Today was an epic day to be birding. I got 5 new lifers!
Air Station Prairie
We started the day at Air Station Prairie with just me, my mom, and brother. It was very windy, so it did not look promising. As soon as I walk around the corner, I scoped out for Wilson’s snipe or American Woodcock. All I saw was a Canada Goose. Once mom and Peter caught up, I spotted a rabbit sitting stone still in the grass. Then we turn the corner and I see a flash of iridescent blue-green and white streaking toward a nest box. They were Tree Swallows (Lifer #208). We are watching them try to fly into the wind, but the wind was so strong that they weren’t getting anywhere until the wind died down. I scan again for birds on the edge of the water and find a nesting Killdeer, and a male and female BLUE-WINGED TEAL! I was excited because it was the second time I had spotted them in 6 days! I then really had my hopes up. After getting a picture through the scope, I pan around to the other pond and find a male and female Bufflehead. The path was so waterlogged that we couldn’t get any farther. The only other birds I spotted were:
- Song Sparrow
- Red-Winged Blackbird
- Mourning Dove
My hopes were up, and I was feeling really good about the lake after my success at Air Station Prairie. As we drove up and hopped out of the car, Peter immediately spotted mystery water birds. I scoped them out and spotted PIED-BILLED GREBE, Horned Grebe, and American Coots. I see 2 ducks flying overhead, so I get them in my binoculars and they were NORTHERN SHOVELERS! (Lifer #209) I was so excited that i had to jump up and down! Then a CASPIAN TERN flies in and catches a fish right in front of us. I also spot a few Double Crested Cormorants flying in the distance. Then we walk up to the viewing point and set up the scope there. Mom gets it focused on a flock of ducks and I determine them to be Redhead, Red-Breasted Merganser, and Ring-Billed Gulls. I pan left and see guess what. . . RUDDY DUCKS! (Lifer #210) I am super pumped, so we drive over to the other side of the lake and park the car. We take a quick bathroom break them walk up on the bridge. I spot a few more Tree Swallows and House Sparrows and Horned Grebes. When we get to the bridge the Ruddy Ducks were about 10 meters away! In a nearby tree I heard and spotted an EASTERN PHOEBE. We watched them for a while, but couldn’t manage to get a picture because they would dive, come up, then dive again! We found a few more American Coots, Canada geese, Mallards, Redhead, and Red-Breasted Merganser. As we walk back to the car I spot a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Lifer #211), female EASTERN TOWHEE, Great-Blue Heron, and male Northern Cardinal singing his heart out. Other birds that were spotted include:
- Red-Winged Blackbird
- Red-Tailed Hawk
- Greater Scaup
With our hopes up we drove to Heritage park to look for a Bonaparte’s Gull. We walk up and I spot 2 Caspian Terns, Herring and Ring Billed Gull, Red-Breasted Merganser, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Killdeer, and a lone Great blue Heron hunting for Crayfish. Unfortunately, no Bonaparte’s Gull presented itself.
It is around noon and we drive to Beck lake, where a Common Loon was sighted. As soon as I hop out of the car I spot a COMMON LOON (Lifer #212) diving in between 2 Canada Geese. We look harder and end up finding at least FOUR MORE Common Loons! We spend a long time watching them. At one point, We got at least 10 meters away from two of them! We looked along the middle island and found a GREAT EGRET, and a Great Blue Heron. Other birds include:
- Mystery singing Warbler
- House Sparrow
- Herring Gull
- Ring-Billed Gull
- Horned Grebe
Overall, today was a wonderful day to be birding, and presented itself with wonderful birds.