Lapland Longspur

The Lapland Longspur is a tiny sparrow like bird that nests in northern Canada and Alaska and winters in the United States from Nebraska through New England.  When in breeding plumage, males have a stunning black face, crown and bib with orange on the nape of the neck.  But one rarely sees them in breeding plumage  . . . rather non-breeding males and females (all the time) are more nondescript . . . brownish, with subtle black and white streaking,  blending into their surroundings.

Female Lapland Longspur

Most years, we see just a few Lapland Longspurs . . . often in agricultural field or even on farm manure piles.

Today, I was watching a flock of Honed Larks in their usual location at Brunswick Landing (the old Brunswick Naval Airstation) when I noticed not just one male Lapland Longspur in breeding plumage, but a spiffy second male and a single female.

Watched them for 40 minutes trying to get close enough for clear photos . . . but the birds were skittish and kept relocating on me.  

Anyway, a beautiful bird and a real thrill seeing the males before they head north toward the arctic.


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