A Travellerspoint blog

June 2020

IL Day 1: A Western Illinois Sweep

sunny 80 °F

POST FOR WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 WITH ISOO O’BRIEN:
6/17 target birds: Western Kingbird, Eurasian Tree-Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, King Rail, Neotropic Cormorant, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Chuck-will’s-widow

After picking me up at my house at the bright-and-early 6am hour and driving three hours down to the Havana, IL area, Isoo O’Brien and I made it to the first stop of our 2-night camping trip: the amazing, beautiful, mighty....

POWER SUBSTATION! Lol, all jokes aside, these substations in rural Illinois do wonders in attracting rare flycatchers and we immediately picked up one of our targets here, the WESTERN KINGBIRD:
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EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS, a delicacy of central Illinois & Missouri (and Eurasia) were around in numbers which was cool.
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Heard-only NORTHERN BOBWHITE were just delightful and I also got some nice shots of the resident BLACK-NECKED STILT in a nearby fluddle. So cool that by mid-morning we were already picking up Central Illinois specialties!
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Also in the fluddle were the only BLUE-WINGED TEAL of the trip:
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Also on the way out we found yet another target for the area, CATTLE EGRETS:
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A quick stop at the Chautauqua Preserve nearby was very quiet due to extremely high water levels but we picked up NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD & a singing PROTHONOTARY WARBLER. So, it was on to a random country road intersection (thanks to my friend Colin Dobson’s wonderfully-detailed info) where we almost immediately picked up our next target, WESTERN MEADOWLARK which is a hard bird for Illinois. Tough to get excited about after seeing thousands out west though, lol.
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DICKCISSELS proliferated in every weedy grassland patch we passed.
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So, it was on to our next destination in hopes of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher & King Rail closer to Meredosia, IL. After a brief delay (yeah Isoo, delay), we continued on our way, picking up a few random things alongside the road in rural Schuyler County like YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. We found our way to, yes, yet another power substation where the Scissor-tailed was found just a few days ago and immediately spotted not it, but another rare flycatcher: WESTERN KINGBIRD! Too cool!
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Then, Isoo said “I think I have it!” and sure enough, a pale, silky, long-tailed passerine was winging its way toward the far treeline. LIFE BIRD SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, a F#&$@%& AMAZING BIRD!!!
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This flycatcher is annual in central Illinois but just a stunner to catch up with finally, and I was afforded some decent photo ops too.
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By that time, it was past lunchtime and we were starving so we decided to forgo the King Rail since Colin gave a negative report regarding the bird from this morning, anyway. After a satiating McDonald’s pick-me-up, we were on the road again, this time headed down to the East St. Louis area in search of Neotropic Cormorant at Horseshoe Lake & Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the Granite City neighborhood. I called up my friend Theo B. from St. Louis and it was so nice of him to join us for this stint too. The NEOTROPIC CORMORANTS quickly showed themselves at the lake and it was nice to see a couple with their diagnostic white patches right behind the bill. Awesome! Another central/southern Illinois specialty that is very uncommon.
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GREAT EGRET:
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MUTE SWANS:
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A RED-BREASTED MERGANSER there was a nice surprise — we had seen a report of one but were by all means not expecting to find it so easily:
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A quick drive over to the Granite City neighborhood indeed yielded the desired YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON nest, spotted by Theo, up in a tree at the most random intersection seemingly nowhere near water. Crazy! Three juvenile birds were present on the nest — a nice Illinois lifer for me!
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So, we bid adieu to Theo, and Isoo and I made to two-hour trek down to our final destination for the day: Ferne Clyffe State Park in far southern Illinois where we are camping for these two nights and hope to find our life bird Chuck-will’s-widow.

We set up camp, grabbed a bite to eat, wrestled with a nastily stubborn water vessel that dispenses water at a glacial trickle, and soon were slowly cruising the park after dark listening for the “Chucks.” It was a perfect night — the absolute perfect temperature, cool moths out but few mosquitoes, an absolutely incredible show of stars, a crazy chorus of foreign-sounding crickets and amphibians, a meteor and a satellite spotted, Coyotes howling, and no wind...and our life bird CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOWS!!! We heard at least two calling, rather distantly, south of the campground around 9:15pm. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get eyes on the birds or obtain audio but it was still such an amazing and long-overdue lifer. Like Whip-poor-will’s, these guys just repeat their names over and over with charismatic intervalic leaps between syllables. STUPENDOUS! Possibly our #1 wanted bird for the trip and we got it. Super cool and definitely our bird-of-the-day along with the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. My vote for runner-up is the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Stay tuned for more!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1120 Species (2 life birds today: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher & Chuck-will’s-widow)

Posted by skwclar 20:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 10: Tramping through Trempealeau & heading home!

Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, WI

semi-overcast 75 °F

I was up at 5am this morning for the last day of the trip to squeeze in hopefully some eastern birds that I missed on the way out west through Iowa.

It was a quick drive to New Amsterdam Prairie where I found two trip birds: a singing EASTERN MEADOWLARK & a couple of nice CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS on territory:
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Then, I met Bruce and we caravanned over to Trempeleau National Wildlife Refuge since I had already gotten my two targets for the prairie. On the way, I picked up another new bird for the trip in the form of a singing VESPER SPARROW!

Bruce and I initially walked into the refuge since the gate was still over the road and we tried (unsuccessfully) to call out a singing SEDGE WREN and instead found a couple other songbirds in the form of this YELLOW WARBLER:
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And YELLOW-THROATED VIREO:
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And BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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After the gates were opened, we drove on in and parked at the first pull-off a little ways in and I quickly heard to good warbler songs: the high-pitched BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER song and the “sweet sweet sweet sweet!” of a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER — awesome! Bruce didn’t think we could see the bird but I convinced him to walk with me down a weedy path to a point sticking out into the marsh, I briefly played the Prothonotary recording, and in came zipping the lemon-yellow Prothonotary! Always cool to self-find a bird like this.
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Next stop was at the river overlook where I hoped to see Trumpeter Swan & Black Tern. DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS immediately flew by:
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And one of my targets swam into view in the distance: TRUMPETER SWAN!
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And in came the other target, BLACK TERNS! Amazing! It was turning out to be quite a productive morning.
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Juvenile BALD EAGLE:
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NORTHERN FLICKER:
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SANDHILL CRANES:
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I had to say goodbye to Bruce but on the way out I scared up a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO which luckily posed for me a bit:
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Next stop: Winona, MN for two more target birds: PEREGRINE FALCON & PURPLE MARTIN, both of which I immediately found at their appointed places. Awesome! These were birds #162 and #163 for the trip respectively, and were my last new ones unless I happen to see a Great Egret (which is definitely possible) or something on the rest of the drive back to Oak Park.
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Birds-of-the-day to the Prothonotary Warbler & Black Tern with runners-up to the Black-and-White Warbler, Trumpeter Swan, Purple Martin, & Peregrine Falcon. The final trip list is attached below! First though, here is a venn diagram I made of all of the songbirds seen on this trip. It was such an interesting trip because, going from Chicago to the Black Hills and back, I saw a kaleidoscope of birds — both western and eastern specialties, as well as everything in between. So, I made this diagram showcasing which birds seen are of western vs eastern orientation, as well as the ones that mainly occur in the Great Plains or all over the country (the middle section). **Note that some species, like Swainson’s Thrush, I put in the western section because they don’t breed, they just migrate through, the majority of eastern North America** Nerd out~
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Incredible trip — thanks for following along! Stay tuned: in two days, Isoo and I head to southern Illinois for a two-night camping & birding extravaganza! Target birds include Mississippi Kite, Chuck-will’s-widow, and Greater Prairie-Chicken!
Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1118 Species

FINAL TRIP LIST, 163 species:
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
White-throated Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
American Avocet
Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew LIFE BIRD
Marbled Godwit
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
Black Tern
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
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
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
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
Bell’s 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
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
House Wren
Sedge 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
Chestnut-collared Longspur LIFE BIRD
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Bobolink
Eastern Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
American Redstart
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
MacGillivray’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Western Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Dickcissel
Grasshopper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Bunting LIFE BIRD
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Vesper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Eastern Towhee

Posted by skwclar 11:55 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Day 9: Eastward to Wisconsin

Veterans’ Memorial Park, West Salem, WI

semi-overcast 70 °F

Today, my family and I made the six-hour journey from Union Grove State Park in southeastern South Dakota to Veterans’ Memorial Park near La Crosse, WI in order to spend the evening with my Aunt Mary, Uncle Mory, and birding friend Bruce!

It was a rather long and uneventful drive across Minnesota (other than a fiasco with a window that kept infuriatingly coming open on our RV), so I was ready to find some birds upon arriving at the park in Wisconsin. One of the first creatures to greet us there were these cute little Thirteen-lined (I think that’s the right one) Ground-Squirrels burrowing in the camping area! Very similar to the Prairie Dogs out west, but smaller and more patterned.
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A new bird species for the trip came in the form of these tiny WOOD DUCKlings who didn’t seem to have mom around — uh oh!
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WILLOW FLYCATCHERS abounded:
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And another new species was a pair of SANDHILL CRANES out in the wetland:
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Two unphotographed new species for the trip singing from the wetland came in the form of SWAMP SPARROW & SEDGE WREN. We are definitely back in the land of more eastern-oriented birds.

GRAY CATBIRD:
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YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, a nice surprise since this area is the far southern part of their breeding range, and yet another new one for the trip. Cool to see both Red-naped & Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers on the same trip.
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And my bird-of-the-day goes to a first heard-only BELL’S VIREO which I quickly tracked down and luckily was eventually able to photograph. An awesome bird which, unlike the sapsucker, is on the farthest northern fringes of its range here. In fact, my report of the Vireo is only the second-ever report of this species from this particular preserve according to eBird — super cool!
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It was great celebrating Pearl’s birthday (which is tomorrow) with Aunt Mary, Uncle Mory, and Bruce, and a wonderful evening with them was capped off with a hooting GREAT HORNED OWL I called in after dinner. Stay tuned: for the last day of the trip tomorrow, I am getting up at the break of dawn to cover to western Wisconsin hotspots with Bruce: New Amsterdam Prairie & Trempeleau National Wildlife Refuge. Targets include Clay-colored Sparrow, Black Tern & Trumpeter Swan among others. Hopefully I should get some nice additions to the trip list, which is attached below.

Good birding!
Henry
World Life List: 1118 Species

REVISED TRIP LIST, 151 species and counting:
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
White-throated Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
American Avocet
Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew LIFE BIRD
Marbled Godwit
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
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
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
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
Bell’s 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
Sedge 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
Chestnut-collared Longspur LIFE BIRD
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Bobolink
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
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
Dickcissel
Grasshopper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Bunting LIFE BIRD
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Eastern Towhee

Posted by skwclar 20:43 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 8: Scouring the Grasslands

South Dakota

sunny 93 °F

I was up at 4am today in order to get on the road, north of Badlands National Park, in search of two very long-shot target birds: Sharp-tailed Grouse and Chestnut-collared Longspur. Why long-shot? Well, the grouse has become a sort-of nemesis for me between multiple trips to the Sax-Zim Bog, southern Idaho, and now this trip, all of which lay squarely in its range. The longspur’s chances were also not great considering it hadn’t been seen in the area I would be searching at all this year. I decided to give it a go anyway!

One of the first noteworthy birds of the drive was another BURROWING OWL, a great surprise!
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Nice ORCHARD ORIOLE:
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And cool to see a lot of RING-NECKED PHEASANT this morning:
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Great to see many LARK BUNTINGS today which were a lifer for me just this past week.
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Many fluddles and wetlands alongside the road were extremely productive with waterfowl and shorebirds, including NORTHERN SHOVELERS:
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NORTHERN PINTAIL:
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Great looks at UPLAND SANDPIPERS, of which there were many today:
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I was STOKED to see this MARBLED GODWIT, an uncommon breeder of these “prairie pothole” marshes. Hell yeah!
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And a great addition to the avifauna was a proliferation of WILSON’S PHALAROPES. I will take a proliferation of Phalaropes any day.
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And another new bird for the trip — CANVASBACKS!!!
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Immature male BLUE GROSBEAK:
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GADWALL:
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At one point I parked next to a “walk-in” field for hunters and a SWAINSON’S HAWK swiftly flew by:
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There were also a TON of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS singing today, as expected.
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Then, after I had barely started driving again after my walk, I saw a darkish, small passerine fly up and perch on a barbed wire fence next to the road. I zoomed in on the bird, snapped a few rudimentary pics at first, and quickly came to the realization of this bird’s ID: I had found my life-bird CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR! This is one of THE grassland specialties people go looking for in the Dakotas and as it was not reported in this particular immediate area this year, I really did not have high expectations for finding this localized species. Just WOW! What a bird — bird-of-the-trip so far!
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In this pic of the bird flying away you can especially appreciate the glowing, namesake collar of this species. What an incredibly-patterned bird!
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Little did I know that while I was watching the longspur, a line of cows had formed along the fence line, watching me. Maybe they thought I was the farmer?
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Wild mammals also proliferated in the form of Pronghorn Antelope:
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On the way back, I picked up a great number of birds again. ORCHARD ORIOLE:
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A new species for the trip, PIED-BILLED GREBE:
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BLUE-WINGED TEAL ducklings with a NORTHERN PINTAIL hen (the teal mother wasn’t far away).
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I was surprised to get my best view ever of a RING-NECKED PHEASANT cock near one of the farms. Cool!
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LARK SPARROW:
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AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN in an agricultural pond:
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LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE:
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Just before reaching the town of Cottonwoods, SD I spotted a giant bird fly over me. I immediately pulled over, hopped out of the car, and heard some incessant calling...a pair of LONG-BILLED CURLEW! They were PISSED that I had the nerve to drive though their home territory so I stayed long enough just to take a few shots and then continued on. Super cool!
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When I got back to the campground, my family and I packed up and we drove about 90 minutes to our day trip for today: Fort Pierre National Grassland! There, I would be looking for the “prairie grouse” species: Greater Prairie-Chicken & Sharp-tailed Grouse. Slim chances, but worth a shot!

We car-birded the area, covering about 40 miles of the National Grassland. There were a decent amount of fluddles (but less productive than the ones this morning) holding BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
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And this GADWALL:
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Again there was a nice showing of UPLAND SANDPIPERS!
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And I was afforded a quick glimpse of another BURROWING OWL.
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Overall, it was slow going at the grasslands and unfortunately I dipped on both of my target grouse. Thankfully, on June 17 I am headed to downstate Illinois with Isoo O and we will have a chance to chase Prairie-Chickens down there.

On the way to our campground for the night, Union Grove State Park in eastern South Dakota, I picked up one new bird for the trip, a foraging AMERICAN AVOCET in a wetland along I-90. The campground itself proved quiet bird-wise tonight but hopefully will bring a dawn chorus with the onset of morning tomorrow!

Bird-of-the-day to the Chestnut-collared Longspur with runners-up to the Marbled Godwit and Burrowing Owls. A great day! Tomorrow, we drive from Union Grove State Park here in South Dakota to Veterans Memorial Park in West Salem, Wisconsin with a birding stop in Minnesota. Hopefully should pick up some eastern species for the trip!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1118 Species (1 life bird today: Chestnut-collared Longspur!)

REVISED TRIP LIST, 145 species and counting:
Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
White-throated Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
American Coot
American Avocet
Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew LIFE BIRD
Marbled Godwit
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
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
Chestnut-collared Longspur LIFE BIRD
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Bobolink
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
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
Dickcissel
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 18:42 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 7: Badlands Driving Tour

Badlands National Park, SD

sunny 90 °F

POST FOR YESTERDAY — FRIDAY, JUNE 12:

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.
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We saw some wildlife as well, including a good number of ROCK WRENS — appropriate given the rocky habitat:
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We were even stopped by rogue Bighorn Sheep alongside the road at one point:
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In the prairie areas, we saw classic animals like Bison:
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And prairie dogs:
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I even was able to show everyone one of the BURROWING OWLS from the other day (from a greater distance today):
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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.
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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:
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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:
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DICKCISSEL:
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BOBOLINK:
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At a largish lake, I found a RUDDY DUCK, #140 for the trip!
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As well as a beautiful male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD which gave a quick fly-by:
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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.
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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,
Henry
World Life List: 1117 Species

REVISED TRIP LIST, 140 species and counting:
Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Redhead
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
Killdeer
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
Osprey
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
Bobolink
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
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
Dickcissel
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 Comments (1)

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