Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Prairie Falcon

I had seen one in Nebraska once before, with no real good photo but very high in the air (you can see it is a falcon) and I had seen a couple in Wyoming. I went to one of my local places, adding a Western Meadowlark and hoping few more year birds. I got excited at finding maybe a Peregrine Falcon. At the end of my walk there was this lump on a bent tree:

It was too large for a kestrel or a merlin. Getting closer, and the light really was as bad as above, I got some photos of it. The couple of pictures in flight are from a bit of video I took. The line on the face and the white behind the eye make it a Prairie Falcon. Only in winter and early spring do they get this far East.

It flew low across a field of corn stubble to the next row of trees by a farm.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Barred Owl Hit by Car

This was my find on 14th Street South end this morning. It's a pretty good sized owl.

Very common for owls to hit cars at night.

I'm not great at owls, though in Finland my friend takes me night time birding, and I at least move around when they would be about. We found a curlew and a night jar last time, no owls, night time birding in Finland.

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 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.