10 April 2011

Swainson's, Smith's, and swallows

We birded a couple of marshes in Boone, Greene, and Guthrie counties.

Among the usual suspects at Harrier Marsh, I had my first BARN SWALLOW of the spring.  Also, this NORTHERN SHOVELER among the many waterfowl species present:

At Snake Creek Marsh, this garter snake orgy (apparently they chose to ignore the charred body of a snake just to the left):

Also at Snake Creek Marsh was this LE CONTE'S SPARROW, my first spring LCSP in Iowa.  Unlike fall LCSPs, it was extremely wary and difficult to view:

Here is an AMERICAN WIGEON shortly after taking off:

In a burned area of Dunbar Slough, we found 18 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS:

Also at Dunbar Slough were 35 SMITH'S LONGSPURS.  Here are some subpar photos of longspurs in flight:

We noticed several raptors riding the winds of the passing front.  We scoped for an hour or two and came up with:

Red-tailed Hawk (Eastern, Krider's, and Harlan's)
Northern Harrier
American Kestrel
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
11 Swainson's Hawks (9 light-morph, 2 intermediate-morph)

Here is a pretty rough shot of a dark, adult HARLAN'S RED-TAILED HAWK:

Here are some various (and dark) looks of some of the SWHAs:


We kept an eye out for shorebirds throughout the day.  We ended the day with 9 species:

American Golden-Plover
Wilson's Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Pectoral Sandpiper
STILT SANDPIPER (2 at McCord's Pond)
Least Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper

Back at home, 63 days after its arrival, the local HARRIS'S SPARROW apparently decided it was time to move north.

We still are hosting several PINE SISKINS and just within the last couple of days, CHIPPING SPARROWS have made their obvious arrival (there are 7 in the yard as I type).

Last but not least, there was a FIELD SPARROW singing outside this morning representing my 107th yard bird.  Later in the day, it came within view: