Lapland Longspurs
Category: Birding at the Chico
Large flocks of Horned Larks are currently on the Chico grasslands, best found near water troughs.  Mixed with the common Horned Larks and greatly outnumbered by them, are some Lapland Longspurs, nervous members of the flock.  Both species land cautiously near water troughs in search of precious water.  Even the sound of my camera's auto focus sent the flocks spiraling out of sight, followed by a cautious returing for a needed drink.

Of the four species of longspurs, the one most likely encountered on the Chico in the winter are Laplands, winter vistors from the far north.  Listen for any flock of larks for the dry Lapland Longspur rattle calls followed by one or more "tews" and with patience the entire flock may land near your car blind.
Posted by Bill M. on 12/05/2010

Category: Birding at the Chico
In Cooleridge's poem "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner", sailors were becalmed in the ocean where they soon ran out of fresh water ... "water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink." On ranches, water troughs, set up to keep livestock wattered throught the year, freeze during winter months sending some bird species farther south to search for needed water.  Howerver, before a hard freeze, cattle keep water tanks open providing water for prairie birds.
Posted by Bill M. on 12/05/2010

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