Saturday, March 17, 2007

Elgin Longspurs

Liz and I took a short jaunt down to Elgin today to (pardon the expression) kill two birds with one stone. First we found our way to the rather remote public access road off Upper Elgin Road where several species of Longspurs have been reported. Once we arrived, a fellow birder directed us to a puddle of water where the birds seemed to be gathering. We saw tons of Western Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Horned Larks, and Vesper Sparrows. We got great looks at them all in the scope. In addition, we had a few fleeting opportunities to view male Chestnut-collared Longspurs who occasionally alighted by the puddle for a few seconds – usually just long enough for us to get a glimpse of them.

After a while we headed over to the “cow patty” field which is very aptly named! There were hundreds of Chestnut-collared Longspurs and, with the help of one “sparrow expert”, we were able to pick out a Lapland Longspur who was not quite in full breeding plumage. We were able to watch him for almost 10 minutes and got some really good looks as he sat atop his favorite cow patty. Also making showings today were Raven sp., Modo’s, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, and Loggerhead Shrike. The meadowlarks stole the show for me though as they were brilliant yellow in the sun today!

The other bird to kill, so to speak, was to visit some of the local Elgin wineries in search of a bottle of good red wine for my friend Kim. So, Liz and I stopped at the Sonoita Winery which had an excellent CabSav that pairs nicely with 55% cacao chocolates. Finally, on our way back, we hit the Grasslands Bakery/ CafĂ©. This is a wonderful little German bakery with healthy vegetarian food and not-so-healthy, but delicious baked goods. I had an early lunch of green chili and cheddar croissant while Liz opted for the healthier Chef’s salad. Unfortunately, neither of us had room for a Johnny Depp bar, but maybe next time. I also scored a quart of homemade sauerkraut. In Arizona no less – imagine that!

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