I really wasn’t planning on birding today or trying to push Evan’s life list total. Honest. We’re only after a couple species of ducks now, so it isn’t worth driving to Willmar each day just to scan through the hundreds of birds for the one we want. Steve and I are keeping watch for each other’s target birds, and since he checks the lake each day we are just waiting for the call on our species.
Steve is doing a Big Year competition with his brother, and one of his latest targets is the Lapland Longspur, a sparrow-size bird that is only around in the winter. Today when I left work I decided on a whim to take a different, albeit indirect, route home on some gravel roads. I saw plenty of birds but nothing terribly interesting until I made my final turn just a mile from my house. A large flock of darker sparrow-sized birds flushed into the corn stubble. They fit the profile of the Lapland Longspur. I watched them in the field for a bit and then texted Steve that I think I found his bird.
After supper Steve called me and said he wanted to come out to take a look. Ten minutes later, Evan and I hopped into Steve’s car to look for our target. I just expected we’d race out to the spot to check, but Steve has a keen eye and stopped to check out some birds along the way. It’s a good thing we did because we might have missed this bird for #96 – the Western Meadowlark.
A couple minutes later we were at our destination, and I spotted movement in the black field in front of us right away. We glassed the field and found our target, #97, the Lapland Longspur! There were about 50 of these guys busily moving in the plowed field. It was tough to get a decent picture. We got to watch them for about 5 minutes before something scared them off.
This was classic birding to get our target and add a couple birds to our life lists all while helping a fellow birder. So, what will Evan’s 100th be? I’ve got something up my sleeve to make #100 extra special. I’m just worried that we’ll hit 100 before this plan takes shape!