Shorebirds March 26, 2011

Karen Holliday, David Ray, Allan Mueller and I went shorebird searching on Saturday.  The weather was less than ideal, mid 40s F with an almost constant drizzle all days long.  Being out in the prairie added wind as well so we all wondered what we were thinking.

We started with Treadway Minnow Farm north of Carlyle and saw hundreds of Ruddy Duck, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Pectoral Sandpiper, with lesser number of Long-billed Dowitcher and American Golden-Plover plus first of season Tree Swallows and Least Sandpiper.

We then travelled to Saul’s spotting a Solitary Sandpiper at a pond along the way. By this time my shoes and socked were soaked and we all huddling around the car’s heater when we could.

Once at Saul’s we found three or more ponds that were freshly drained making good shorebird habitat.  They did not disappoint although for the most part we had the same Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Long-billed Dowitcher that we had been seeing elsewhere. The highlight of the day occurred at the end near the primary entrance to Saul’s when Karen spotted a Long-tailed Duck.  We all got good looks at it through the scope and decided it was most likely a first winter male.  Unless I was mistaken, this was a state bird for both Karen and Allan.

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