27 September 2009

Yellow Rail - 27 Sep. 09

Ashley and I flushed a YELLOW RAIL from an upland prairie area at Hendrickson Marsh here in Story County. We were only able to flush it once, however.

Then later in the morning, we ended up with 8 warbler species at Emma McCarthy Lee Park in Ames. They were:

Golden-winged Warbler (2)
Nashville Warbler
American Redstart
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

Here is one of the 2 Golden-winged Warblers:

Also notable were 6 different PHILADELPHIA VIREOS. Here is one of them:

26 September 2009

Nelson's, etc - 26 Sep. 09

We birded several marshes today in central Iowa. One startling find were the number of Soras vocalizing this morning, we ended the day with about 20!!

Snake Creek Marsh:
Nelson's Sparrow (1, see below photo)
Le Conte's Sparrow (3 adults, 1 juvenile)
Sora (8)
Virginia Rail (2)

Nelson's Sparrow:

Le Conte's Sparrow:

Harrier Marsh:
Nelson's Sparrow (1, see below photo)
Le Conte's Sparrow (2)
Sora (3)

Nelson's Sparrow:

Also a MERLIN at Dunbar Slough.

Here is a Sedge Wren from this morning:

Lastly, for a laugh, check out this photo of a Sora in flight!

24 September 2009

NESP & HESP - 24 Sep. 09

Ashley and I finally stirred up our first NELSON'S SPARROW of the fall this morning at Errington Marsh:

However, even more uncommon at this time of year was this HENSLOW'S SPARROW:

We also flushed 6 Soras. No Yellow Rails yet....

We also stopped by Saylorville and had:

1 Black Tern
1 Forster's Tern
1000+ Blue-winged Teal
1 Franklin's Gull (instead of 300+ we had there last night)
3 American Golden-Plovers

20 September 2009

11 warbs, etc - 20 Sep. 09

Ashley and I started the day by heading down to Saylorville. It was rather slow:

American Golden-Plover (2)
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Franklin's Gulls (2)
Snow Goose (1)
Northern Harrier

We explored some at Errington Marsh but didn't kick up any LeConte's or Nelson's Sparrows. Instead we had:
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Grasshopper Sparrow

Lastly, we birded Emma McCarthy Lee Park in Ames. We had 11 species of warblers:

Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush (1)
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler (1)

We also had:
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1)
Philadelphia Vireo (1)
Least Flycatcher (1)
Carolina Wren
Tufted Titmouse

Here is the Northern Waterthrush:

Here is a Philadelphia Vireo:

Here's a poor photo of a "getting late" Blue-gray Gnatcatcher:

Lastly, here is a female Eastern Pondhawk (I think...):

19 September 2009

19 Sep. 09

Really not much to report from this morning. We tried visiting some marshes but they were all busy due to it being the first day of duck season. Instead we explored some river access points in Story County. We had:

Chestnut-sided Warbler
American Redstart
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler (5)
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-throated Vireo (1)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1)

Here is a Red-eyed Vireo:

Lastly, I've managed to find a couple yard birds lately. These include:

Purple Finch
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Black-throated Green Warbler

17 September 2009

Marshes - 17 Sep. 09

Ashley and I checked out Errington Marsh and Saylorville in Polk County this morning. We didn't turn up any LeConte's or Nelson's Sparrows yet but we did have great looks at a couple neat things.

First we had a ton of SEDGE WRENS:
There were plenty of MARSH WRENS as well:

We saw several sparrows as well which gave us a chance to practice up (these LCSP or GRSP?):

We noticed a PEREGRINE FALCON in the air as well. But what was odd was that it was carrying a dead RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD! However, the falcon dropped the blackbird and decided to leave it. Here is the falcon after it dropped the blackbird:

We also flushed a SORA from a marsh edge. No Yellow Rails yet. :-)

Sneaky or just curious? This NORTHERN RACOON was spying on me yesterday from a park here in Ames:

13 September 2009

Ledges, etc - 13 Sep. 09

Ashley and I made a quick lap around Ledges State Park this morning. Most surprising were at least 2 YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS still present. Here is a photo of one of them:

The below BLUE-HEADED VIREO is seemingly doing ok even without its top mandible!

Ashley spotted this roosting COMMON NIGHTHAWK in the trees above us:

Some other birds at Ledges SP included:
Northern Parula (1, and it even sang once!)
American Redstart (2)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1)
Wilson's Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler (1)
Swainson's Thrush (2)
Blue-headed, Warbling, and Red-eyed Vireos
Eastern Wood-Pewee (2)

We stopped briefly at Harrier Marsh but didn't stir up any Nelson's Sparrows yet. Instead, I had great looks at this WHITE-FACED MEADOWHAWK:

Some birds at Harrier Marsh included:
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Swamp Sparrow

12 September 2009

Pine Siskin - 12 Sep. 09

A good mid-September bird for Iowa, a PINE SISKIN showed up at my feeders here in west Ames. Here are 3 photos:

05 September 2009


Hi guys,

A picture I took of one of our satellite-marked curlews made it to the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network website:


More migration - 5 Sep. 09

Although I haven't had much chance to actually get out and bird lately, I did sneak away today. Nothing earth-shattering but I thought I'd share a few pics.

Here is a nice male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER from Polk County this morning:

Speaking of Golden-winged Warblers, Ashley spotted one from the yard yesterday!

Here is a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER from this morning. Terrible pic, huh? But trust me, we saw it much better than this!

In summary, we had 10 species of warblers including:
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
American Redstart

We also had 9 species of shorebirds including:
Sanderling (1)
Baird's Sandpiper (4)

Some more random sightings included:
Capsian Tern (6)
Forster's Tern (4)
American White Pelicans (500+)
Olive-sided Flycatcher (1)

On an interesting note, I managed a pic of a new dragonfly for me, a SHADOW DARNER:

This was a beauty, a winter-form QUESTION MARK: