December 31, 2008

2008 Bird Highlights

The past year has been fun and rewarding. I must say there have been hits and misses I have done fairly well. Below are the bird "highlights" of 2008 with a short explanation of each.

2008 Year Birds: 256 (50 life birds)

Bohemian Waxwing and Townsend's Solitaire:
I saw my lifer Bohemian Waxwing in with a flock of hundreds of Cedar Waxwings in January in O'Brien County, IA. I traveled two hours and almost missed it but saw it at the last minute. I saw a Townsend's Solitaire the same day.

Band-tailed Pigeon and Snowy Owl:
I saw the two bird listed above on the same day in Nebraska. Another birder and I were going to see the state's second Band-tailed Pigeon and I happened to find a Snowy Owl on the way there as we were talking about Snowy Owls! A lot of people, including us got to see both birds makin for a great day.

Scott's Oriole:
Iowa's first Scott's Oriole was seen in Emmet County in early April. I headed up with two other birders and we saw the bird right away at the feeders that it was visiting. We got close-up looks at it and got some pictures of it. It was a new bird for me and a great one for Iowa.

Pileated Woodpecker:
I found Woodbury County, IA's first Pileated Woodpecker by the creek near my home. Nine birds came to see it but only two others besides me got to view it before it left.

Prothonotary Warbler:
I got to see Woodbury County, IA's second (if I am correct) Prothonotary Warbler at a local park on May 1. I got fairly close to the bird as it put on a wonderful show.

Sabine's Gull: On August 21 I found South Dakotas earlist fall record of this gull in Yankton, SD. It was not onluy a record early but a new one for me.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: I saw and photographed my first Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Brandon, SD during October. This accidental species has been recorded something like 12 times in the state. This was a new bird for me and a beautiful one as well.
Snowy Owl: This bird showed up in late October, ahead of schedule. It was found at a grassland area in Iowa about 45 min. from my house so be went to go find it and got nice looks.

Black-legged Kittiwake: I saw a young kittiwake below Saylorville Dam near Des Moines, IA on the first of November.Barrow's Goldeneye: this was the first accidental bird I had ever self-found. I first saw it on November 16. Click the following link to read a full account.

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