[Ontbirds] McCowan's Longspur - prince Edward County

Geoff Carpentier geoff.carpentier at gmail.com
Wed Dec 18 10:31:31 EST 2019

Yesterday on the Sandbanks CBC I found a presumed McCowan's Longspur on 
the beach along the Lakeview Trail (43.89269, -77.28151) in Sandbanks 
P.P. It was seen shortly thereafter by Peter Hogenbirk in flight at the 
same location. This was at about 12:30 p.m. About 2:30 p.m. Mike 
Ferguson and Tyler Hoar located what was presumed to be the same bird at 
43.88265, -7718601 on East Lake that is nearby.

My sighting involved a small brown bird exhibiting a very distinctive 
tail pattern that I describe as large white lateral patches in the outer 
central part of the tail, bordered centrally by a dark stripe running 
the length of the tail and then expanding across the end of the tail to 
form a T-pattern around the white. Tyler and Mike reported similar field 
marks but added that they also heard vocalizations from the bird that 
they said matched the McCowan's and they saw additional plumage details.

In my sighting the bird was very skittish and repeatedly flew in tight 
circles over the woods behind me, along the shore and out a little ways 
over the lake. In all instances the outstanding characteristic that I 
could always see was the dramatic tail pattern that ruled out Lapland, 
Chestnut-collared and Smith's Longspur. The pattern was bold enough that 
my first impression of the bird was of a Wheatear with its large white 
rump patches against a black-tipped tail and a pale brown back.

Obviously reports will be submitted to the OBRC with additional details. 
Unfortunately no photos could be taken as shortly after we had gathered 
enough information to consider an ID the bird flew off in the direction 
of where Tyler and Mike found it about two hours later. We did not have 
enough reference material with us yesterday to reach an identification 
hence the delay in reporting.

Thank you,

Geoff Carpentier
Contact me at: 905-852-2011 or avocetnatureservices at gmail.com
Visit my website: http://www.avocetnatureservices.com/
Environmental & Natural History Surveys and
Expedition & Personalized Guiding Services

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