Imagine my surprise then when I looked out my library window today and saw a single bird at the feeder there, a bird which I at first thought was a House Sparrow until I noted the yellowish eye stripe and malar stripe (a stripe on the sides of the neck. In addition, the black on the breast was differentiated and formed a V-shape, very unlike a House Sparrow, more like an Eastern (or Western) Meadowlark. Dickcissel! A Dickcissel at my bird feeder.
I grabbed the camera, which of course had the wrong lens on it, and aimed it through my somewhat dirty window to try to record the visit. I snapped a few pictures and then ran to get a longer lens, but, naturally, by the time I had changed to the better lens, the bird had flown. It did not return while I was watching.
This is just about the best of the pictures I got. At least you can see the V-shaped black patch on the throat/breast, even if the other field marks are really not visible.
I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to get a better picture of the bird. If it hangs around the neighborhood for a while, maybe I'll get a second chance at it. The Dickcissel, though, is a bird on the move at this time of year. The birds spend their winters in South America, so it may not tarry for long here. I was very lucky to be looking out my window at just the right moment today and so I get to add a new species to my yard list. I wonder how many birds I miss because I don't happen to be in the right place at the right time?