30 May 2010

End of May

As the end of May approaches, I thought I'd give another update of things here at Crescent Lake NWR.

The weather has finally warmed up a bit, the high water seems to be receding, and the rate of new migrants have definitely slowed down. The only new species for the spring was a PURPLE MARTIN that was flying over the yard.

In regards to the curlews, most nests have hatched and we're busy tracking chicks!

With the warmer temps come more butterflies. Here's an EASTERN TAILED-BLUE in the yard:

I had never been somewhere before that is totally overrun with ORCHARD ORIOLES... but this is the place. This grainy shot was also from my yard:

Not sure if anyone is interested in LARK BUNTINGS, but they are pretty thick in this part of the state... especially habitats with some sage:

I was in the yard earlier when I heard the familiar call of a BROAD-WINGED HAWK. A minute later, I spotted it down the road a bit:

Another familiar bird song I heard in the yard this morning belonged to this BELL'S VIREO:

Lastly, instead of nesting on the island in Goose Lake (where they have nested before), PIPING PLOVERS decided to nest ON the road this season! I watched an adult sit on this nest:

27 May 2010

LEGO, NOPA, etc.

Like last spring, a NORTHERN PARULA showed up at the refuge recently. Not a bad bird for the panhandle of Nebraska:

When someone has this many goldfinches at their feeders, it's no wonder something odd shows up once in a while:

For example, this LESSER GOLDFINCH was present today:

Lesser Goldfinches have been annual visitors at Crescent Lake NWR during the last 3 springs. All sightings have been between 25 May and 12 June.

24 May 2010

Update again

Well, the Hermit Warbler or Summer Tanager never did resurface. The last couple days have slowed in comparison to last week. Still, some new things have shown up.

One of those things was this GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. I only see maybe 1 of these each spring here:

A little bit out-of-range, this AMERICAN SNOUT was an easy ID:

Hybrid AUDUBON'S X MYRTLE anyone?

Anyone feeling comfortable ID'ing Traill's Flycatchers? Try this guy (and let me know!):

I assumed this was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER... but the yellow on the underparts was rather odd:

Lastly, only one thing happens when you're a Barn Swallow and you end up stuck in Cory's truck because he left the window down.... he catches you and forces you to look at the camera with the same face that he has:

21 May 2010


Every spring I've been here at Crescent Lake NWR, some oddball or rarity shows up. The first year it was a Grace's Warbler, last year it was a Yellow-throated Warbler and Summer Tanager, and this year... well, I think it's probably the HERMIT WARBLER I stumbled on today:

The fun didn't stop there though. One of the next birds I came across was a SUMMER TANAGER:

Many other odds and ends showed up as well. Some neat things included:

Western Tanager (5+)
Indigo Bunting
Baltimore Oriole
Blue Grosbeak
Bell's Vireo
Plumbeous Vireo

The highlight from yesterday though was a calling LEAST BITTERN on the edge of Island Lake here on refuge. As far as I know, there are only 3-5 records for the county.

18 May 2010

Western Tanager, Y-T Vireo, etc

Migration has definitely hit Crescent Lake NWR lately. This morning was no exception. In the yard was this nice, male WESTERN TANAGER:

The better bird though was this YELLOW-THROATED VIREO:

I'm not sure... but might this be the first Garden County record? Stay tuned....

Also singing in the yard this morning was this WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE:

I first learned the song of the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT when I lived in Tennessee and Dr. Swafford described it to me as "a freight train". Ok, so I'm not sure if that's exactly what he said but nonetheless, I still remember hearing them along some train tracks near Collegedale. Long story.... what's the point? Well, I heard that familiar song this morning from the yard. Later I tracked this guy down:

14 May 2010

Whimbrel n' Warbs

While working near Crescent Lake this morning, I stumbled on my first WHIMBREL for Nebraska:

Ever wonder what a cold LONG-BILLED CURLEW looks like? Well, the snowy morning a couple days ago gave me an idea:

Since then, it has warmed up a little and brought in some new migrants like this female BLACKPOLL WARBLER:

... and several male BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Here is one of them:

Also, my first VEERY sighting for the refuge:

The RED-NECKED PHALAROPES have arrived as well. Here are a few mixed in with the WILSON'S:

In total, I've come across 8 warbler species:

Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted Chat
Northern Waterthrush

Also 9 sparrow species:


This morning, I had a lone DICKCISSEL flying north.

The LAZULI BUNTING and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS are still present at my feeders as well.

12 May 2010

Snow etc.

A couple new arrivals have filtered into Crescent Lake NWR in the last couple days.

Here is a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH in a wet area near my house:

Later in the day, I glanced out at the feeders to see my first LAZULI BUNTING of the season. It's a terrible picture but it was through a nasty window and at a bad angle:

Some other new species for the season included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, STILT SANDPIPERS, and a continuing BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK and BULLOCK'S ORIOLE.

With all that said, we woke up to an inch of snow on the ground this morning! We escaped without the 9 inches reported elsewhere in the panhandle though!

09 May 2010

Various - 9 MAY 2010

I suppose it's time for me to post something OTHER than Glossy Ibis pics, huh?

Some migrants are finally starting to drop into Crescent Lake NWR during the last couple of days. Some species around include:

Least Flycatcher
Eastern & Western Kingbird
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow Warbler
American Redstart
Rose-breasted & Black-headed Grosbeak
Bullock's Oriole
Harris's, White-crowned, Chipping, Clay-colored, Lincoln's, and Lark Sparrow.

It's just a matter of time before Blue Grosbeak, more warblers, and the hundreds of Orchard Orioles arrive!

A crummy picture but the first of the season for me, here is a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK on 6 May:

This nice HARRIS'S SPARROW has been feeding in the yard a lot lately. I didn't see this species last spring at the refuge:

Another new arrival was this YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. I see this species in the exact same bush every spring:

Now becoming a pretty common sight, here is the BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK that has been at my feeders lately:

Early mornings are a nice time to be out, especially around Island Lake on foggy mornings:

08 May 2010

Glossy Ibis - 29 April & 6 May

Well, there was yet ANOTHER sighting of a GLOSSY IBIS in the panhandle of Nebraska this spring. This is the third one that I've run into this year.

This one was in Sheridan County, right at the Rd. 181 intersection with Highway 2. It was feeding with 4 White-faced Ibis. Ironically, this is the exact intersection that Tim and I found 2 GLIB's at last April. I had to laugh when I pulled up and decided to scan the 4 ibises. Before looking, I commented to Ashley, "Well, can we make it 3 Glossy's this spring?". I took one look, and said "Glossy" and reached for my camera. She didn't really believe me for a while.

Perhaps this is the same bird that was spotted 9.5 miles to the south back on April 29? I'm not sure, I couldn't prove anything with the photos. However, this GLIB was in Sheridan County instead of Garden so I'm sure the sighting is worth knowing of.

Here are photos of the recent bird:

Here are photos of the first GLOSSY IBIS we had this spring back on 29 April (Garden County):

And here are some LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS to boot. Still hoping for some Short-billed.