March 31, 2009

Birding 'round the Lake

On Saturday the local Audubon group headed out to Yankton, SD to do some birding. A large reservoir called Lewis and Clark Lake was created along the Missouri River and it is a favorite birding spot of many avid birdwatchers
*FOY=first of the year
On the way there we saw some gulls including my FOY Franklin's Gull. When we got there it didn't take long to find birds. We stopped at a lake below the dam for birds first. Many waterfowl species were on the lake with 21 species present. Highlight birds around the lake included Cackling Goose, FOY Red-breasted Mergansers, FOY Horned Grebe, Great Blue Heron, FOY Bonaparte's Gull, and a Merlin. I got a picture of a not-so-shy Ruddy Duck that was swimming about 30 feet away from me at the time I took the picture.We also birded the river below the dam and saw Ring-billed and Herring Gulls but not much else. Roger, a local birdwatcher, took us out to a spot where there were several species of shorebirds present. Besides the ever annoying Killdeer we found Greater Yellowlegs, a FOY Dunlin, and over 40 FOY Baird's Sandpipers.
After a nice morning of birding we went and had lunch at a large cabin owned by an Audubon member that overlooks the lake. We saw a few birds there on the feeders including some Pine Siskins that posed for some pictures.
After we had a great lunch we headed over to a marina on the Nebraska side of the lake (the SD-NE border runs down the middle of the lake) to see an active Bald Eagle nest. Much to our delight a Bald Eagle was sitting on the nest when we showed up. That was the first time I have seen an active nest.
We saw a number of birds on the way back home. We cut through Nebraska and saw 16 American Kestrels (I saw more kestrels than I have ever seen in a day in the period of 1 1/2 hrs.), a FOY Swainson's Hawk, and a FOY Loggerhead Shrike.

Not a bad day with 74 species seen and a few year birds to put my year list at 118.

1 comment:

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