Thursday, October 13, 2011

Year of the Lark Sparrow...

When Corey Finger, Seth Asubel and I found a Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus, at Edgemere in Queens on August 26th, I was excited and pleased because it was a year bird, an uncommon one and a new bird for me in Queens County. Earlier in the year, I had dipped on an overwintering Lark Sparrow that was hanging out near the Calverton Grasslands in Long Island and thought that I would have to hope for one on Long Island, which seemed to be the best place to see them during migration. However, we have seen a bumper crop of LASP showing up in almost all of the boroughs. Which then begs the question, which borough has not had an LASP report? The answer to that question might be the Bronx, where I have been looking unsuccessfully so far for one.

After the August bird in Edgemere Queens, another August LASP was reported from the Staten Island Conference House on August 29th. Then in September, we had LASP reports from Central Park Manhattan, Fort Tilden in Queens, Kissena Park in Queens, Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, Jones Beach in Nassau County and Robert Moses State Park in Suffolk County. Some of these birds carried over into October, like the one bird in Kissena Park, but that bird turned into 2 birds meaning that either another Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus), arrived or one of the two was missed in September. October also had new LASP arrivals with reports from Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Central Park in Manhattan and Fort Tilden in Queens.

 I did some research using eBird and NYSARC, going back a few years and based on the number of past reports, this year looks like it may be the year of the Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). As of this post, there have been 14, very possibly 15 reports of LASP in the NYC area (including LI); this number does not include the overwintering bird from Calverton and being careful not to double count reports. That seems to be an unusually high number and has me wondering if this is just one of those "good year for LASP" as birders like to put it or are we seeing a trend related to weather condition changes on the East Coast? Here are a few photos of Lark Sparrows (Chondestes grammacus), that I have seen this year.

Digiscoped at Kissena Park, Queens NY.

Photographed at Jones Beach, Nassau County NY.

Digiscoped at Fort Tilden, Queens NY.

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Scott Kruitbosch said...

Very cool. I didn't realize NY had so many this year. You can add one a bit to the northeast - I found a LASP on September 2 at Stratford Point, the White-tailed Kite's old home.


Thanks Scott. Very interesting numbers and we have a chance at more.

Scott Kruitbosch said...

Definitely! The very strong SW flow this weekend is going to bring some big goodies into our area, book it.