Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-72

Common name:

McCown's Longspur

Scientific name: Rhynchophanes mccownii
Date: 12/16/2017
Time: 10:15 am
Length of time observed: 4 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Male
Location: West end Harold S Crane WMA - Rainbow Unit
County: Weber
Elevation: 4120
Distance to bird: 45 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovski HD Spotting Scope, Vortex HD Spotting Scope
Weather: Windy, overcast & snowing
Light Conditions: Poor
Description:        Size of bird: ~6
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Longspur/Sparrow
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Tan above, pale below
(Description:)            Bill Type: Broad based, Sparrow-like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Broad based bill, pale auriculars that were absent of any noticeable pattern, fading black crescent-shaped patch at upper chest consistent with McCown s. Did not get good looks from the side or from the tail pattern. Squatty Longspur like posture.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: N/A
Behavior: Feeding/resting on playa with flock of HOLA.
Habitat: Playa.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Auriculars too pale for Lapland, black crescent-shaped patch eliminates Smith s, and thick broad based pinkish bill doesn t fit any of the longspurs other than McCown s.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Very experienced with LALO from Alaska and multiple encounters annually with them locally in Winter plumage. I have only seen one McCown s Longspur prior to this one.
References consulted: Nat Geo Field Guide, Sibley s Field Guide, Birds of North America Online, Macaulay Library.
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Mike Hearell
Observer's address: Pleasant View, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Taylor Abbott
Date prepared: 12/19/2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: McCown s is what I thought this bird was in the field. Only reported as such after researching.