Pomainville WMA: 7:15 am and from Route 7. I could see a few birders already out there looking. Looking for the LeConte’s Sparrow and the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow that were found on Saturday 10-17-09 by Ted Marin, Allan Strong and Craig Provost and who managed to get the word out quickly.
(birders checking the grassland area at Pomainville WMA for the sparrows)It was a brisk walk out to the general area of the reported sightings. Everything was covered with frost. A bite nippy but beautiful; the excitement of maybe finding two life birds was enough to keep me warm. I joined Greg Askew, Michael Lester and three other birders whom I don’t know (sorry, I should have asked your names). They were looking along the fence row and having no luck. I asked Greg if he had direction to the location. He said, "no, but I can get them"—and pulled out his cell phone and pulled up VTBird. Ah “Birding in the digital age” we heard down the road (mowed path) around the northeast corner of the enpoundment area (pond). Greg was waist deep in the tall grass. I was 20 feet to his left. Next I hear Greg say, NELSON”S SHARP-TAIL! I looked but couldn't find it. I moved in closer to Greg and ask, where? As he pointed out the bird's location, I could feel ice cold water leaking into my boots. I looked down to find that we were standing in over a foot of very cold water. Retreating quickly I pick up the bird just as it moved off. We quickly relocated it and Greg phones the others to inform them that we have found the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Jim Mead joined group as the bird moved around the northeast end of the floodplain wetland affording everyone several chances for great looks.
Inspired by the Nelson’s find everyone spread out to see if we could find the LeConte’s Sparrow, but it was not to be today for us. There is so much good habitat for the LeConte's to hide in, that it would have taken all day for us to check it all. I think that the bird could and probably is still there, but now moved to a safer more private/peaceful area which could be just around the backside of the pond away from all the attention. Good luck if you go looking for the LeConte’s Sparrow or Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Pomainville WMA Pittsford VT!
Good Birding to all!
Photos and story © 2009 Peter Manship All right Reserved