2017 starts off with Black-throated Sparrows
And so begins another New Year, another chance to start afresh. If you are the type to put together a list of resolutions, or goals, then the chance to make them a reality is upon you. I have never been much of a resolutions sort of guy, I just look back at the previous year make a mental note of what I liked, and what I didn’t. Then, I try to you avoid the bad parts. As has been our tradition, my wife and I head out to some secluded desert spot, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This is a chance to recharge out batteries, spend a little quite time together and try to get in a whole bunch of birding done.
This year we traveled to the same spot as last year, a few miles past El Sargento, to the end of the dirt road. We have found a spot that is right at the place where a very large arroyo meets up with the Sea of Cortez. This allows me to see frigates, boobies, terns and pelicans on the saltwater side. In the same day, just a few meters up the arroyo, there is a plethora of desert species. This was a real bonus spot last year, especially with migratory sparrows.
Unfortunately, this year did not live up to the standard set previously. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a great place to relax, and there were plenty of birds to photograph, but I would be lying if I were to tell you I was not disappointed. The biggest surprise this year was the large number of Black-throated Sparrows. I got excited every time I would see nice flock of sparrows, in hopes that it would be the Lark, Vesper, Savannah, Clay-colored or Grasshopper Sparrows of last year. Almost every time, for five straight days it turned out to be these beautiful little Black-Throated Sparrows.
In the end, they turned out to be a week saver, as they are quite photogenic, showed up in large numbers, and were far from shy. Even when scouring the sandy desert floor, looking for seeds and what not, they would scratch and bounce they way right up to me. They make themselves right at home in some of the nastiest plant life around, flying in and out of, and perching on the many different cactus species that live here in the desert of Baja Sur, Mexico.