This morning at 10 am, there were still at least 100 longspurs at the exact
same location reported by Matt Dufort yesterday. Thank you, Matt!
It was rainy and the longspurs kept flying around, so we only got good looks
at 4 - 5, which were clearly Lapland. We did not find the chestnut-collared,
but since we hadn't seen laplands in a long time, that was a pretty good treat
right there. To top it off, there were a number of horned larks and
meadowlarks, and together with the laplands, their songs made quite a
We stopped back around 11:30 and could not refind the longspurs, but the
other larks were still there.
Subject: Chestnut-collared Longspur in Dakota Co.
From: Matt Dufort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Matt Dufort <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 20:32:48 -0500
I spent the day birding from the twin cities area down to Lake Byllesby.
Not surprisingly, there were lots of other birders out and about.
The big highlight of the day was a Chestnut-collared Longspur, observed
around 12:30 among a large flock (500+) of Lapland Longspurs at the Randolph
industrial site in Dakota County. This site is just off MN Hwy 56 (Randolph
Blvd) north of Randolph. From Hwy 56, turn west onto 284th St E. It's
essentially a small network of roads that don't connect to anything, but run
through some really nice grassland habitat. The longspur flock was moving
around a lot, frequenting fields on the north and south sides of the road
west of the first stop sign. The vegetation south of the road makes it
impossible to see them when they're on the ground; the field north of the
road is bare stubble, and they spent a lot of time feeding in it. The
majority of the flock departed to the north around 1:00, but is probably
still in the general area.
At the time the Chestnut-collared appeared, I was with Steve Weston and
another birder. The Chestnut-collared was seen only in flight - it made
several passes by us, giving a unique flight call. I was able to follow it
for 30-45 seconds and see the extensive black on the breast and sides
contrasting with the pale face, as well as the white wedges in the tail,
which were much more extensive and differently-shaped than the Laplands.
Unfortunately we weren't ever able to find it on the ground to get longer
looks. We also spent a long time looking for Smith's Longspurs in the
flock, without success.
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