Birders in southern Ontario may have heard about the long staying Harris's sparrow, just outside of Embro in Oxford county. The bird was only a 25 minute drive from home for me and considering that it has been hanging around since November, I hoped to add it to my life list before it decided to move on. Unfurtunately I did not pick the most pleasant day. The car temperature read -11C on my way there and a recent snowstorm made the roads rather slick which slowed me down somewhat.
Nevertheless I arrived at the property and immediately started scanning the birds. In a phone call with the landowner that morning, he described where the sparrow was commonly being seen and I positioned myself in a corner of the yard where I could see the feeder and the ground underneath where plenty of juncos and american tree sparrows were hanging out.
I did not see the sparrow right away, but decided to wait it out. The usual yard species presented themselves and I added goldfinch, downy woodpecker, cardinal, mourning dove, blue jay, american crow (flyover), house sparrow and white-breasted nuthatch. But there was no harris's sparrow to be seen. The wind chill did not make the cold temperatures any more pleasant. I ended up returning to the vehicle for warmer gloves which made operating a scope more clumsy, but provided a bit more insulation.
40 minutes into the watch and I was considering leaving for home when an unusual sparrow landed on the ground. I got on it with the scope and watched in picking around under and on the feeder. I quickly pulled off my gloves and attempted a couple phone scoped shots for identification purposes. They are pretty poor quality, but do confirm my sighting.