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Date:         Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:08:49 -0500
Reply-To:     Matt Ryan <dotmat@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Sender:       Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Matt Ryan <dotmat@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Subject:      Smith's Longspur
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Yesterday, Jan. 13, we made the drive up from the Savannah area to visit the Super Sod farm in Marshallville, accompanied by Steve Calver and Tim Miller. We arrived about 9:15AM and were soon enjoying distant scope views of the Smith's Longspur thanks to Steve's unbelievably accurate "bird radar".

Our first sighting was from Felton Rd., two-thirds of the way after we had passed the second side road but before we reached the third road. The Smith's was feeding with a few Horned Larks in what appeared to be non-sod vegetation that was slightly taller than the surrounding grass and contained some low-growing dark purple flowers.

The bird flew away and we drove on and turned into the third side road. Steve soon spotted an incoming flock of birds and this time we had better, closer views of the Smith's Longspur. Both Steve and Tim took photos. The Smith's was again feeding in an area with purple flowers and was in the company of American Pipits and Horned Larks.

We thought that the markings seen on the bird during the second sighting were a little more distinct and crisp than we had observed earlier and wondered whether it was the same, or a second, individual. We couldn't come to any conclusion on this question because lighting and observation distances differed for the two sightings.

Despite an extensive search for the next several hours, we never found a Lapland Longspur or a Sprague's Pipit.

Dot Bambach and Matt Ryan Savannah, GA Chatham County

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