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.
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.