The north side of the park showed little bird activity this morning. I stood still for a good five minutes up in the concrete channel between thickets of fennel. I noticed, by the way, that the fennel in this location lagged behind its sisters at the top of the hill in producing fresh offshoots. The fennel forest here consisted of just stalks, affording relatively good visibility and poor shelter for inhabitants. It’s not until the fresh growth gets abundant that the forest fills in and a small bird can feel comfortably out of sight there. Possibly this explains why the Red-winged Blackbirds haven’t arrived yet in their village-sized numbers. But I digress. I’d just about given up when I caught a flicker of wings down below, and one bird did the most wonderful thing: it landed and sat on top of a vertical stalk with nothing but the deep blue sea in the background. The bird sat at the far end of my camera’s telephoto range, so the image isn’t as crisp as I’d prefer, but it’s good enough to identify the bird and throw it some love. In the field I thought this must be a White-crowned Sparrow, of whom there are many in the park. But when I got it home, the heavy streaks on the bird’s breast and the darkness of the beak pointed without much doubt to the Song Sparrow. Take a look at this photo from the Cornell bird lab website and see if you don’t agree.