Lapland Longspur

I could not have asked for better light or a pose with this shot (I did hope to be a little closer, though!) Lapland Longspurs are named for the long claws on their hind toes. Like their cousins, the Snow Buntings, these birds breed in the high Arctic in the spring and summer, and winter along Metro Vancouver coastlines. As a result, we are not privy to the males’ striking black faces, black caps, and bright yellow bills — but the attire they currently sport in the fall and winter isn’t exactly chopped liver, either. Three of these very active and adorable buntings were working the shoreline at the Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty on a sunny but very breezy evening on October 17!

© WHSIM Lapland Longspur on the Beach.jpg
this LALO leapt up on this log, (unintentionally) posing for my lens as the sun was setting.
f/6.3, 1/400, 500mm, ISO 400

LALOs aren’t flighty birds — but their restless natures make it quite difficult to obtain closeup stills. We only see a small handful of LALOs at a time, wandering the shorelines of local beaches. Like the Snows, Laplands are more likely to find birders rather than vice versa, while they forage about for insects and seeds; I’ll be looking to ID another bird species, and they will suddenly (and quite literally) pop up nearby. To learn more about Lapland Longspurs, visit their Cornell Lab of Ornithology allaboutbirds.org profile here.

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