Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus)
We were thrilled to locate a wintering flock of 30-35 CCLOs in the seemingly endless San Rafael Grasslands. They’ll be heading north to their breeding grounds soon, and some of the males were already showing off their striking new alternate (breeding) plumage. This one is pretty drab but shows some rufous in the nape and soft facial markings. I am wondering whether this could be an alternate plumage female or perhaps a male that is still in basic (winter) plumage. Any input would be appreciated!
San Rafael Grasslands, southeastern Arizona