Smith's Longspur - N of Hagersville - Wed Feb 6
frankpinilla at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 6 17:43:24 EST 2002
I was at Oneida Concession 2 (just north of Hagersville along Hwy 6) and had
a pretty good couple of hours.
I arrived around 9:30am and saw a large flock of SNOW BUNTINGS (150+) and a
smaller one of HORNED LARKS (30+) but did not see the bird in question. I
then watched as 1 then later 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS came to the side of the
road (with Horned Larks) just west of the small bridge & stream. Also at
the bridge were a SONG SPARROW and a lightly marked SAVANNAH SPARROW feeding
on the side of the road right near the bridge. I stayed on hoping, and as
we were watching two light phased ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, an AMERICAN KESTREL &
2 RED-TAILED HAWKS, a female NORTHERN HARRIER started quartering over the
field on the north side, I turned to look at the Lapland Longspurs and as I
looked up I saw what I thought was the Harrier flying over the road but then
to my surprise, noticed the "moth-like" flight and dark wrist patches of a
SHORT-EARED OWL which landed in a willow on the south side of the road about
100m away, good views in the scope, could even see the "ears".
As I was pointing out the owl, we then had an orangey-buff bird fly over
with about 20 Horned Larks but the bird never landed (probably the SMLO but
could have been an American Pipit). After another 30-45 minutes, at around
11:15am (and less than 5 minutes after John Miles took off, sorry John) the
SMITH'S LONGSPUR was seen with the large flock of Snow Buntings picking up
grit at the side of the road, and as Terry Osborne notes with the Peel bird,
it seemed to stay beside rather than mixed in with the Buntings. I was able
to watch this bird for about 1 minute before it took off (10 seconds after
the rest of the flock). It's facial markings are pretty striking, somewhere
between the breeding plumage male and the winter plumage male in the
National Geographic Field Guide, also in flight you really can make out the
orangey colour even at the other side of the field (300-400m away), when it
lands the white outer retrices really show quite strongly. We were able to
see it in flight over the field and it landed out there as well but views
were quite distant and not enough when you're looking at such a rare find!
As you can tell from the above, it can be a bit of a wait sometimes (almost
2hrs for me today), nice life bird though! Thanks John (& group).
As I left the area I drove east on 2nd Concession and at the next house
along I had a very close-up view of a female RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and a
good sized flock of about 50 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS.
Richmond Hill, ON
Hwy 6 south from Hamilton, beyond Caledonia and the hamlet of Willow Grove
you will see Oneida Twp. Concession 2 running east/left, the field where the
Buntings, Larks & Longspurs are is around the small bridge on the left/north
side of 2nd Conc., stay on the road and the birds will eventually come to
you (might be best to have a scope though).
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"Frank Pinilla" <frankpinilla at hotmail.com>
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