Speaking of Ashley, she caught eyes with this guy and snapped a picture with my camera (I was probably off looking at butterflies):
She also spotted this WILSON'S SNIPE zip in and land right behind us:
Some other things that were neat to see throughout the day included:
6 species of shorebirds
30+ Black Terns
3 Forster's Terns
30+ Great Egrets
Osprey, Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, etc.
1 Mississippi Kite in south Des Moines (seen from Highway 69)
We were also happy to find this BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER in Polk County earlier as well. It was in a piece of "ex-sheetwater":
However, it was a pretty bad photo (taken from inside the car). To make up for it, I'll post another shot; this one of a buffy I'm holding while working with shorebirds in northern Alaska:
Making a quick lap around Saylorville this morning, Ash and I had this FRANKLIN'S GULL, our personal first for the fall. A Laughing Gull had been reported the day before but we didn't have any luck with it:
Ok, ever see a shadow of a bird zip by and kinda think "Now, I'm not exactly sure why that wasn't a... ". Well, I snapped this picture of a stiff-winged, dark bird zipping overhead the other day. I thought to myself "Now, I'm not exactly sure why that couldn't be a Black Swift by theory". A stupid notion, I know, but I wanted to look more into shapes of BLSW's vs. PUMA's. Oh, by the way, this was of course just a PURPLE MARTIN:
As you can see on a real BLACK SWIFT (at Cape Flattery in western Washington state), it's easy to see the wings rather angled back, not sticking straight out from the body. Also, there is much more "tail" behind the wings than the above PUMA shows.