[Tweeters] McCowns longspur at uw urban horticulture center-Detail on the sighting (long)

Mike Wile mikewile at comcast.net
Sat Jun 8 23:37:35 PDT 2013

Hello Tweets-

Matt Bartels asked me to post more details regarding my sighting today on
the fill behind the UW Urban Horticulture Center.

So, here is what I saw:

My wife and I were walking the gravel trail clockwise. The trail goes
directly towards the bay, then bends to the right to follow the bay towards
the UW football stadium. Shortly after this bend, you enter a stretch of
grasslands on the right. This is where we first saw the bird(s) in
question. One was standing in the middle of the trail with two savannah
sparrows. I raised my binos but did not get a good look before it flew.
However, in flight (flying to the right and away from me), I did take note
of a largely white tail with a dark median and a dark terminal band. As I
initially saw little else in the way of field marks, I was left perplexed at
what it could be. I did not see it land back on the trail, but about 50
yards farther up, we came upon another bird standing in the middle of the
trail (which is why I said there may have been two). This time I had about
a ten second look at the bird from roughly 15 yards away. For the most
part, it was facing me. During this time, I noted the following:

* black cap on the head
* somewhat dark malar stripes
* relatively thin (approx 1 -1.5 cm) very distinct black breast band below a
white throat
* dark bill
* some rufous in the wings, though I could not tell exactly where.

I handed my binos to my wife so she could take a look. I did not have a
field guide, but have iBird Pro on my iPhone. I immediately thought
McCown's from experience, though years ago, seeing many of them in Wyoming.
So, I looked this bird up on iBird. The bird looked very similar to the
picture in the app, other than I felt the lower chest and belly on the bird
I saw was grayer than the picture. After retrieving the binos, I got one
more quick look before it took off again. For the second time, I had a good
look at the tail which confirmed what I saw earlier. This time, the bird
landed behind us, between us and another birder we had met earlier. I tried
to draw his attention to the bird, but a jogger passed us and flushed it
again. This time, it flew back towards the trees and out of sight. We
continued down the path, meeting another birding couple (sorry, did not get
their names) who had seen the bird earlier. I showed them the picture on
the iPhone and they seemed to agree that was what they saw. We left them as
they were calling Connie.

I then stopped to review Lapland (which I have seen thousands of in Alaska)
and chestnut-collared (which I have also seen in Wyoming). My thoughts on
this were:

* Way too much white in the tail and not nearly enough black on the
face/breast for Lapland
* Not enough black on the breast and the presence of the malar stripes make
chestnut-collared I tough call.

Considering all this, I sent out the initial report.

Anyways, that is what I saw.


Mike Wile
Redmond, WA
mikewile at comcast.net

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Mike Wile
Sent: Saturday, June 08, 2013 10:59 AM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] McCowns longspur at uw urban horticulture center

15 minutes ago on the gravel trail near the Jesse green park bench
overlooking the uw stadium. Flushed a couple times as people ran by but
returned 3 or 4 times. Possibility there are two

Mike Wile
Mikewile at comcast.net

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