Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2013-04a
|Scientific name:||Calcarius mccownii|
|Date:||January 6, 2013|
|Length of time observed:||Seen briefly twice in the vicinity of ~9:15-9:25 AM|
|Location:||Fields near Harold Crane WMA on 900S, Looking north from: ~~41.2505904,-112.19481 Possibly NW of the green marker here: https://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=41.2505904,-112.19481&ll=41.2505904,-112.19481|
|Distance to bird:||~150-250 yards.|
|Optical equipment:||25-50X Leica APO Televid Telescope|
|Weather:||Overcast, even light, light wind. Very cold (~10-15 degrees F).|
|Description: Size of bird:|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:|
|(Description:) Bill Type:|
Field Marks and
Field Notes (in italics) written shortly after the encounter:
I viewed it twice through a scope. The first time I could not figure out what plain-headed species I was staring at, since I only saw the head as it foraged around. It was fairly big-headed and bulky-billed, with a wide pale supercilium that contrasted a bit with the slightly less pale, creamy, auriculars. Pale throat with a subtle malar line. Definitely did NOT have a central crown stripe (uniform washed-out light brown forehead/head).
The second time I had a better, more prolonged, look. I noted the same head pattern and size/shape (big/bulky head & bill in comparison to the rest of the bird). It also took flight briefly, and white wedges on the tail were evident. They were on both sides of the tail, and ran the length, widest at the tip, and narrowest at the base. Saw this briefly, but definitively. It was loosely associating with 3-4 Lapland Longspurs, and I was able to look at it in direct comparison to them, before ceding my scope to Ryan O'Donnell shortly before everything spooked because of the Northern Shrike.
|Song or call & method of delivery:|
were they eliminated:
|The overall size, shape, and behavior narrow this down to one of our field-dwelling birds, of which Snow Bunting and Horned Lark are easily eliminated by facial pattern and lack of obvious white around head and upperparts/wings (The absence of the latter features eliminating Snow Bunting). The plain face also eliminated another initially likely candidate in Lapland Longspur, and it was viewed next to other Lapland Longspurs. I have extensive experience with Lapland Longspurs from both winters on the East Coast, and from seeing thousands each of the last two years on St. Paul Island, Alaska (in almost all plumages). The plain face and wings narrow it down to either McCown’s or Chestnut-collared Longspur, with the obvious white wedges in the tail and bulky, thick bill being diagnostic for McCown’s Longspur, as Chestnut-collared never shows such extensive white in the tail, especially in that particular shape, and doesn’t have as bulky a bill. I have seen McCown’s Longspurs twice previously, both in March 2012 in Kansas, one encounter including over a hundred individuals which I was able to spend a lot of time with.|
this & similar species:
"I have extensive experience with Lapland Longspurs from both winters on the
East Coast, and from seeing thousands each of the last two years on St. Paul
Island, Alaska (in almost all plumages)."
"I have seen McCown’s Longspurs twice previously, both in March 2012 in Kansas, one encounter including over a hundred individuals which I was able to spend a lot of time with."
|Observer's address:||1312 Ditmas Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11226|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||Ryan O’Donnell, At least one other independent observer (Mike Hearell??) with whom I wasn’t acquainted.|
|Date prepared:||February 7, 2013|
|Additional material:||Original Document (PDF)|