[Tweeters] Longspur on Spencer Island and 27 Red neck phalaropes near LaConner

Richard Abbott rjabaa at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 2 21:03:44 PDT 2008

On Sunday 8/31, Josh Parrott and I were on Spencer Island at the Everett Sewage Ponds.  As we walked toward the south and then took the main trail that cuts through the wetlands, we came across a longspur just shortly in front of  the foot bridge that has a stream below with a fair amount of water flowing.  We were not able to be certain, but the bird seemed to display characteristics of the Chestnut-collared longspur (Sibley's drawing of a  first winter female comes closest to our impression of the bird) which would be a rare sighting.  It was a light tan color overall with a white belly and with blurry light brown streaks on the flanks.  There was a short white wingbar at the top of the wing.  There was not even a hint of rufous coloration.  The tail had relatively prominent white outer edges and was black in the center of the tail.  It had a very prominent eye ring with a large black eye.  The bill was bicolored with gray on the top
aspect of the upper mandible and the rest off the bill orangish.  The legs were a pinkish flesh color.  The bird stayed low to the ground and in fact walked along the trail in front of us for quite some distance.  We returned on 9/1 with the hopes of getting a photo of the bird.  If any of you are on Spencer Island keep you eye on the ground for the longspur.  It would be great if you see the bird and get a picture.  We are not certain of the species (a rare Chestnut-collared longspur or the more frequent Laplund longspur that happened to have no rufous coloration) and would love anyone's impression.

Dick Abbott and Josh Parrott

Today, 9/2, I was north of LaConner on Channel Drive.  At the north end of the road in the lagoons to the east of the road were 27 red neck phalaropes.  They were in their nonbreeding plumage and there were a few juveniles that still had some gold tint on their wings/back.

Dick Abbott

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