Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: LBB Wetlands Edition

This is the effect you’ve had: when I decided, rather spur-of-the-moment, that I should take Saturday off and go play in the sun for a while, but didn’t want to go far from home, I didn’t go looking for geology. That’s mostly because I know that the areas within a few miles of the house are all about glacial landforms utterly covered in vegetation. So I opted for birds instead. I began the day bound and determined to add to my paltry collection of UFD photos. My readers want UFDs; UFDs they shall have.

So I looked for local parks on the map, and chose North Creek Park, because while the scenery isn’t spectacular, it’s got birds. Also, I plan to do up a piece on wetlands someday. And it’s close.

What happens when I get there, anticipating lots and lots of birds? Bupkis. Oh, I could hear the little fuckers. The air was veritably filled with birdsong. But the bastards were hiding in the bushes. I despaired.

And then came the magical moment when I walked the floating boardwalk toward the Peat Bog Pond, and there, in the middle of the walk, was a Little Brown Bird.


Just a wee little thing, pecking away at the wood. I would’ve jumped for joy if I hadn’t been so terrified of frightening it away.

Picture me, many yards away, putting the camera on maximum zoom and snapping furiously as it pecked at the planks. I knew the photos wouldn’t be great, but just in case, y’know? Then I crept a few steps forward, crooning, “Nice little birdie. Stay right there. Don’t fly away, baby, Dana needs you!”

When the little bugger turned round toward the heavier vegetation to the left, I nearly had a heart attack. But then it stopped.


I have no idea what was so tasty in that spot, but whatever it was finding seems to have convinced it that letting some crazy lady advance on it with a camera was worth the risk.


It even gave me several views from different angles. Here we have a nice profile:


And a fantastic ass-shot, which shows off the tail feathers a treat:


And an action pose:


Then, having found all it wanted, and possibly quite tired of the weird woman goggling at it, it hopped up on the side of the walk for one last photo op before flying off into the bushes.


I actually think I know what this is. But I’m not positive, and considering how few birds I actually manage to photograph, I figured I’d give you lot an opportunity to strut your ornithological stuff.

And, for lovers of wetlands in the audience:

North Creek Park Wetland

The ridge behind the wetland is very likely a drumlin. We’re coated in drumlins up here. And birds that like to sing, dance and avoid the camera at all costs. So a special thank you to this LBB, which was kind enough to pose.

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: LBB Wetlands Edition
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9 thoughts on “Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: LBB Wetlands Edition

  1. 2

    You’re in the Pacific Northwest area, right? (Geographical info is very important sometimes in birding!)

    I would guess a song sparrow, possibly a Vespers Sparrow (maybe a lark sparrow).

    My favorite online site is the Cornell birding site.

    My guess from the pics (good shots, BTW) is that it’s a song sparrow. LBBs are hard to pin down, but that’s a decent shot, and the others have some fairly distinctive markings that seem absent here.

  2. 5

    Note that there is a ‘Pacific Northwest’ form of the Song sparrow. It does look significantly different than the east coast variety, so it may throw people off who aren’t familiar with the different regional versions (there are some unique juncos in this area too).

  3. 6

    Song Sparrow. As fastlane points out the north Pacific variety of Song Sparrow like the similar Fox Sparrow vary in coloration from their southern and eastern counterparts, their darker plumage an adaptation to living in the shadows of the understory as compared to paler soil, dry grass type environments.

  4. 7

    Yeah, Song sparrow. Obviously I was beaten badly to the ID, but if you look at the wiki article there are a number of song sparrow pictures and one that was definitively ID’d (according to wikipedia) was snapped in Springfield, Oregon (partial inspiration for the Springfield of the Simpsons, though Groening did take into account that there is a springfield in literally all 48 contiguous states (and possibly alaska & hawai’i, I’m not sure).

    The pic from Oregon can be seen at largest size here:

    and if you look at it, the eye markings are perfectly consistent with a song sparrow being the ID. The bird in the wiki-pic is a bit lighter and more variegated generally, but the pattern of markings is definitely the same.

    Thanks, Dana!

  5. 9

    Yes, but it would have been nice if birdy had obliged us with a front view, showing how the stripes tend to come together in a darker spot in the middle of the breast.

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