Monday, April 11, 2016

Black-chinned Sparrow on Black Canyon Road


Chaparral. This plant community consists typically of dense woody evergreen shrubs with waxy leaves in hot, dry habitats. Various sages, ceanothus, and chamise are the most common plants. Chaparral makes up 35% of San Diego County. A lot of it is on the slopes of hillsides away from human disturbance. Fires must be frequent enough that trees don't develop, but not so frequent that it becomes a fire-climax grassland.

Chaparral along Black Canyon Road
Chaparral along Black Canyon Road.
Typical birds in chaparral include Wrentit, California Thrasher, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and California Quail. Many other species can be found as well. One species found only in the chaparral is the Black-chinned Sparrow.

On March 27, 2016 I drove out Black Canyon Road, north from Ramona. The chaparral on the south-facing slopes here is sparse compared to some, and only about waist-high. The chaparral is more dense and impenetrable on the north-facing slopes closer to the Santa Ysabel Creek.

Previous postings:

May 11, 2015: Birds of Black Canyon Road, Ramona.

May 2, 2014: San Diego Year Bird #206: Black-chinned Sparrow.

The Black-chinned Sparrow is a handsome little gray bird with brown back, wings, and tail. It has pinkish-orange bill and legs and, of course, a black chin. Because it is found primarily in dry, treeless, and rather barren landscapes where I don't frequently spend much time, I only found my first ones in April 2014. So I took the opportunity to photograph one that was singing away here recently.

Black-chinned Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow. Black Canyon Road, Ramona, California. March 27, 2016. Greg Gillson.
Black-chinned Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow