Monday, 13 April 2015

Kingston Lark Sparrow

On this warm spring evening Erica and I were pulling in to our local mini putt establishment when I got a text message from Mark Read that read "Just found a Lark Sparrow at Lemoine Point.". Yep, he didn't even include an exclamation mark. So, with less than an hour of daylight left, we headed for Lemoine Point.

As we arrived we could see Mark and fellow Kingston birder James Barber up ahead on the path, faithfully keeping an eye on the prize:

So there it was. We all enjoyed this rare bird from the mid-west before it eventually flew into some nearby pines to hopefully spend the night.

As mentioned above, Lark Sparrow is primarily a bird of the central US, regularly reaching into Canada in southern BC and the southern prairies. It is also rare but regular in southern Ontario with up to about 5 records per year. It is a species that could be expected here more often in years of extreme drought in the core of its range, like this year. This must be one of the earliest spring arrivals of this species in Ontario - the only earlier date I could find was one on 10 April 2010 from Pelee Island - most records fall in late April or early May.

The great thing about seeing this bird was that it meant two rare birds in Frontenac County in two days after Mark and I found this wayward White-crowned Pigeon on Wolfe Island yesterday. 

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