LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     

1. English and Scientific names: Chestnut-collared Longspur Calcarius ornatus

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

Two individuals in basic plumage; sex not noted.

3. Locality: Parish:______Caddo Parish_______________________________

†† Specific Locality: ____Shreveport Regional Airport_____________________

4. Date(s) when observed: January 26, 2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 2:00 pm

6. Reporting observer and address: John Dillon, Athens, LA 71003

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):Terry Davis, Jay Huner, Ed Wallace, and about 20 others on a field trip for LOS Winter Meeting.

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): Terry Davis was first to ID. I canít say who among the 20 or so present was able to hear or see them well enough to know what they were.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Overcast but not dark.Almost no wind to dampen sound of calls. All longspur sp. were in open grassy fields, so there was nothing to block the view.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):Alpen 8X42 binoculars, excellent condition.

11. Distance to bird(s): as close as 10 feet when flushed and calling.

12. Duration of observation:We flushed the same birds 5 or 6 times over 20-30 minutes in order to try for vocal recordings and verify the ID.

13. Habitat:Large expanses of short-grass fields, mostly dry. Grass pretty sparse with many patches of lichen throughout.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): Both individuals were with 12 Smithís Longspurs; all birds flushed close (as much as 20 feet away and as close as 10), made wide circles for 3-5 minutes each time, then went down again in the same field.Unable to see the birds at any time while on the ground.Same them flush closely enough to see overall coloration (no details that I saw, though), and they only occasionally circled closely enough to see coloration; mostly were silhouetted while flying.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): Bulky, sparrow/pipit-like birds flushed at close range (again, as close as 10 feet).Both CCLO were with 12 SMLO.No other species with the flock. At the very first flushing of the flock, I was able to see the overall pale buffy coloration of the SMLO with no problem.Then, right after about 9 or 10 of the SMLO flushed, another bird or two flushed while we had all stopped walking, and it gave off a much lower, more liquidy rattle; after a few seconds, Terry Davis said, ďThat was a Chestnut-collared.ĒThe same scenario (varying only slightly in distance and light direction) happened 4 or 5 more times.However, after we flushed the birds the 2nd time and 1 CCLO had flushed with them, we all stopped for a bit to watch them circle and listen; I took about 3 steps forward and flushed the 2nd CCLO.The rattle was so different from the SMLO rattle (being given liberally) that 2 or 3 of us said immediately, ďThere are two!ĒBecause we could not spot the birds on the ground with binoculars or scopes, I never got any looks at plumage details while they were sitting.But when we flushed the birds the 2nd time, and I spooked the 2nd CCLO very close to me, it was easy to see that it was far too pale and light grayish to be a SMLO.

16. Voice:I tried for 3 different voice recordings and never got them on tape; Terry said he did, but I havenít heard it.The rattle was obviously much lower pitched and more liquidly than the SMLO, which I did manage to record.SMLO sounds high and weak, almost insect-like.What we heard when the CCLO flushed was a much more robust, almost aggressive rattle.The few recordings of the CCLO rattle I could find online were spot-on.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): See above (15 and 16), but in general, the rattles these 2 birds gave were a match for CCLO and no other longspur, sparrow, or pipit species.Didnít see enough plumage details to count for much except to know they werenít SMLO, but I think the rattles confirm CCLO (considering the habitat and that we flushed them several times) even without plumage details.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): No.

19. Previous experience with this species: Iíve seen them in alternate plumage at the Pawnee National Grassland in Colorado, but Iíd never heard them rattle before.

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation: Terry Davis was the first to ID them on voice.I played CCLO on my phone (Sibley iPhone app) to check while in the field, and it was a match.Looked at plumage descriptions, but it was pointless.

b. after observation: played other recordings from Xeno-Canto to help confirm.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); ___X__memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes, positive.