Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Birding in Nebraska

I had the opportunity to attend the AFO/WOS/COS joint meeting in Kearney, Nebraska last week with Drew Weber, Nate Fronk, and Emily Thomas. The main reason for the conference to be held in Kearney is because it is the Sandhill Crane capital of the world. They were right in the fact that it was the Sandhill Crane capital of the world because we saw over 50,000 Sandhill Cranes in the area and well over 500,000 Snow Geese. Over 500,000 Sandhill Cranes use the Platte River as a stopover site on their migration route through March and April.

Sandhill Cranes

Snow Geese lifting up off of a pond

When we left the airport in Omaha, we stopped at Levi Carter Park and Drew immediately spotted a Prairie Falcon overhead. This was an awesome trip bird to start the week off with! We also had a few species of waterfowl at the park including Common Goldeneye, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck.

We spent the first two days of the week birding nonstop. We drove the Western Rainwater Basin Wetlands Driving Tour and stopped at a few State Recreation Area and Waterfowl Production Areas. We observed huge flocks of Snow Geese and Sanhill Cranes as well as many Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks. The most abundant specie of waterfowl along the driving tour was Northern Pintail. We did see good numbers of other waterfowl throughout the week as well.

many species of waterfowl
After the first two days we started the conference which did not leave very much time to bird, but we did end up getting over 80 species for the week. A complete species list can be seen below.

Canada Geese
adult Bald Eagle
Ferruginous Hawk
Lapland Longspur (photo credit: Drew Weber)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Franklin's Gull
  1. Greater White-fronted Goose
  2. Snow goose
  3. Ross' Goose
  4. Cackling Goose
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Mute Swan
  7. Gadwall
  8. American Wigeon
  9. Mallard
  10. Northern Shoveler
  11. Northern Pintail
  12. Green-winged Teal
  13. Canvasback
  14. Redhead
  15. Ring-necked Duck
  16. Greater Scaup
  17. Lesser Scaup
  18. Bufflehead
  19. Common Goldeneye
  20. Hooded Merganser
  21. Common Merganser
  22. Ruddy Duck
  23. Ring-necked Pheasant
  24. Greater Prairie-Chicken
  25. Northern Bobwhite
  26. Wild Turkey
  27. Pied-billed Grebe
  28. Great Blue Heron
  29. Bald Eagle
  30. Northern Harrier
  31. Cooper's Hawk
  32. Red-tailed Hawk
  33. Ferruginous Hawk
  34. Rough-legged Hawk
  35. American Kestrel
  36. Merlin
  37. Prairie Falcon
  38. American Coot
  39. Sandhill Crane
  40. Killdeer
  41. Franklin's Gull
  42. Ring-billed Gull
  43. Herring Gull
  44. Rock Pigeon
  45. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  46. Mourning Dove
  47. Great Horned Owl
  48. Belted Kingfisher
  49. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  50. Downy Woodpecker
  51. Northern Flicker
  52. Northern Shrike
  53. Blue Jay
  54. American Crow
  55. Horned Lark
  56. Black-capped Chickadee
  57. White-breasted Nuthatch
  58. Brown Creeper
  59. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  60. Eastern Bluebird
  61. American Robin
  62. European Starling
  63. Bohemian Waxwing
  64. Cedar Waxwing
  65. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  66. American Tree Sparrow
  67. Fox Sparrow
  68. Harris' Sparrow
  69. White-crowned Sparrow
  70. Dark-eyed Junco
  71. Northern Cardinal
  72. Lapland Longspur
  73. Snow Bunting
  74. Red-winged Blackbird
  75. Western Meadowlark
  76. Common Grackle
  77. Brown-headed Cowbird
  78. House Finch
  79. Pine Siskin
  80. American Goldfinch
  81. House Sparrow

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