Just over a week ago, someone reported a flock of mixed Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks about 7 miles (as the bike rolls) from my house. Last year I biked 286.2 miles over 14 trips through open areas where my primary targets were Lapland Longpsurs, Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes, and sometimes Golden Eagles. The only one I ever found was a Northern Shrike on an additional dedicated trip on December 29th!
So of course I tried to go chase those longspurs last weekend - but just a few blocks from home, it started snowing, earlier than forecast. I wasn't comfortable biking up that road in reduced visibility and with uncertain road surface conditions, so I turned around and went home. Then we got 8-10" of snow, and then the polar vortex set in, so I barely left my house last week.
Yesterday it was not only above 0 F, but also above freezing (!!!), so off I went on my bike. I rode my studded tires, but didn't end up needing them, as the roads were merely wet (which of course meant saltwater mist in my face the whole way...). At the same spot where previously reported, I found 22 Horned Larks... and a single Lapland Longspur!
|Lapland Longspur in front, Horned Lark behind. Edamame, anyone?|
|Lapland Longspur, at bottom left, wonders if it's really worth flushing yet again with those flighty larks...|
|Check out that eponymous spur!|
I'm tracking my green 2019 list in the sidebar (my 2018 list has been moved to its own page) and will keep my patch totals at the bottom of the list. So many lists to keep track of!