Date: 10/25/17 10:14 am
From: <enhunn323...> [northbaybirds] <northbaybirds-noreply...>
Subject: [NBB] Lapland Longspur in Petaluma

This morning at 9:30 AM Nancy and I spotted a longspur with Killdeer, pipits, and Savannah Sparrows in a soccer field just north of the Sonoma Mountain Elementary School. Unfortunately, I had left my scope in the car so was unable to get a photo. The bird skulked as longspurs do in the grass, flew several times showing a limited white border to the short tail. Streaky back, clear white throat, pale yellowish-orangish face set off by a dark ear patch and post-ocular spot (but not a complete dark frame as might have been more usual), The nape was rather bright chestnut. The bill small, conical. We heard it call with a dry rattle on several occasions. I tried to turn it into a Chestnut-collared, but the limited white in the tail and the calls seems to rule that out, though it is not a heavily marked as I recall for Laplands.

This field and the adjacent fence line (the bird once flew over the barbed wire fence into the fallow field to the north, but then returned) are quite birdy at the moment. We glimpsed a Vesper Sparrow here a few days ago. There's a kite and a pair of Say's Phoebes in the field along with meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds and lots of Zonos.

Best approach is from Sonoma Mountain Parkway at Rainier Ave. in East Petaluma. Go up Rainier to Matzen Ranch Circle, turn right, then park at the edge of the field.

Gene Hunn

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