Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Search for Smitty

A Smith's Longspur has been hanging around at Jones Beach on Long Island for about 3 weeks now. After getting lucky with the Ivory Gull last Monday, I decided to try my luck for the Smith's on Saturday. Well, I guess lightning doesn't strike twice. The bird was not seen during the 2.5 hours or so that I spent there. When I arrived, I saw a group of birders with their scopes all pointed in the same direction and thought I would get lucky. They were just scanning for the bird. The habitat, which I guess would be considered sand dunes and tufts of dune grass, made it really difficult to see the birds. Flocks of buntings and longspurs would flutter into the air and circle for a while, then you would hope that they would touch down someplace where you could see them. Sometimes they would be close and sometimes they would disappear for a while behind the dunes. And when they did land, you hoped and prayed that they didn't hide behind the tufts of dune grass. Despite the failed search, I did get to see lots of Snow Buntings, a handful of Horned Larks, and a spectacular almost-breeding-plumage Lapland Longspur. And, of course, the bird reappeared in the afternoon after I had left. Corey, from Lovely, Dark, and Deep who I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with for a while, has some great pictures of the day on his site.

2 comments:

Larry said...

I tried finding Lapland Longspurs but haven't had any luck yet.-Sounds like you get some pretty good birds in your area.

Patrick Belardo said...

Larry, come on down to NJ. We get amazing birds here. I'd be glad to show you around. Smith's Longspurs and Ivory Gulls don't appear every decade though! :)