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 fro 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.


  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:




Monday, June 3, 2019

Bluebirds nesting

2019 version. Details here:  Bluebird Blog

Just a few days old.


Hungry!



Just a day or two to go and leave nest.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Conestoga Lake

This lake was drained for several years. It is now filling up to a fishing lake again. There is a path now from the North side to walk around the West side. It is not finished. About half a mile is useable for any hikers, the rest of the way to the far jetties is a muddy field which will be a mess in the rain. You cannot get around it, it will be a large mowed grassy field eventually. At the far end you get this:


When the water fills up more, you cannot hike to the South side. It will resemble the North end of wagon train lake. There is a short path on the South side, accessed by gravel road, as well. Looking back to the parking lot, it looks like this:


That will flood as well. Some brush and trees remain on the shore. We will have a bit more access to woodland birds on the trail. I have marked the trail in black. Mudflats are very few.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

It was a pretty terrible winter

Lots of snow, bad driving and almost no birds to find for weeks at a time. Some mergansers and other waterfowl are starting to appear. I did find a few horned larks on snowy days.











Friday, January 25, 2019

Mountain Bluebird

A single Mountain Bluebird out from the Colorado and Wyoming edge has wandered far East. Spends its time with our Eastern Bluebirds.

It was a cloudy days so that is as much as I could get as proof for my list. The regular bluebird:



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My 127th report of Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Most of them are in Nebraska. I have reported this bird in eBird 127 times.


Today I walked all over Wilderness park at 14th St. I was looking for waxwings but found none. Got some frozen flooded trail over here and had to cut over 150ft of brush to catch another return trail.



The last dot is near the parking lot. Here we see my car. 


I continue:



and further to the East and to the North end of park land:

All I got was woodpeckers and a few juncos and such. Not even a bird for the year list. The map came out to some 4 miles. You can see how trails wrap around the blue ribbon of the creek. There are just a few bridges, one right at the parking lot.


I then went to eBird to find out it was the 127th report of that species of woodpecker.

Same spot on January 13th:



The creek continues North and South of here:

The bike trail goes some 60 miles South to Beatrice, shown here diagonally across the map and crossing 14th street. I use part of it on walks and ride the several miles up and down in town by bike.