Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-72b

Common name:

McCown's Longspur

Scientific name: Rhynchophanes mccownii
Date: 12-23-2017
Time: 3:00pmish
Length of time observed: 1/2 hour
Number:  2
Age: ?
Sex: ?
Location: Harold Crane WFMA
County: Weber
Elevation: 4212
Distance to bird: Less than 10m at closest
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x50 Binoculars,Vortex 20-60X spotting scope
Weather: Party Sunny, windy
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: 6.5in
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Small passerine
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: dull gray brownish overall
(Description:)            Bill Type: Stout
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Direct comparison with Lapland Longspurs, noted overall duller gray brown color without high contrast black streaking and white belly. Seemed larger,chubbier with a very large head and huge stout pink bill, strong supercilium gives them a look almost like a female House Sparrow. Noted dull black patch on breast. Also saw the rufous greater coverts, and mostly white tail with inverted black T in flight.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Heard various rattle calls of Longspurs, not sure if some were MCLO or LALO?
Behavior: Feeding in picklweed with HOLA and LALO
Habitat: Pickleweed playa
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Lapland Longspur-Higher contrast orange,black and white,smaller orangish bill, black cheeks, much less white in tail

Chestnut-collared Longspur-Duller uniform brownish, darker grayish bill,less white in tail

Smith's Longspur-Should have darker blackish cheeks and less white in tail, more buffy color overall with smaller orangish bill
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, saw a MCLO 2 years ago at Golden Spike
References consulted: Macaulay Library
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 84102,SLC,UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mike Hearell was with me, others saw them the next day
Date prepared: 12-25-2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist: