All three of these birds were photographed on Feb 22, 2012 at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf coast about 35 miles south of Houston.
Which grackle is this?
My rambling thoughts - Either a female or a male/female juvi.
Alone, so maybe not Common.
Color looks more like Boat-tailed, but head shape more like Great-tailed.
Adult female Boat-tailed on Gulf Coast has brown eye, so maybe???
I shot a short bit of video to try to get the song. I got the song, but with a lot of wind noise too. Without hearing the Western, I can't really compare.
Video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVjp4FWOroI
You got some very nice pictures.
I'll let another take a shot at the Grackle. :)
With the sparrow, my first impression is Song. The head markings do not look quite right for Swamp or Lincoln's.
And the Meadowlark, yes, it does look Eastern to me with the white malar. Our computer has no sound, so I cannot have a listen. I didn't think having no sound would be a big deal, but I really miss it for listening to birds.
Thanks for the kind words about my photos and the ID tips. It does help. Based on the link you sent me last time, I was pretty convinced that the Meadowlark was an Eastern. I found some songs on the Cornell site and the song sounds like an Eastern too.
As far as the sparrow goes, I looked at the Song. It does look like it could be, but I just can't tell. Sparrows are really hard for me.