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Longspur misidentifications

I thought it would be helpful to mention that while I was present in person at Robb field yesterday, and then subsequently when a number of people have sent photos of the longspurs they took for confirmation, there appears to have been a fair amount of misidentification of the longspurs present. There are in fact three Chestnut collareds present, one winter plumage male and two female looking birds, one that has some pinkish on the bill and one that seems to have mostly a pale gray bill. It seems that a fair number of folks would call out mccowns or submit photos of mccowns that in fact is the chestnut collared that has a bit of pinkish on the bill. The bill is too small, the pink is not bright and complete enough, and there's too much patterning on the bird on the breast and the face pattern is a little bolder. The mccowns in addition to being plainer overall, and having a more swollen, totally pink bill except for a dusky tip, also is clearly paler overall in plumage and this is particularly noticeable in flight. The other problem involved the male Chestnut collared that has a bolder head pattern (as well as this lady gray wash on the belly). At least a couple people with photos thought it might be a lapland. As best I can tell, the only for sure Lapland seen the last couple days has been farther out toward the dog Beach area and not in the main part of the park, although obviously somebody might have detected it there correctly. Anyway, those folks who took bunches of photos may want to double-check all their identifications of the longspurs present.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports