It has been a good week for interesting birds. Evening Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, White-winged Crossbill and today a real beauty; a Lapland Longspur.
Lapland Longspurs nest on Arctic tundra and are circumpolar. In Europe they are known as Lapland Buntings.
They winter on open ground, such as plowed fields.
Lapland Longspurs are often found in flocks sharing habitat with Horned Lark and Snow Bunting.
Lapland Longspur diet in winter is mostly seeds from grasses and other plants. During the breeding season they also eat insects and other invertebrates. Lapland Longspurs spend almost all of their time foraging for seeds directly on the ground.
“Longspur” describes the elongated claw on its hind toe.
This likely helps them in searching for food on the ground, often in places where dense low vegetation is interspersed with patches of bare ground.
Thank-you to Judy Cazemier for these photos:
Species list: mute swan, red-necked grebe, Canada goose, mallard, gadwall, American black duck, American wigeon, bufflehead, hooded merganser, long-tailed duck, ring-billed gull, blue jay, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, American robin, cedar waxwing, European starling, house sparrow, northern cardinal, European starling, Lapland longspur, American tree sparrow, dark-eyed junco, American goldfinch. (24 species)
Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,—
In the wan moon’s silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play. – Joel Benton (1832–1911)