|McCown's Longspur (click pictures to enlarge)|
The Pawnee National Grasslands gave us a chance to see some very rarely seen birds in their specialized habitat. Both short grass and long grass prairie lands are represented in these grasslands. Although they are national grasslands, 73% of it is private property, so you should stay on the road to bird. This is not really a problem in this case since you can just about see for miles in every direction. Well, we had three species that we were after in Pawnee. They were Mountain Plover (we had seen them earlier but disappointing views), McCown's Longspur and Chestnut-collared Longspur.
The McCown's Longspur are short grass birds and when we entered the grasslands we immediately found a McCown's doing his display flight. They fly above the ground with their wings held high above their bodies and sing their little hearts out. We eventually saw about fifty of them and although I have seen them in the past, today was definitely the best view I have seen. One bird actually landed in the road directly in front of us.