I was in Pike County, Ohio, today, birding the area and was lucky enough to see both a green heron (my first green heron in a little over a year), and a rare bird. But in order to find out what the rare bird was, you will have to keep on reading. I began birding around 3:00 pm (although I didn't know that I was actually birding until around 3:30). If you have ever been to Pike County, Ohio, it is in my opinion Ohio's heartland. It is a beautiful, heavily wooded and hilly country, with sheer rock walls in places, clear streams in others, and alltogether wonderful. The woods are filled with black walnut, tulip, wild cherry, red cedar, and white pine trees, among others, making it a very beautiful and diverse woodland area. The particular area that I was in had a small lake, which I was birding along, and there happened to see the green heron mentioned above. I was about fifteen feet from the bird when I noticed a small, pheasant-sized bird hopping along the rocks on the bank. I did not have my spectacles on at the time, and my first though was, 'there's a green heron!' but on second glance (without spectacles, you must remember) I began to second guess myself. It looked to small to be a green heron, I thought, but a common moorhen didn't seem likely. I decided that it must be a green heron, so instead of putting on my glasses so that I could know for certain, I hastily pulled out the camera and prepared for a photo shoot. I took three photos, and only the last turned out good. But the first moment that I saw it in the screen, I knew that it was a green heron. And it was (of course). Photo below.
Being a very harsh critic of many things, bird photographs included, I am quite happy with the above image, but I also have two complaints. Number one, the head/beak area isn't as in focus and crystal-clear as I would like, but all in all the photo is great. Lastly, I don't like the 'tamed' appearance of the photo. To me it looks like a picture that was taken at a zoo aviary or some similar place. But I shall not complain. I am glad that I got a good photo in the first place. You've probably had enough of the green heron, right? You want to know about the rare bird that I claim to have seen, right? Well, here goes...
As I was walking along a row of pines up away from the river about half and hour later, I happened to see a... white-crowned sparrow. And I have proof! Albeit a lousy photo that can be barely made out, you can certainly tell that it is a white-crowned sparrow that I stumbled across- about two-and-a-half months early! Posted below is my lousy photo of the bird (it just had to hop behind the grass right as I snapped the photo and then fly away, didn't it???).
You can barely make out the black-and-white striped cap that is the trademark of the white-crowned sparrow.