Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Confusing Sparrows

It is now time for the Winter sparrows to dominate fields and feeders. At first glance they are all the same; little brown birds. A second look gives many frustrations with identification.

Let us take a good look at this first winter White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys). Now you are already thinking; it doesn't have a white crown. This is a juvenile, the white crown is only present on adults. This species is often confused with the more common White-throated Sparrow. Notice the bill. White-throated Sparrows have dark bills. White-crowned Sparrows have pinkish-orange bills.
Two other species which may be confused with this juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, could possibly be the American Tree Sparrow and the Field Sparrow; both have un-striped breasts. Both have rufous-rusty crown markings. The American Tree Sparrow has a bi-colored bill and a spot in the center of its chest. The Field Sparrow has a rufous and gray head pattern; with a stout pink bill. The other sparrows that we are likely to see during the Winter months have striped markings and can be eliminated from consideration.
White-crowned Sparrow

 Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shaggy Manes

Shaggy Manes (Coprinus comatus) are one of the latest edible mushrooms that we can expect to find in this area. These were photographed and the smaller ones were picked on November 1, 2011; near Horseshoe Run in Tucker County, WV. The recent snow did not seem to bother this clump at all. I picked some last Thursday; near Huttonsville. They had been rained on for three days and were pretty soggy; but still tasted all right. Shaggy Manes and Oyster Mushrooms are what we can expect to find, this late in the season; if we are lucky.

Photo by High Virginia Images
Posted by High Virginia Outdoors
(c) 2011 All Rights Reserved