Monday, December 31, 2012

Bird Out the Old Year

Horned Lark
It's the end of the year. We've had a little snow in Louisville, and I took photos of snow on the trees...very pretty. But didn't go out birding. Until I got an email from two of the best birders in Beckham Bird Club.

Horned Lark - horns up
Go to Chamberlin Lane, by the horse farm, and you might find some Horned Larks, Lapland Larkspurs, American Pippits, and if you are reaaallll lucky, maybe a Snow Bunting. This is the same field where they found the same birds, in the snow, a few years ago, so I jumped in the car and headed out. The field guide says the Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs both range in the "Arctic, circumpolar," meaning they breed all around the Arctic sea. I remember studying the Laps in Finland during the 4th grade. Obviously, these are not birds I would expect to find in Louisville, KY.
Lapland Larkspurs
 Although the farm is still rural, the area around it is rapidly turning to subdivisions. Cars drive down the rural road every few minutes now, so these flighty little birds would briefly land, then take off again to circle the field when the next car came by. With sunlight reflecting off the snow, it was hard to get a good look at them. But my friends confirmed that these 3 little birds, are in fact, the Lapland Longspurs.  Just think! They have come down from someplace near the North Pole!

Lapland Larkspurs on manure
The Horned Larks seemed to be eating the corn dropped in the field during harvest, while the Larkspurs were attracted to the piles of horse manure. Guess they were pulling out the re-cycled oats! I'm afraid these winter visitors will have to find a new feeding spot before long, and I'll have to drive much farther to find them.

Happy Birding to all in 2013!

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