Bob,

You asked how folks are seeing Ammodramus Sparrows.

We use basically the same technique that you use.  Larry Lade had told us that he had seen the LeConte's and the Nelson's along a water filled ditch.  We walked a dirt road parallel to that ditch - fairly tall grasses on both sides of the ditch, and some small shrubs, including red osier dogwood, along the ditch as well.  Soybeans to the west of the ditch and corn stubble to the east of the dirt road (and the ditch).  But also some short seedy seemingly dead grasses along and in the dirt road.  As we walked we did some pishing and looked at everything that popped up.  We also flushed many sparrows from the short grass, almost stepping on some before we saw them fly.  We were not able to identify any of them in flight.  There were no fences, but they often flew into the shrubs and to the tops of the taller grasses.  When we got our really good view of the Nelson's, we were between him and the dry grassy area that he wanted to feed in and he was not about to be dissuaded by our presence.  He posed out on a shrub, then flew around and behind us at about knee level and settled in working on the grass seeds.  We were able to walk to within a few feet of him (could have been a her).

The Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows we more often see on fences or on taller grasses or short shrubby green growth.

JoAnn has exceptionally acute hearing and a good ear for songs, calls and chips, and that really helps us zero in on areas that may be more productive.

We bumped into Alexis Powell at Baker Wetlands last weekend and he mentioned that LeConte's can often be coaxed up by stooping down and pishing.  The LeConte's tend to go to the tops of grasses to investigate and are more easily seen.  That did not work for us there.

Knowing where some of the species have actually been seen is a big help - that's the power of MOBIRDS-L!  The rest is time in the field and some luck.

Pete and JoAnn Moroz
Lee's Summit, Jackson Co., MO
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