[Tweeters] follow-up on possible Sprague's Pipit - false alarm

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 14 20:57:07 PDT 2016

Hi all -
I just got a look at a photo of the bird reported as a possible Sprague’s Pipit on eBird recently, that Blair mentioned.

It looks definitive for a juvie Horned Lark - if you’ve run across young Horned Larks in the field, you know how completely unlike adults they can look, and can understand how Sprague’s Pipit might come to mind.

Not to say we shouldn’t have our eyes open for Sprague’s Pipit in the state - both Oregon & British Columbia have records of that species, so it certainly one we might find before long. Oregon’s two records come from October & January, but BC records [maybe a half dozen] seem to be from June-Sep, so more like the current season.

Want more speculation on possible new state birds? [here comes the plug] - The latest issue of WOS News includes an article I put together with discussion of the topic, including predictions from 17 state birders guessing what the next birds for the state will be - fortunately, no one took the technically correct but not as exciting route of predicting Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay - a new species for the state list by virtue of the recent Western Scrub-Jay split [we’ve got one record in the state for Woodhouse’s , the rest of our Scrub-Jays are now California Scrub-Jay].

Take a look at the article, linked below, if interested in speculation and guesswork!
http://wos.org/newsletters/current/predicting-the-new-wa-state-birds/ <http://wos.org/newsletters/current/predicting-the-new-wa-state-birds/>

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

> On Jul 14, 2016, at 2:53 PM, B B <birder4184 at yahoo.com> wrote:


> Apologies for any typos but my computer is down with virus so phone only.


> Yesterday an Ebird report included a Sprague's Pipit on Baird's Springs Road in the Beezely Hills north of Quincy in Grant County.


> Jon Houghton and I were returning from a fun 2 day trip to Eastern WA and when we hit the I-90 and I-82intersection, since it would be a life bird for each of us, we decided to give it a try despite not knowing the observers and the report not including photos that were said to be added later. We did NOT find the bird but provide this info for anyone who might be inclined to look.


> The Ebird report says the bird was gound between Monument Road and J Road on Baird Springs. However the map point included in Ebird is about 2 miles further East. We covered the entire area. The road is partially paved and partially gravel...both good and not busy. There is some wonderful sage and some grassland/wheatfields partially cultivated.


> The Pipit was reported associating with a small group of Horned Larks. We found a few individual Horned Larks. The report covered 6 kilometers over 1+ hours. We spent 90+ minutes covering maybe 5 miles. It is a BIG area and a Pipit could easily be there and not seen.


> A bummer to not find the possible Pipit but it was an interesting and worthwhile visit. We had 25+ Lark Sparrows, 4 or 5 Loggerhead Shrikes, a Sage Thrasher and a couple Vesper Sparrows. No Partridges (as reported) but definitely good habitat. The sage was really healthy and would be worth a visit in the Spring.


> Hope the bird is really there and is foun again. Good luck and hope this helps.


> Blair Bernson


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