sparrows can be found in loose flocks in relatively dry pastures or agricultural fields. However, I found this Vesper (Above) flitting along the tall reeds trying to hide from me next to a small body of water. But there was a grassy field next to little lake. Northern Illinois is in the southern portion of the Vesper's summer range, as it extends throughout the northern half of the U.S. and into much of Canada. In winter, they will migrate to the southern edges of the U.S. - the Gulf, Mexico, and Central America.

1 comment:

Chesney said...

Fabulous captures...not sure I have seen this guy here in NE...looking forward to the birds you see from your trip! hope you and Val are having fun! Just returned from Rocky Mountain National was a great time to go...saw tons of wildlife I have never seen there.