Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Longspur (possible Smith's) -updated Nov. 16

This may be the first of this species I've seen this year, certainly the only bird I've seen this close. I'm always happy when I can find a lone bird since whenever there's a flock of several, the first to take flight will generally take the rest of the flock with it. This one sat still long enough to get a few, although similar pictures. October 11, West Head NS.
Update  It was brought to my attention that this bird is likely a Smith's Longspur which would mean it's quite a rarity for this area. It's not a species that I've seen in the past but the description seems to fit. I wasn't that comfortable in the beginning calling it a Lapland Longspur since it lacked the strong facial markings that I'm familiar with from other sightings of that species and the reddish wing coverts seem to be lacking. What initially drew my attention to this bird was the large amount of white visible on the outside of the tail when it flew to the location where this shot was taken. That would be another reason to suspect this bird was a Smith's. I'll be paying closer attention on future Longspur sightings.  Thanks to those who helped ID this bird.

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