Dickcissel in the brush with a flock of House Sparrows

This morning I received a call from Ian Worley from his home at the southern end of Snake Mountain in Cornwall who told me that he was currently looking at a Dickcissel. This information was quickly followed by an invitation to come and see it so I hopped in a car and drove out there and within a couple of minutes of arriving I was looking at the Dickcissel too. An exciting moment since this was a life bird for me. The bright yellow wash on its chest made made it stand out as something completely different from the birds around it and the lack of a black bib revealed it to be an adult female. It was not easily spooked at all and let us get within twenty feet of it where we were able to enjoy nice looks at it as it preened and shook the snow off its back. A grassland bird of the Midwest, Dickcissel vagrancy in the east is a fairly regular occurrence, though this will only be the sixth officially documented sighting of one in Addison County.  When they do appear out of their range they are frequently found in House Sparrow flocks as this one was.

– Ron Payne