Friday, September 21, 2012

Lapland Longspur

These two Lapland Longspur were a part of my splendid birding expedition around Cape Spear last Sunday morning.  I must have driven to the cape on at least a dozen occasions over the last two years in an attempt to see this species. I read a report and I drove. Unable to find the bird, I drove home, time and time again. 
This time I was pleasantly caught off guard.  I was walking "down" from the East Coast Trail, a welcome relief. There was a bit of a spring in my step because I had just seen my first male Common Yellowthroat.  I thought that was the prize of the day.  Still struggling to see through the lingering fog, I locked my binoculars on anything that moved.
I got a great surprise when I spied these two Lapland Longspur. They were picking at the gravel with another sparrow and would have stayed for a while, I'm sure. However, a dog came loping up the trail and everything with wings lifted off.  On the next day, 25 Lapland Longspur were reported, but they didn't seem to stay very long.

While this bird is an uncommon species in Newfoundland, there are still good chances that it will appear again at the Cape as the warm weather is replaced by cold. This bird breeds on the Arctic Tundra, so it is well-equipped to survive our winters.

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