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1/20/2023 NW Arkansas

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Woolsey Wet Prairie in Fayetteville...  It's a cool place. Lots of small ponds, marshy habitat in places, some trees, lots of grasses... Decent sized place considering the surroundings... WAY too many cookie cutter houses going up all over, a couple of solar farms, and a sewage treatment plant... actually you have to drive into the sewage place(outside the gate) and there's just one spot for a couple cars to park at.

The goal was american tree sparrows. I had another very disappointing search a little closer to home. I was told these would be at Woolsey... many people had reported them. Perhaps I waited too long or, we just didn't happen across them.
Someone in another threat mentioned playback. Just like with my experience, a young man I was birding with yesterday said the few times he's seen them there, playback did not work.
Please let me know what would work?  HA...      Anyway... want some confirmations and thoughts on a few birds.

I can often ID savannah sparrows in the field if I get good enough looks and hear their calls as they takeoff... but there were a lot of birds here that, well I just snapped a few pictures and moved on because they weren't what I was looking for. And, man those sparrows are frustrating... Not much activity at first... then, lots of movement but very little still... and just a while later, it was quiet again. Grr...


All three birds in this photo white-crowned?

immature white-crowned?  (side note... I've been seeing a LOT more immature wcsp than adults, percentage wise, this year compared to others)
These two birds we saw from a ways off, saw reddish caps in the binoculars so I snapped a couple pictures just in case. They'd be gone by the time we got closer. Really, where on earth were the tree sparrows hiding? 😞

Any chance either of these are western meadowlarks? The guy I was birding with was telling someone else there was a good chance westerns were mixed in as there were a lot of meadowlarks, and westerns do seem to happen often enough in these parts this time of year... (he didn't say that part) and he said that you really can't tell if they don't vocalize.
I didn't speak up but thought, that's not exactly true.
I looked in the tree where a flock of 20 to 30 or so landed, saw at least two birds that were significantly lighter than the others, and snapped a couple pictures.
This first one, I don't personally see yellow interrupting the paler malar very well but it was one of the lighter birds.

The one on the right in this photo not only has thinner dark banding(making it appear lighter) but it sure looks like yellow goes into that malar area quite well. But it's not a spectacular photo so I want thoughts on it.

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Both the first meadowlark(by itself) and the one on the right in the next pic have thinner dark stripes giving the bird a lighter appearance, which is typical for western... and, to me, it sure looks like the yellow breaks into the white malar stripe on the right bird, which again is a western trait.
But if I don't get a confirmation on any, I'm fairly content leaving it how I reported originally... about 40 eastern meadowlarks and 2 reported as eastern/western. I don't know if I have any westerns for that county but, I have several confirmed westerns on my life list here in my home county, same state, so... eh... 🙂

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