Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lark Bunting

Since this past weekend was one that was committed to being on-call for work, I didn't have much of a chance to have any grand birding excursions. Instead, I decided to do something I hadn't for far to long - I took a few hours Sunday morning to bird Tom Frost Reservoir. The Reservoir, (its a smallish pond), adjacent fields and open space create a large habitat area that is nice to have so close to home.
While I was out I was fortunate to get long looks at this male Lark Bunting. Even though I wasn't at an angle to get a good face shot it is still nice to get Colorado's State Bird a presence here in the blog.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that this guy was the first Lark Bunting I had recorded since starting my life list, and therefore a new life bird. I did a bit of data mining in eBird and saw that Broomfield County only had 4 previous records (it has only been a county since 1998), and that they all fall between the last week of July and the first week of September. It seems that the western individuals in this species will migrate along the Front Range of the Rockies, and stop to rest and reload at points along the way.

Without a pool of reference for comparison my best guess is that this male is just beginning it's fall molt. As it settles in for the winter anywhere from the extreme southern corner of Colorado to the middle of Mexico it will more closely resemble a Harris' Sparrow, with a dark face and overall brown streaky body, but retaining some white in its wing-bars.
Hopefully I don't have to wait another two years to see this bird again.
2010 Count: 187
Lifetime: 237

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