30 April 2009

Glossy Ibises - 29 Apr. 2009

Tim and I found two GLOSSY IBISES today in southern Sheridan County, Nebraska.  They were mixed in with a flock of about 120 White-faced Ibises along Route 2.

With permission from Tim, I'm posting a couple of his photos of the birds.  We welcome comments...

Bird 1:

Bird 2:

27 April 2009

Owls - 27 Apr. 2009

This evening we drove a few mile south of Gordon, Nebraska and had some nice views of SHORT-EARED OWLS.  We think we had about 5-6 different birds in all.

We also had this BURROWING OWL that nicely perched in front of the dusk colors:

26 April 2009

NE Update - 26 Apr. 2009

Curlew surveys are still going here in western Nebraska.  Some recent highlights from our travels included:

This active LONG-EARED OWL nest in Brown County:

How could I pretend like I work in Nebraska without a WESTERN MEADOWLARK picture?

This UPLAND SANDPIPER that actually stayed still for a few seconds:

This EASTERN SCREECH-OWL that we called in to our campsite:

However, a huge highlight for me was FINALLY finding my lifer GRAY PARTRIDGE:

Oh, and yes, here is a squirrel to boot:

Can you say "Migrant Trap"?

I love old, decrepit houses, by the way:

21 April 2009

Pine Ridge - 20 Apr. 2009

Our Long-billed Curlew surveys have taken us up to the northwestern corner of Nebraska.  The Pine Ridge of Nebraska hosts a couple neat western birds.  For example, Pygmy Nuthatches (see photo below) were common around Chadron State Park:

Another species that barely makes it into Nebraska is the Mountain Bluebird.  I have seen many over the last couple days, here is a photo of a male:

The raptors have been great over the last several days as well.  Species have included:

Red-tailed Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Prairie Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
American Kestral
Golden Eagle

Below is a picture of a Swainson's Hawk followed by a picture of a Ferruginous Hawk:

A nice treat this afternoon were many McCown's Longspurs in central Sioux County.  See photo below:

Tomorrow it will be another survey before heading back to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  From there, we head east!

18 April 2009

Bluebird - 17 Apr. 2009

Unfortunately for us, we've been rained out the last couple days here in western Nebraska.  We hope to resume surveys tomorrow.

In the meantime, I had time to upload a picture of the Mountain Bluebird that we had in Garden county yesterday:

16 April 2009

Nebraska - 16 Apr. 2009

Well, spring has arrived for me and I recently made my trek out to western Nebraska to start my fieldwork with Long-billed Curlews.

First things first though, and that was driving out from Iowa with two giant vehicles!  However, everything went smoothly and Ashley and I even got to stop at Lake McConaughy for a quick look around.   We found:

Western Grebe (5000+)
Horned Grebe (8)
Common Loon (10+)
6 species of gulls (Ring-billed, Herring, Franklin's, Bonaparte's, Glaucous, Lesser Black-backed)
Say's Phoebe (1)
Eastern Phoebe (1)
Loggerhead Shrike (10+)

Here is a picture of the Glaucous Gull:

Further up the road near Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, we found things like Loggerhead Shrikes, Long-billed Curlews, Burrowing Owl, etc.  Below is a Loggerhead Shrike shot from the other day:

Near Scottsbluff, I saw White-throated Swifts which nests up on the cliff faces.  The picture below is pretty poor quality... but it IS a swift, you know....

Also, Black-billed Magpies were common near the National Monument:

As many of you know, I do not have internet at the refuge I stay at.  Hence, updates to the blog will be weekly at best (I think).  Of course, all of this assuming someone actually looks at this blog at all!  Ha.

08 April 2009

College Creek - 8 Apr. 2009

Today was too nice NOT to take a walk.  Ashley and I took a stroll down the College Creek walkway near our place here in west Ames.  We didn't find anything unusual really, but the weather was nice and there were some new birds in the area!

We found several small flocks of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS which was a first for this spring.  Below are a couple photos:

Not something you see every day, we photographed this COOPER'S HAWK  mid-dive!

And of course, no one can complain about the bright colored NORTHERN CARDINAL.  The below male is belting out his song:

Some other things of interest included:

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET - 1 (first of season, slightly early)
BELTED KINGFISHER - 1 (this is a fairly urban stream, hence the kingfisher is pretty uncommon here)

05 April 2009

Woodcocks - 3 Apr. 2009

Arriving at Lakeview around dusk, our aim was to find some American Woodcocks.  We arrived a little early so we wandered some of the brushy edge habitat.  We stirred up an unusually early Lincoln's Sparrow, photographed below.

Right at 7:55 pm, several American Woodcocks started calling, some quite nearby.  However, the evening passed us by and we never heard any displaying.

However, several Wilson's Snipe were "winnowing" in the area which is quite uncommon here in central Iowa.