Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-72a

Common name:

McCown's Longspur

Scientific name: Rhynchophanes mccownii
Date: 12-21-2017
Time: 10:25 am
Length of time observed: 15 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Harold S Crane WMA -Rainbow Unit
County: Weber
Elevation: ~4125
Distance to bird: 30 yards
Optical equipment: Vortex HD spotter & Canon sx50hs
Weather: Windy, cold. Winds out of the N & sunny.
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: 6
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Sparrow
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Light brown above, pale below
(Description:)            Bill Type: Sparrow like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Heavy pink bill. Pale auriculars that were absent of any distinct pattern, pale Buffy
Eyebrow . Rufous tone to median coverts. Crown absent of median stripe. Gray rump.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: N/A
Behavior: Feeding with HOLA and LALO, but in a lower posture. Would also occasionally feed with tail up which is something I haven t seen in LALO.
Habitat: Pickle Grass/Playa
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The heavy pink bill would eliminate all other longspurs. The rufous/rust on the median coverts would instead be on the greater coverts and/or tertials in a Lapland. Median crown stripe not being present would also eliminate Lapland. Other longspurs would have a different colored, much smaller bill and would have streaming on flanks.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Had spent a lot of time researching this and other Longspur sp after last weeks encounter with the probable MCLO. My exp with LALO is quite extensive. Winter plumages in Utah, breeding plumage in Nome, AK.
References consulted: Nat Geo & Sibley field guides, birds of NA 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: Matt Pendelton may have observed the same bird one day later. I do believe this to be a different bird than the one reported on the 16th.
Date prepared: 12-22-2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: