24 March 2011

Smith's and such

If it's March or April and you see habitat like this in Iowa, best to check it for SMITH'S LONGSPURS:

Some competent birders did this weekend and found 19 SMITH'S LONGSPURS.  I had never seen a Smith's in breeding plumage before so I swung down to catch a glimpse.  For cover, the flock actually preferred corn stubble and rarely showed their orange fronts.  Here is a side profile of a male:

This Smith's was comfortable enough to sneak in a wing stretch:

If you have ever wondered why they're called "longspurs", it's because they have an extremely long spur (or hindclaw), as seen here:

Switching gears, flocks of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, like this one, aren't too uncommon in Iowa this time of year:

Back here at home, our resident 1st-winter HARRIS'S SPARROW is still a daily visitor to the yard:

Three PINE SISKINS dropped by my feeders; the first since October, 2010:

A partially leucistic DARK-EYED JUNCO also was a recent arrival to the feeders.  This is the first partially leucistic bird I think I've ever hosted at feeders: