I had the pleasure of leading an Illinois Ornithological Society field trip for Smith’s Longspurs in McLean County this morning (April 8, 2017). We did manage a flock of seven and another flock of 28 birds — even in flight good enough looks for multiple lifers in the group — always a great feeling.
There is either a psychotic Western Meadowlark here that covered an immense amount of ground never leaving us, or this location has two to three males on territory (I think at least two).
After the trip wrapped-up, I roamed randomly looking for more longspurs and fluddles in Woodford County. I found another group of 15-20 Smith’s and a late Lapland back at the spot on 1500E between 2100 N and 2000N. Pictures of both species from this location are below.
My fluddle surveys included Pectorals, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and a group of almost 90 American Golden-Plover at one location that also had a searingly bright Brewer’s Blackbird.
It’s been awhile since I went AWOL birding in central Illinois. I imagine we are just getting started…
by Matt Fraker