I hit a milestone after work this evening with the sighting of my 100th bird in Fort McMurray. As I closed in on 100 I found myself playing a mental game imagining just what it might be. I secretly hope for something unique but I figured it would likely end up being something I had seen before but just not locally. As it turned out, it was a completely new species to me and one that isn't all that common here. They don't breed here as far as I know and usually just pass through the area, hence their infrequency.
This Harris's Sparrow turned up shortly after I returned home from work. I glanced out the kitchen window and had one of those "what the hell is THAT?" moments. Initially I thought it was just a White-throated Sparrow (though it did seem a tad larger) until it turned around and I saw the black face. I made a mad dash upstairs for my camera and my field guide (my very understanding tenants have by now gotten used to seeing me do this). I didn't have to worry about it flying away on though as this little guy stuck around the yard for a good 15 minutes and fortunately at 9pm we still have sufficient light allowing me to get a half-decent photo.