Date: 12/5/18 8:52 am
From: Nels Nelson <nelsnelson7...>
Subject: [obol] Sunset Beach Bunting Hunting 12-4-18

I had the privilege and distinct pleasure yesterday (12-4) of birding with
Ruth Morton and Hal Busch. We birded (driving in their vehicle and on
foot) from the Del Rey beach access, north to within view of the wreck of
the Peter Iredale, a total of 7.9 miles. We encountered the bunting flock
(36 birds in the flock, which included at least 2 Lapland Longspurs and the
putative McKay's Bunting) at a distance of 1.3 miles north of the Sunset
Beach access road, resting and feeding on the foredune. We parked well
back from the flock and proceeded cautiously on foot and quickly identified
the pale bunting (putative McKay's) and got good scope and bino views. I
took 200+ photos of the bunting flock over the course of a couple of

Attached is a photo showing two birds (extreme left and extreme right) that
seem to fit descriptions I've read about McKay's. They show lots of white
and minimal black in the tail, with black in the wings limited to the wing
tips. I'd be interested in comments from more experienced birders as to
their thoughts about these two birds.

Above is the link to a piece on McKay's Bunting written by Jason Rogers
which I found very informative. This article has some great
photos, including one of a female, with colors and feathers somewhat
similar to the bird we've been seeing here in Oregon.

As an aside, we saw close to 2,000 Dunlin, hundreds of Sanderlings, several
Lapland Longspurs, a Perigrine and a female N. Harrier and what appears in
my photos as a juvenile plover (Black-bellied or golden??), but haven't had
time to study the photos just yet.

I'll post my eBird report later when I get through reviewing the rest of my

Good Birding,
Nels Nelson


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