The turkey vultures were protecting their garbage can from me. Something must have been tasty in there!
As I got closer, one of them spread their wings and started hissing.
Least and semipalmated sandpipers along with five sanderlings have been on the beach for a while. Here are three of the sanderlings flying.
I have been seeing both osprey and bald eagles fishing the lake, but they have not been very cooperative for me photo wise. This immature bald eagle was perched right above my head for a while. A person walked between me and this bird, causing it to fly.
But the real surprise came today. While I was talking with another birder, waiting for an osprey, eagle, or something good to come by, I noticed a small bird flying above that landed in the brushy weeds in front of us. I thought I could see white outer tail feathers at first, but I couldn't tell. At first, I heard no sounds other than a chip. The bird stayed in the thick weeds for about an hour. I could see orange on the face of the bird, so I got excited. This is about the time of year that maybe my lifer LeConte's Sparrow would come through. I could only see the head mostly. This was about as good as it got for a long while:
The bird's head is in the center. From this view, it was hard to tell what it was. I was still hoping that it would show enough for an ID of LeConte's Sparrow.
Another birder and I watched the bird for a while. I was going to leave the bird unIDed and hope to see if the other birder got better pics than I. I decided to stick around and check the beach just one more time before I left. The other birder had done left. When I came back to the spot the bird was earlier, a man with a dog was very near here. The bird flew up and landed right in front of me.
What the heck? I thought. It is 81° and not even October yet. Can't be.
and then, the bird flew a bit and landed on a stick.
It has to be. I can see the bird's namesake!
I then said to myself: If it would just fly to a rock in the open by the water, I could confirm my ID. And, it wasn't long after, the bird did just that!
Yep! Look at that long spur! Definitely a Lapland Longspur!!! But what is one doing down here so early? Local records show that this bird is about 2-3 weeks early. Is this a sign of an early winter? Don't know. Maybe it will be a good year for what I consider to be snowbirds (Snow buntings and Lapland Longspurs)?
Very nice colors in the sun!
For local birders hoping to find this bird, it has been hanging in the patch of vegetation on the left hand side of the beach, the same spot that the upland sandpiper was.