Bird Observer - The New England Birding Journal

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

April 2016

Vol. 44, No. 2

The Obscurest of Obscure Birds: Smith’s Longspur

Soheil Zendeh

Smith’s Longspur. Photograph by Norman Hyett.

My first post to Massbird on December 22, 2015, noted nothing extraordinary:

Despite the efforts of 18 wind-blown searchers on Monday, Dec 21, no Swainson’s Hawk was seen at Bear Creek in Saugus. However, 2 new count week species for the Greater Boston CBC were added: a Rough-legged Hawk and a Lapland Longspur.

This was in the wake of the Saugus Christmas Bird Count crew finding a Swainson’s Hawk at the Bear Creek wildlife sanctuary on Sunday, December 20, 2015. I mentioned finding the longspur for CBC count week. I assumed it was a Lapland because—what else could it be? Jan Smith heard a longspur fly over and Tim Factor saw it land and take off several times and saw the conspicuously white outer tail feathers. We all expected to find a Lapland—and there it was. Too bad, we thought, that the bird had not been found on count day.

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