Wednesday, February 12, 2020

eBird APP changes

Just a few days ago eBird updated their phone app. The examples below are for iPhone.

You cannot start a list with the new APP without first downloading the Nebraska pack. I did that out there in less than 30 seconds. Started to bird. It works with your downloaded list and the calendar. At any time it will show a list of "likely" birds for that date. If  you turn the RARITIES on I believe it will give the entire state list rarities and all. But if you type the name of the bird, it will still pull out the bird from the list. I added Nebraska and a suggested list of neighboring states. Other than that, if you want the 50 states on the phone, you will have to add them one by one. Same with countries.


What most people end up doing is adding the states as you travel. You can do it at your motel or rest stop before venturing out to the weak signal areas. I added a few West coast states and Finland and my list of packet is now this. Note that country lists may be very small and have less data about the seasonal changes. Our US state packets may be as big as 5MB.


There is also a HELP tab, that takes you to your phone browser and will give help on various topics:



Friday, December 27, 2019

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are the most common birds of woodland and also some scrubland and desert in our SW. But when you go out into the woods, it is pretty much the same set for your area. I added a bird, along with 3 other birders, at Schramm park in Sarpy county. One of the visitor center staff found it a week ago. My pictures were rather poor on that cloudy day.



My life list is somewhere over 500. I started to wonder how many woodpeckers it has. It is 14, the last one (Yucatan woodpecker) not documented in eBird. It looks rather ordinary (a typical melanerpes) , here is a borrowed picture.


So it turns out my most exotic locations, Costarica and South Korea yielded no woodpeckers!

Here is my list:


Williamson's Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Lewis's Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Yucatan Woodpecker

The melanerpes family is restricted to North and South America and includes our red-headed and red-bellied woodpeckers:

LINK below

Monday, December 9, 2019

Fall 2019 various birds

Harrier (click photo for bigger view). Much slimmer than a red tail.

Snow bunting



Barred owl




Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Red-shouldered hawk and Common Tern



It was a bit shady but got the picture. Not a common bird in Lancaster county.


a bit congested scene but the left tern is a common tern. We get terns of all kinds:



A few small black terns. Least tern is the same size.



Earlier the Forster's tern also had a black cap, above is in August.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Shorebirds and terns

We no longer have Conestoga lake mudflats in the spring and fall to look for shorebirds. They are here and there. At Branched Oak lake we found shorebirds in a small mudflat at Area 3 campground.


A killdeer and its smaller offspring. 



A lesser yellowlegs. Aside from weak eye ring, it has longer wing than tail. Solitary sandpiper has them the same length. This is a solitary. Not the best photo, eye ring is blurred.



Pelicans dwarf the terns in front:


Other things to find in August: Bobolinks without any black left.



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Magpies and my first year of birding 2003

We were out on a bicycle tour for 200 miles of Western Nebraska. I had my cheaper camera with me, and got pictures of the Magpies at Scott's Bluff.



The first photo shows the limits of that camera.

Magpies are not common out there in Nebraska, and they are not at all in cities like they are in Europe. I did find one more leaving Scott's Bluff going East to Bridgeport.

I had found my first magpies to document in 2003 on a trip we made to Alberta. I had found them in Colorado after that. But only now in Nebraska.

In my early days of birding I have the first 100 or so birds listed, not in very good order. But I had yet to go on Audubon trips locally and had not sought a lot of birds in Missouri. So this list of birds, which are from that trip, is a bit comical, for "lifers." It took me years to see avocets again, in 2009. The first bird on the trip list was actually lifer 43. So that 1 is Lifer 43 and the last from the trip Lifer 68.


  1. yellow-bellied sapsucker (June 2003 Manitoba)
  2. gray catbird (Alberta)
  3. yellow warbler (Manitoba, other birds were MO a year or two later)
  4. spotted towhee (Alberta)
  5. black-billed magpie (Alberta)
  6. ring-billed gull (Alberta)
  7. Clark’s nutcracker (Alberta)
  8. Gray Jay (Alberta)
  9. Common Raven (Alberta)
  10. Song sparrow (Alberta)
  11. Chipping Sparrow (Alberta)
  12. Great horned owl (Alberta, mobbed)
  13. American avocet (Saskatchewan)
  14. Canvasback (Saskatchewan)
  15. double-crested cormorant (Saskatchewan)
  16. Lazuli bunting (North Dakota)
  17. white-breasted nuthatch (ND)
  18. black-capped chickadee (ND)
  19. northern flicker (Nebraska)  THEN MISSOURI:
  20. ruby-throated hummingbird (Sep 2003)
  21. common nighthawk
  22. red-breasted nuthatch
  23. wood thrush
  24. american kestrel
  25. carolina wren
Carolina wrens were in my yard! Why did I not bother to write it down before! 

I saw a lazuli bunting on that trip, and it is the only one I have seen so far. I don't have a date for it so it does not appear on my eBird list.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Getting into Summer...only the usual for a few months

Finding new birds in June is rare for me, unless we drive some 400 miles West or more. So we get the usual. Click the photos for a bigger picture.



A few odd female hooded mergansers could be in any pond or lake. They are not nesting.


The last of the sparrows going through.


Spotted sandpipers:


We had a rare pair of Little Blue Herons at Holmes Lake: