A Travellerspoint blog

Day 7: Badlands Driving Tour

Badlands National Park, SD

sunny 90 °F


Today my family and I went on a driving tour of Badlands National Park since it was too hot to hike. We stopped at many overlooks looking over the beautiful, barren, craggy scenery of land.

We saw some wildlife as well, including a good number of ROCK WRENS — appropriate given the rocky habitat:

We were even stopped by rogue Bighorn Sheep alongside the road at one point:

In the prairie areas, we saw classic animals like Bison:

And prairie dogs:

I even was able to show everyone one of the BURROWING OWLS from the other day (from a greater distance today):

Next, my family headed into Wall, SD for a business call for my mom and shopping for everyone else, and I took the car out to Wall Sewage Ponds to see if I could add any new ones for the trip. I did add one: LESSER SCAUP, but it was too distant for a discernible photograph. Much closer was a very territorial UPLAND SANDPIPER (!) which landed on a nearby post for some great photo ops.

It was calling incessantly — maybe a nest nearby? — and I took about a half-minute video which I will post to youtube at a later date.

REDHEAD were also present at the pond:

Next, I headed over to Sage Creek Road because Sharp-tailed Grouse had been reported there in the past, and I knew that even though I probably wouldn’t find the grouse, I had a good chance at other grassland species. I found a COMMON NIGHTHAWK roosting in a tree:



At a largish lake, I found a RUDDY DUCK, #140 for the trip!

As well as a beautiful male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD which gave a quick fly-by:

I was the navigator on the way home and I accidentally had dad exit one exit too early so we ended up taking some extra dirt roads on the way back to the campground. Good thing though, because it allowed me to scope out a few far-away ducks on an agricultural pond including this male NORTHERN PINTAIL.

Another slightly slower, yet successful, day! Bird-of-the-day to the Ruddy Duck & Upland Sandpiper with runners-up to the Lesser Scaup & Rock Wren. Another fun day in the Badlands! Stay tuned: tomorrow we drive east to a state park in eastern South Dakota, via Fort Pierre National Grasslands.

Good birding,
World Life List: 1117 Species

REVISED TRIP LIST, 140 species and counting:
Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
White-throated Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
American Coot
Upland Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew LIFE BIRD
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Turkey Vulture
Golden Eagle
Northern Harrier
Bald Eagle
Swainson’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl
Short-eared Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Great Crested Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Western Wood-Pewee
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Say’s Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Yellow-throated Vireo
Plumbeous Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Clark’s Nutcracker
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Horned Lark
Bank Swallow
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend’s Solitaire
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Sage Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
House Sparrow
House Finch
Cassin’s Finch
Red Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Redstart
MacGillivray’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Western Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Grasshopper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Bunting LIFE BIRD
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Eastern Towhee

Posted by skwclar 13:30 Archived in USA

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Yikes- even the sandpipers own stock in Wall Drug!

What a nice trip!

by liz cifani

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