When doing beach portrait sessions, families like to have the sea oats incorporated into the shoot somehow. For those vacationing on the Gulf Coast it is as much of an identifying characteristic as sand dunes, waves, and gulls on the beach. The other day I was at the beach access point at Cotton Bayou in Orange Beach when I saw some birds that liked the sea oats for a much more practical reason.
I zoomed in close and noticed birds were eating the seeds from the sea oats. It was a windy day and I was impressed with how they were flying from one sea oat to another. I didn't know what kind of bird it was at the time. After editing the pictures it came time to identify the bird. At first I thought is was a purple finch or house finch but it didn't quite match. After consulting with a friend we narrowed it down to swamp sparrows. If any of you disagree with that ID please let me know and give a link to the information.
Looking at the markings, location, and eating habits it matches up. As the name suggests they are found in marshy areas. They have longer legs than the standard sparrow, and seeds are part of their diet. Although they do migrate they can be seen year around in the Southeast.