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Good morning,

Upon realizing that LeConte's Sparrows had never been reported to eBird for
St Charles County the first quarter of April I decided to make that my
morning's goal. I have had good luck finding LeConte's this winter down in
the bottoms of the Blue Grosbeak Trail, so that was my obvious first choice
of locations.

As I peaked the main hilltop I began hearing at least two Henslow's
Sparrows in the prairie and realized it was going to be difficult to be
sure I had a LeConte's Sparrow now that Henslow's are back. I got down to
my usual LeConte's spot and almost immediately flushed a sparrow that
looked good for a LeConte's, but I couldn't relocate it to be sure. Walking
around a bit longer I kicked up a small straw colored sparrow that was a
really good candidate, although I couldn't get purple streaks and the tail
wasn't fanned out in flight like I needed to see, so I had to pursue. After
playing very quick games of peek-a-boo with me the bird flushed about 50
feet away behind an isolated grass stalk about 6 feet from anything else. I
knew I would finally get a chance to see the bird well as long as it didn't
flush so I patiently waited. Patiently for me was about the 3 minutes I
gave it before deciding to slowly creep towards the grass. I cut the
distance down to about 20 feet when I noticed movement at the edge of the
clump. I stopped and put my binoculars up just in time to see a little face
poke out the side with grey lores and upper cheek surrounded by the glowing
straw yellow. I did a little jig and left the bird alone and hurried back
home.

I was thrilled to be able to fill in that data gap, and I don't think I
have ever had a list with Henslow's and LeConte's on it and wanted to share
my experience. LeConte's will probably forever be my favorite sparrow
species, and I am saddened that they will be heading north within the next
few weeks.

Good birding,

*Tommy J Goodwin Jr., M.Sc., P.E. *
417-241-9189 | [log in to unmask]

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