[midvalleybirds] Possible Chestnut-collared Longspur(s) plus larks, pipits n. of Plainview (Linn Co.)

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Thu Nov 21 12:24:54 PST 2019

After running an errand near Tangent this morning, I detoured on a loop through the Plainview/Ward Butte area east of Lebanon. 

Along the south side of Glaser Dr. from 0.5 mile to 1 mile east of Seven Mile Drive is a field that has recently been grazed down by sheep, creating good conditions for wintering larks and pipits. I stopped to watch small flocks of Savannah Sparrows and about a dozen Horned Larks right at roadside, taking time to check for bands on the larks. Most or all of the latter appeared to be the Threatened endemic subspecies, "STREAKED" HORNED LARKS (ssp. strigata). Of about 8 birds for which I got reasonably clear looks at the legs, none were banded. 

I also noticed a big flock of several hundred AMERICAN PIPITS (probably well upward of 400), mostly far out in the field to the south but with smaller groups occasionally flying over into the grass field on the north side of the road. A dozen or more Horned Larks were also out in that area, but mostly too far out for good looks. 

While parked there, five times in the space of a few minutes I heard a "kididdle" call from about 50 m to 80 m out, which immediately had me thinking of longspurs, but I never managed to locate the bird. From listening to recordings on Xeno-Canto after I returned home, what I heard seemed closest to Chestnut-collared Longspur as in this recording: [ https://www.xeno-canto.org/104375 | https://www.xeno-canto.org/104375 ] but I'm not 100% positive. 

There was also a large flock of Killdeer farther out in the field, and two subadult Bald Eagles were squabbling over something out of sight down in a swale, about a third of a mile out. One of the Horned Larks sang briefly in the bright sunshine. In short, there were a lot of interesting birds in this location. With continued good weather, hopefully others can get a look at whatever bird or birds were making that call. 

I checked for Say's Phoebes around Ward Butte where they often winter, but didn't find any. On my way back to Corvallis, along Davis Rd. a couple miles west/northwest of Shedd, I saw another flock of about 20 Horned Larks but didn't manage to get a decent look at any of them. 

Nice morning to be out there in the open spaces of southwestern Linn County. 

Joel Geier 
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis 

More information about the birding mailing list