Lapland Longspur has been one of my biggest “nemesis birds” in Duval County…they used to be somewhat “regular” at Huguenot Memorial Park in the old days but I think the last credible report is from 2002. I asked Roger Clark about them many years ago and his advice was to “work the edge of the dunes” in winter, something that I’ve done probably (literally) hundreds of times now for around 15 years. In inclement or cold weather, I’d make the rounds in the 4×4 but otherwise on foot…always with Laplands in mind. Snow Buntings have come and gone (and will undoubtedly come again…that’s what she said), but I’ve never lucked out with a Lapland.
This afternoon I decided to wait until “low tide” (which was still high based on astronomically high tides this week), and walked out to the jetties to look for Franklin’s or Glaucous Gull, an Eider, something.
I dipped on any unusual gulls or ducks, and decided to head north along the ocean side – purposefully walking between the roped off dunes and trash cans. In other words, as close to the dunes as I could get, to look for Lapland Longspurs. No shit.
I rounded the north end and scoped a “blue morph” Snow Goose. Cool! My first Snow Goose ever at Huguenot; it’s hard to get a new patch bird here anymore after like 700 birding trips. I was slogging through calf-deep mud when I noticed three Ruddy Turnstones on the top of a high, clear dune. I thought that was odd, and paused to get the bins on them when I saw something small fly in…I thought it might be a Savannah Sparrow, but glassed it and just about crapped my pants! Lapland Longspur, after all these years! I will be riding this high for awhile; it’s the first report at Huguenot in 16 years and the first verifiable record of one there in many more than that.
Check out the video grab below.