Cancel My Flight


This week’s photo, taken April 18, 2015 at Westhaven State Park in Westport, WA, features a LAPLAND LONGSPUR, an adult male in breeding plumage.

When I lived in San Diego, I saw a few Lapland Longspurs during the winter months, but they were always sporting a drab combination of mostly light and dark brown feathers. In Washington state, a Longspur will likely show up as an uncommon migrant in the fall, and it will be wearing those same dull colors. It’s considered rare here during spring migration, which is unfortunate for bird-watchers since spring is when the adult male displays its most vibrant colors.

When I look at photos on the internet of Longspurs on their breeding grounds, I think how neat it would be to see those beauties when they are decked out in their flashiest outfits. But since they breed up around the Arctic, I’d have to fly to Alaska to view them at their best.

Surprisingly, last Saturday, while we were enjoying a family weekend at the Washington coast, I stumbled upon a male LAPLAND LONGSPUR in breeding plumage. I took some photos of this handsome fellow, and then I cancelled my flight to Alaska.



About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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4 Responses to Cancel My Flight

  1. Save money, see Washington first.

  2. jere mcinerney says:

    what a handsome fellow…..and lucky you for spotting one….I now have 3 bird feeders in my backyard and because of something i read in SD Audubon newsletter, I added a goldfinch, upside down feeder with the appropriate seed (Amazon has everything)… goldfinch so far..but i wait patiently in hopes that perhaps one will appear. In the meantime, 2 hummers are feeding outside my kitchen window on the flowering tree. I’m almost certain there is a nest somewhere, but have yet to locate it…..will keep you posted. happy spring. Jere >

  3. kathydoremus says:

    Yay! What fun. And in light of your good fortune, I reassign you to the “rare warbler” find. 🙂

  4. What a beauty! Thanks for sharing and thanks for inspiring a new vision for my “old” nature blog. Your one photo each week accompanied by only a few words is a fabulous idea, and your lighthearted but informative approach is fantastic. I hope you don’t mind if I adapt your idea.

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