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Black-throated sparrow        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Black-throated sparrows are beautifully-marked little sparrows of the desert.   Several of these birds were photographed in Joshua Tree National Park in the California desert (the ones on the yucca plant, and on a thickly-spined teddybear cholla cactus, a favorite and virtually impenetrable nest site).   Another singing bird (presumably a male) is perched -- carefully, one assumes -- on another species of cholla.   This individual was at the Motte Rimrock Reserve near Riverside, California, rather far from the species' usual desert habitat.   The other sparrows were photographed at the Deep Canyon reserve (a University of California field station) near Palm Desert, California, and near Tucson, Arizona.

  • digital captures, Canon 10D, 1D Mk. II, 1D3, 7D, or 1D4; 500 mm IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm lens with 1.4X converter, fill-in flash on some images (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)