29 April 2010

Update from the Sandhills

Well, everyone is long overdue for some pictures from western Nebraska. I apologize if the post doesn't follow any particular order!

So, what's the deal with those MARBLED GODWITS? They have been filing through pretty regularly these days. Today, for example, I had another 2 dozen heading north. Here is one near the refuge:

One big highlight was watching a SHARP-TAILED GROUSE lek from the blind here on refuge. Actually, it was the first time I had watched any prairie-grouse from a blind! What a neat experience! There were at least 6 displaying males:

I might add here that while in the blind, I also had a fly-by CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR and a couple singing SPRAGUE'S PIPITS. The joys of working in western Nebraska!

Personally, I always craved a comparison photo between LESSER YELLOWLEGS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Well, I took a stab at it:

The BLACK-NECKED STILTS are back and breeding along Highway 2. Today, there was at least 2 pairs. Here is a picture of one from a week ago:

Just a couple ponds down the road from the stilts, something red caught the corner of my eye. Alas, it was a pair of CINNAMON TEAL. Don't let the range maps fool you... I only see about 2 pairs of CITE per season out here! I'm not sure why.... but I'll take them when I can:

For some reason, I had never seen a FIELD SPARROW at the refuge before. Well, this obscured bird solved that for me:

For the last couple weeks, a CATTLE EGRET has been feeding consistently around the same 3 cows to the north of the refuge. It was there again today:

Really? Does this GREAT HORNED OWL just not get the idea? This pair of NORTHERN HARRIERS weren't too pleased about the situation:

Speaking of owls though, here is a BURROWING OWL:

Well, I'll post more later (next time I'm in town with internet)!