Field Birding

That would be in an actual field.

Today I went back out in to the St-Clet fields, it was bright, if cool, and I fancied another go at a Rough-legged Hawk in better light.

As it happened, the hawks were having none of it, preferring to stay well away from my vantage point. When I was there a couple of days ago, I had good numbers of American Pipits and especially Horned Larks. So I reverted to plan B and settled in to try to get better views and maybe photos.

A Merlin made everything naturally skittish, and the repeated dreads didn’t help, but I did manage a few images and I got close looks at one Horned Lark that I believe to be a Hoyt’s. If you have no idea what I’m on about I don’t blame you.

In our area, the commonest migrant Horned Lark subspecies should be Northern Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris alpestris, but, we also get the smaller, white-faced Prairie Horned Lark Eremophila a praticola. The other one is the Hoyt’s Horned Lark Eremophila a hotyi which should be frequent enough, is as large as northern and has a white supercilium and a pale yellow wash restricted to the centre of the white throat.

If you want to read more, admittedly in an Ontario context, then follow the link.

It made for interesting watching, and you wonder just how many of each subspecies are present in the flocks of Horned Larks in the area. It was also interesting to read up and realise the all the Horned Larks that we see after late summer are in adult plumage, including the hatch-year birds.

Here is a selection of Horned Lark shots from today and previously, including one that was sat on a fence in Nevada and is therefore of a subspecies not encountered in Quebec, presumably. Note the heftier bill.

IMG_9358 (2) IMG_9130 (2) IMG_9138 (2) IMG_9158 (2) IMG_9165 (2) IMG_9125 (2) IMG_9127 IMG_8954 (2) IMG_8953 (2) IMG_8941 (2) IMG_8177 IMG_8058 IMG_8056 IMG_8009

The same field had ten American Pipits in it. They strutted, as they do, but when the Merlin hurtled over, they didn’t fly but squatted down pretending to be chaff.

IMG_9284 (2) IMG_9176 (2) IMG_9094 (2) IMG_9072 (2) IMG_9049 (2) IMG_9033 (2) IMG_9030 (2)

There is no sign of winter’s impending arrival than Snow Buntings – at least ten there today.

IMG_9348 (2) IMG_9345 (2)

Also three Lapland Longspurs were around. I try to get a good look at the autumn longspurs, you never know your luck in finding a rare one, it didn’t happen this time though.

IMG_9326 (2)

Finally, I went to the St-Lazare sand pits before going out into the fields, nothing much changed except the arrival of some Buffleheads. As I watched geese arrived to loaf so I grabbed this shot of them whiffling in.

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And now a vaguely subliminal message – buy my eBooks, repeat ad-nauseam – thanks.


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