Since there hasn't been a detailed post regarding the La Chua Trail recently, let me offer the following:

Yesterday (1/8), I arrived at Payne's Prairie at about 9 a.m. to look for the Harris's Sparrow. I was soon joined by birders from Clermont and Englewood, including Tom from Venice, from Rex Rowan's original post regarding this bird (great story, terrific bird, thank you, Rex!). Our group enjoyed nice views of Savannah, White-crowned (several imm and one or two adults, occasionally singing), and a Vesper Sparrow, but the bird did not put in an appearance. At about 10, a group returned from the cranes to report that they had seen the Harris's at 7:45. There are still many enthusiasts walking out the trail to  see the cranes and there a several small hawks in the area. So there is considerable activity and the sparrows flushed regularly, but they would eventually return. Finally at about 1:30, the Harris's showed up, first in the tree and then on the ground to eat seed. Everyone remaining got great views over the course of about a minute. It soon moved back
 to the tree out of view. Five minutes later, it reappeared for another minute and most of the group got to see it in my new scope. 

Based on recent requests for information, there are still people hoping to see this bird. The good news is that it is still there. Anecdotal evidence suggests that early morning (before 8 a.m.) is the best time to see it. It does appear other times as well, but you may have to wait, and on the weekend there will be lots of crane watchers passing by. Be prepared to answer the question, "What are you looking for?" many times, often from people standing between you and the sparrow feeding area!

 Fritz Davis
Tallahassee, FL
davisfritz at

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