Monday, June 29, 2015

Black-throated Sparrow at Hole-in-the-Wall, Mojave National Preserve

The hiatus is over for a while at least. I've been on a tough road over the last two weeks, leading (and being led by) students all over the southwest. The trip was hectic, wonderful, and epic, but I was never able to go online with my laptop even once. The focus of the trip wasn't on birds, it was on geology and archaeology, but I was constantly on the alert for the possibility of seeing new birds in this new territory.

It didn't take long to add a new bird to my list. Our first night camping was at Hole-in-the-Wall in the Mojave National Preserve in eastern California. When the sun was rising, I heard a persistent new birdsong, and I scoured the slopes near camp trying to locate it. Eventually I found it and got a few distant pictures. It turned out to be a Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata). I would eventually find that it is a common bird of the desert southwest, but I'd never seen one in my home territory.
It wouldn't be right to call it a brightly colored bird, as it is white, black and gray, but the markings are certainly bold. It spent a lot of energy singing in the morning around our camp. It wasn't the last time I would see the bird on the trip. More on my other sightings later!

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