I woke up this AM and thought I would go to Lucy Park, but decided instead to start scouting my Christmas Bird Count area more thoroughly in preparation for that event so went to Lake Wichita Park instead.
Every birding outing results in the siting of several LBJ's. For the non-birder, that's a "Little Brown Job", a little brown bird that can't be identified before it disappears. Most (but not all) of the time, it is some sort of sparrow.
A few years ago I decided to devote myself to learning the sparrows. I can't say I am an expert on sparrows yet, but I am getting better. If there were more species of sparrows here in the summer, I would get better faster.
Sparrows are a challenge not so much because they are all little brown birds, but because they frequently dive into cover about the same time as you catch sight of them. So you're frequently trying to make a call without a lot of information--that makes the quick identification of field marks and songs very important (not that you hear many songs in the winter.)
Today was a good sparrow day at Lake Wichita. The highlight of my morning was a small flock of Swamp Sparrows that were kind enough to stay visible for about 5 minutes, so I had plenty of time to look at them and catalog their field marks. Other sparrows: song sparrow, savannah sparrow and white-crowned sparrow. There were probably others, if I was faster. I thought I saw a lark sparrow, but wasn't able to be positive, so it's just a LBJ.
Another special bird this morning was the redhead duck (3) on the tank at Lake Wichita Park.
Other birds: White Pelican, American Coot, Great Blue Heron, Red-winged Blackbird, American Widgeon, Northern Cardinal, Pied-billed Grebe, Common Yellowthroat, Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Robin, House Finch, Double-crested Cormorant, Ring-billed Gull, Bewick's Wren, Goldfinch, Pigeon, Northern Harrier, Eurpean Starling, Great-tailed Grackle, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Blue Jay.