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 in basic plumage

3. Locality: Parish:   Caddo___________________________________________

   Specific Locality: Shreveport airport____________________________________

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

5. Time(s) of day when observed: approximately 13:55 (we started walking at 13:40)

6. Reporting observer and address:

Jim Holmes

Sacramento, CA 95817


7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Terry Davis, others on the LOS Winter meeting trip to the airport

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): initially identified by Terry Davis

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):  overcast

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarvoski EL 42 (new)

11. Distance to bird(s): as close as 25 feet when flushed

12. Duration of observation: birds flushed on several occasions and watched at leisure as they circled around in flight. 

13. Habitat: Shreveport airport with short grasses and bare ground.  I believe the grasses are Aristida grasses.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): Birds were flushed from the ground.  They both called as they flew up.  Initially, one single bird was flushed and was watched in flight. After being flushed, it joined the flock of Smith’s Longspurs that were circling us.  They all landed ~100 yards from us.  We walked that way and when flushing the Smith’s Longspurs again, we flushed two Chestnut-collard Longspurs (the initial and a 2nd bird).  All the longspurs landed in the grass and we flushed them again with similar results (called as they flushed and then flew around with the Smith’s).  

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): A small brown passerine flushed from the ground.  It was dull brown.  In flight with the Smith’s Longspurs, it was slightly smaller but the size difference was clearly apparent.  I was unable to appreciate any difference in white in the tail between the Chestnut-collared and Smith’s Longspurs.  Both birds appeared to be winter plumage females (no dark on chest or chestnut collar noted).  Birds were not seen well enough on the ground to identify.

16. Voice: Both birds called several times when flushed.  The call was two syllable “kit-tal” given 3-4 times as it flushed.  At the time we first flushed the initial chestnut-collared longspur, I said, “that is a different longspur, get on it.”  I immediately realized it was not Smith’s (which we had already flushed and heard) or Lapland (which I am more familiar with).  At the same time, Terry Davis called it a “Chestnut-collared”.  The bird flew up in the air and joined the Smith’s.  I immediately played a recording of both Chestnut-collared and McCown’s Longspurs (from www.allaboutbirds.org).  The Chestnut-collared Longspur call on this website matched the call of the longspur we flushed.  Shortly after this we flushed a second bird that gave a similar call (kit-tal), and it too joined the Smith’s in flight. 

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

Other species of longspurs were ruled out by voice.  In addition, direct comparison in flight revealed the Chestnut-collared to be smaller and perhaps plainer than the Smith’s.  I was unable to appreciate any differences in white in the tail between the two species.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Tape recordings of both the Chestnut-collared and Smith’s longspurs were obtained by Terry Davis. I have a copy if needed.

19. Previous experience with this species: I have seen this species on multiple occasions in California, Nevada, Arizona and on its breeding grounds in Colorado.  I was not, however, familiar enough with the call to know what it was without hearing a recording of its call immediately after.

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


a. at time of observation: www.allaboutbirds.org website was used to listen to the call immediately after.  This website has several recordings of Chestnut-collared Longspur song and one recording of its call. I listened to the recording of its call.

b. after observation:

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);___X__notes made after the observation (date:_Jan. 26, 2013); _____memory.

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

23. Date:_February 16, 2013_________Time:10:30am (Pacific)