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NVBIRDS  October 2012

NVBIRDS October 2012

Subject:

Longspur (Lapland?) at Pyramid Lake Delta

From:

Rick/Meg Andrews <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rick/Meg Andrews <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 15:23:12 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (49 lines)

I spent a lovely day out at Pyramid Lake.  Temps were in the high 60s to low 
70's with a mild breeze.  


I started out at the Willows, where I found the possible female/immature Purple 
Finch that Martin found a few days ago.  Most of the other birds there were the 
same that Martin and Dennis mentioned, except I did have a female Varied Thrush, 
and didn't find the Yellow Warbler or the Canyon Wren.  


I stopped at various places along the way south.  I did have a female Bufflehead 
near the marina, and a few Greater Scaup at several locations.  Still no Suft 
Scoters that I could see.

At the Delta, there were 4 Tundra Swans, and 7 White Pelicans.  I walked along 
the edge of the mud towards the furthest part of the bay, when I spotted a very 
bright, fat bird on the mudflat.  There were several American Pipits nearby, and 
a few Least Sandpipers.  After watching this bird for about an hour, I was 
convinced it was a Longspur, but I wasn't sure what kind, since I had stupidly 
left my guidebook back in the car.  I retrieved the book and returned to watch 
the bird, and I am pretty certain it was a Lapland Longspur.  I believe it was 
an adult male in nonbreeding plumage.  It had long, drooping wings with long 
dark primary tips, and the greater wing coverts were rufous, with a thin white 
wing bar.  The face was very buffy, almost ocher-colored (but maybe that was the 
lighting).  A short distance behind its eye was a black line that circled around 
its cheek.  Outside of this dark line was some white.  The nape was chestnut.  
The belly was white with some broken streaks along its side and along its 
shoulder.  It also had a triangular black patch on its breast.  I never could 
see its tail pattern--any white on its tail was hidden, and it never flew.  It 
had 2 dark stripes on top of its head.  I have really no experience with 
Longspurs, so if someone has a better idea, please let me know.  I do know that 
this bird is a lot easier to see, waddling around an open mudflat, that to try 
to find one in a field, flitting around with several hundred horned larks!

If someone wants to find this bird, I can tell you that for the 2  hours I 
watched it, it never moved more than 10', and it was eating non-stop (I swear it 
was waddling when it walked).  Take the delta dirt road (by the lone cottonwood 
tree--let me know if you don't know where that is).  At the fork, stay left and 
park at the wide spot in the road.  Walk down towards the beach, but stay near 
the vegetation line (it is pretty mucky in spots).  Walk south about 250-300', 
and look for the tire about half-way between the water and the vegetation line.  
About 50' south of that is a somewhat flattened aluminum can, and just south of 
that is a small wet spot, 30-50 feet in from the shore.  That is where the bird 
was hanging out.  


Meg Andrews
Reno, NV

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