April 10, 2009

A Good Friday for Birding

My dad and I got up early today (Good Friday) in order to go visit a Greater Prairie Chicken Lek out in the fine state of Nebraska. When we showed up to the site it didn't take long to find displaying birds. We could see and hear them from the road but as you can tell from the picture below we couldn't manage to get a great photo. It was neat to see them inflate their neck sacs with air and dance around. One female in particular had three crazy male birds booming around her.
I have been out to these Leks before to see the chickens but the other two times I have been out there the winds were very strong, the birds were fewer in number, and you couldn't hear them. It was nice to view them on a nice calm morning when I could take it all in. We easily saw close to twenty birds on two Lek sites within an hour.

After we observed the prairie chickens for a while we decided to head out to Yankton to see what birds were around the lake and dam. I had a couple year birds including Pied-billed Grebe and Great Egret. There was a lot there just not much variety. I had some fun photographing the birds there and I got a very nice shot of a Ring-billed Gull that came down to check out our cinnamon rolls. The Bonaparte's Gulls however were not interested in what we had to offer.
The most common bird there was the American Coot. They were all over the place in the thousands. Some birds were out of the water feeding on the grass. During the summer there is one particular location where they are all over the road and it is like the parting of the Red Sea as they run to get out of the way of your car.
I really liked this picture. It is not the prettiest or the sharpest but I loved that the coots were side by side, one with the wings up and one with the wings down as they took off.
After our birdwatching around the lake we had to head home. We did howeverdo a little birdwatching when we stopped at a small city pond. It had a few "wild waterfowl" there including Wood Duck and Ross's Goose (pictured).It was a good Friday for birding indeed with three new year birds and nice weather!

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