1. English and Scientific names: Cassin's Sparrow  Peucaea cassinii 

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 1 adult

3. Locality: LOUISIANA: Bossier Parish; Bossier City

Specific Locality: Cane's Landing/Bass Pro Shop

4. Date(s) when observed: 05-06-2011

5. Time(s) of day when observed:  09:45-10:30

6. Reporting observer and address: Nancy L Newfield, Casa Colibrí, 3016 45th Street, Metairie, LA 70001

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): John Sevenair, Jay Huner, Carolyn Phillips

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): Initially found and identified by Terry Davis.  Seen by many other observers.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Sunny and bright.  At all times, the bird was north of us, while the sun was coming from the east though it was high in the sky.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): 10 x 42 Swarovski Elites, excellent condition

11. Distance to bird(s): 8-12 meters [estimated] 

12. Duration of observation: 45 minutes, during which the bird was in full view about 40 minutes.

13. Habitat:  large patch of Giant Ragweed Ambrosia trifida adjacent to an overgrown field.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): This bird habitually perched atop the Giant Ragweed, alternately singing and then performing the 'skylarking' display flight while in song.     

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): A fairly large sparrow, perhaps 6 inches long, and fairly long-tailed as are most members of the genus.  Overall, the bird was grayish brown with darker streaks on the crown, nape, and back.  A grayish supercilium extended past the eye and that part was defined below by a narrow brown eyeline.   The tail was grayish brown with light outer vanes on the outer rectrices, the light area being wider toward the tip.  The underparts were rather plain light grayish brown with only the vaguest suggestion of streaking on the flanks.  The wings appeared to be similar in color pattern to the back.  There were no obvious wing bars.  The grayish horn-colored bill was relatively large.    The legs were dull grayish yellow.  

16. Voice: Two rich notes, followed by a high, rich trill, followed by two slightly lower rich notes.  Song given frequently, both from a perch atop the ragweed and in stylized flight [skylarking].

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): The grayish tones to the plumage separated this bird from the somewhat similar Bachman's and Botteri's.  Of course, the song and skylarking display clinched the identification.  Bachman's would not likely be found in the type of habitat as was this individual. 

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? Attached?): none, but John Sevenair obtained some respectable images.

19. Previous experience with this species:  I have seen lots of this species in appropriate habitat in Texas and in Arizona in the distant past.

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation:

b. after observation: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and The Sibley Guide to Birds.  The National Geographic guide was also used before the observation in preparation for the event.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?) _____notes made after the observation (date:_____); _x_memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:  Yes

23.  Date: 05-11-2011                                  Time: 16:00