Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2021-18
Thick-billed (McCown's) Longspur
|Scientific name:||Rhynchophanes mccowni|
|Date:||January 24th and 25th, 2021|
|Length of time observed:||30 Minutes|
|Sex:||Male; transitioning into non-breeding plumage|
|Location:||Antelope Island State Park – Road to Garr Ranch|
|Distance to bird:||Approximately 20 meters|
|Optical equipment:||10x42 Nikon Monarch Binoculars, Swarovski 20x60 spotting scope, Canon 7D w/ 100-400mm lens.|
|Weather:||Overcast, intermittent snow flurries.|
|Light Conditions:||Good lighting, sun blocked by clouds.|
|Description: Size of bird:|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:|
|(Description:) Bill Type:|
Field Marks and
Non-breeding male in transitionary plumage feeding with 750+ Horned Larks on the
playa. Noted wide, conspicuous pale supercilium and throat, wrapping into
auriculars. Plain, pale grayish collar. Tan auriculars contrasting with throat,
eyebrow and collar. Thick, pink bill; much larger than Lapland in same flock.
Relatively plain upper parts with distinctive rusty median coverts. Black
chevron on upper breast. Grayish/white lower belly and flanks.
Distinct, inverted black “T” in tail, with extensive white outer tail feathers. Thin black border along bottom edge of the tail and dark central vein extending up vertically into rump (see photos).
eBird Checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S79866192
|Song or call & method of delivery:||Bubbly, “Pip-Pip” flight calls and short, 3-4 note rattles. Syllables of rattle calls spaced out further than Lapland and more musical. Heard well on several occasions as the flock swirled around us. Better audibles the following day with James Loveless and Terry Reid.|
|Behavior:||Foraging with large flock of Horned Larks.|
|Habitat:||Pickleweed/Short-grass Playa and mudflats.|
were they eliminated:
this & similar species:
Lapland Longspur: Shorter primary projection, rusty median wing coverts, thick
pale pink bill, paler and more plain overall plumage, extensive white in tail.
Chestnut-collared Longspur: Black “T” in tail, black in underparts limited to upper breast, thick pale pink bill, rusty median coverts.
Horned Lark: Not a Lark.
|References consulted:||Quite extensive experience gained this winter with McCown’s, Lapland, and Chestnut-collared Longspurs this winter. Have seen Lapland most frequently and am familiar with their call varieties. Have seen McCown’s during a handful of past winters in Utah and on their breeding grounds in Montana and the Dakotas; have seen Chestnut-collared on breeding territory in Montana and the Dakotas as well.|
|Description from:||NOTES TAKEN AT TIME OF SIGHTING, FROM PHOTOS|
|Observer's address:||2622 W Dry Creek Drive, Riverton, 84065|
|Observer's e-mail address:||**|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||Quinn Diaz, James Loveless, Terry Reid.|
|Date prepared:||March 10, 2021|