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Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)  2-20120515 | by Kenneth Cole Schneider
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Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) 2-20120515

This morning we hoped to find some warblers when we visited the south end of Lippold Park in Batavia, Kane County, Illinois, but we only heard a couple of yellowthroats. At about 9:30 AM, Mary Lou and I were walking north at the beginning of the dirt trail that runs between the grassland along the west side of the parking lot and the riverside tree line, when we saw three or four sparrows and two robins foraging on the trail some distance ahead. All but one of the sparrows were Song Sparrows, but one seemed longer and slimmer and walked instead of hopping. About all we could make out with the binoculars was a strong line over its eye that suggested it was a Lark Sparrow. I took several photos that confirmed its identity. This is the first Lark Sparrow we have during the four years we have birded in Kane County. The Lark Sparrow did not allow a very close approach, and after making a couple of short flights along the trail it flew into the thicket of trees at the northwest end of the grassland. We could not re-locate it. Our images, for documentation, are heavily cropped and sharpened. This is near the NE limit of this species' breeding range, according to eBird records, and the only sighting ever reported for Batavia. Visit blog.rosyfinch.com

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Taken on May 15, 2012