Readers’ wildlife photos

Remember to send in your photos if you have some; I can always use more!

Today we have a special edition on migratory sparrows contributed by reader Mike McDowell, whose notes and IDs are indented:

With the recent arrival of American Tree Sparrows, fall sparrow migration through southern Wisconsin is drawing to a close. Though the month of May marks the return of many flashy neotropical songbirds like warblers, vireos, and flycatchers, October provides an opportunity to appreciate the plumage simplicity of Little Brown Jobs (“LBJs” in birding vernacular). However, as I hope readers can see from these photographs, they’re seasonably colorful in their own way, blending in well with the autumn landscape.
Here they are:
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea):
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis):
 Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca):
LeConte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii)
 Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana):
 Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia):
 Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii):
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys):
And a few other fall migrants:
Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus):
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum):
And the moon!:


  1. Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Very nice Mike! What equipment are you using?

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Thanks! All were digiscoped with a Swarovski 95 spotting scope and a Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera.

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Cool! Thanks for the info. I’ll look into that.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Excellent photography to highlight the sparrow.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Beautiful sparrows! Also excellent camera work.

  4. Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    That is a really good moon. Our very pleasant neighbor who helped mix things up.

  5. rickflick
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The sparrows are variation on a them. I’d never heard the term “LBJ”. As with any good lexical discovery, I’m looking forward to using it in conversation.

    I too would like to know what equipment you used.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      See reply added to comment one.

      These were digiscoped!

  6. David Coxill
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Nice photos of birdies ,not very good at photographing birds .
    Too fast for me .

  7. ivarhusa
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Lovely collection! Some would be Life Birds for me.

  8. Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Great moon shot… and sparrows i have never known. Thanks very much.

  9. Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I like the American Tree Sparrow, especially with its red tuft of feathers.

  10. Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I do love these little birds, and you’ve done a wonderful job of capturing their essence, Mike. Thank you.

  11. Diane G.
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos! I love sparrows. Super capture of that LeConte’s!

  12. Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I’ve only now gotten a chance to really look at the photos: been saving the post for the week. I love series like this: they help me compare and notice the differences I can’t see in bird guides. The tree sparrow interests me. We only see them in winter when the snow is bad. We get them at the feeders (which I haven’t had out for a few years because of a cat that oddly will hunt in the snow). I always thought of them as irruptions from Canada (we are 20 miles from Québec). Did you mean they have come for the season or that they are migrating through?

    Thank you so much for these photos.

    PS: I’ve been looking at mirrorless to replace my heavy, old DSLR. Do you recommend Nikon over Canon?

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      If you don’t mind me butting in…

      Here in SW Michigan Tree Sparrows are a regular winter resident. (It’s becoming more and more common for a Chipping or two to hang around, too, along with the occasional Song, though the majority of those still migrate south.) Love to see them and the Juncos arrive every late fall… 🙂

      I also get a one or two White Crowneds and White Throateds staying around most winters, though the majority just migrate through. By contrast, the Trees are around all winter in significant numbers.

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