Oregon has a new addition to the state list (pending acceptance) thanks to a find by Russ Namitz. On Oct 10, he discovered a Cassin’s Sparrow at Floras Lake, on the coast about 40 miles south of Coos Bay. Namitz says he first passed the bird off as an odd Brewer’s Sparrow, but something about that identification bothered him. He reviewed photos of the bird and only then realized it was a Cassin’s.
To get to Floras Lake, take US 101 south from Coos Bay. Drive 38 miles to Langlois. Continue south about one mile and turn right (west) on Floras Loop Rd. Follow the signs to the Floras Lake entrance, then continue to the boat ramp/parking area. In a post to Oregon Birders Online, Namitz provided these directions: “From the Floras Lake parking area, walk the footpath over the creek and out towards the beach. Before you get to the foredune, the path splits. Take the north (right) path that heads up to where Floras Creek dumps into New River. About 400 yards up this path, a CASSIN’S SPARROW was feeding in the short grass here. It would occasionally flush over to the creek side and perch in the twinberry bushes or other shrubs available.”
Namitz also created a map of the site. The location of the sparrow is marked with a green arrow on this map.
Though this is the first time one has been discovered in Oregon, Cassin’s Sparrows have been known to wander widely with records from eastern Canada to coastal California. The spring of 2011 was a banner year for the species, with Cassin’s Sparrows showing up in such far flung places as North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Illinois. In addition to California, it’s been seen in two of Oregon’s other neighbors: Nevada and Idaho.
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