April 23, 2009

Nemesis No More!

For the past couple of years when I thought of nemesis Iowa state birds Marbled and Hudsonian Godwits and the Black-billed Magpie came to mind. These three birds always seemed to somehow escape my view no matter how many times I tried to find them.
This past Tuesday I tried to find two of the three nemesis birds-the Hudsonian Godwit and the Black-billed Magpie.

The godwit I tried to find was reported from a place called New Lake. It had been seen a couple of times in the past few days. I went out there early in the morning and didn't see it even though it was there the night before :( Now it is an even bigger nemesis bird. The trip wasn't wasted however, we did see a foy Osprey on it's nest atop a large tower.

After that it was onto the magpies. I spent a leisurely day with my sister and her boyfriend from Seattle as well as my sister that lives in town. We hiked Stone State Park and saw a few birds including a foy Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. After the hike we decided to go up to see the Broken Kettle Grasslands, the largest remnants in Iowa and the American Bison that live there. We were not really birdwatching, in fact I forgot my binoculars, but I still tried to find some birds without them. As we were driving around I noticed my birding friend Jerry parked on the side of the road. He was birdwatching and to my surprise he said that there were four magpies sitting in the bushes about 350 ft away from the road. I didn't see the birds at first but I easily located the nest. A couple minutes later I saw two birds out in the open and snapped a few pictures before they dove back into the bushes.

The Black-billed Magpie was my 261st Iowa state bird. It can only be seen at the Broken Kettle Grasslands where it nests. I never expected to see them, it sort of came as a surprise. One nemesis down, two more to go!

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