Date: 3/12/17 8:29 am
From: Pete Janzen <pete.janzen...>
Subject: NC KS Trip summary
I spent three days March 8-10 with Kevin Groeneweg, Tom Ewert and Bill
Langley doing some county-list birding in north-central Kansas. We
started with the Golden-crowned Sparrow stakeout near Blackwolf (mission
accomplished), and spent the remainder of March 8 in Russell and Rooks
Counties. Most of March 9 we spent in Phillips and Norton Counties,
with the last two hours of daylight spent in Graham Co. On March 10 we
birded in Trego and Rush Counties, with a spin around the wildlife loop
at Quivira on the way home.

Waterfowl numbers were tremendous at several locations, but conversely
some major reservoirs were also virtually bird free. Redhead,
Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup Pintail, Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, N.
Shoveler and Green-winged Teal numbers were impressive, especially at
Sebelius. The total number of waterfowl at Sebelius Reservoir (Norton
Co) on the evening of the 9th was well into five figures. Another
large concentration of waterfowl dominated by Snow, Ross's and
White-fronted Geese was at the western end of Webster Wildlife Area
(Rooks Co.) on the evening of the 8th. The only lake with significant
numbers of Common Goldeneye was Wilson (Russell Co.) with 125 present.
With this flock were three Long-tailed Ducks including an adult male
which I have only seen one other time in Kansas.

Wintering species such as Common Merganser, gulls, Rough-legged Hawk
and N. Shrike were almost or completely absent. We encountered
migrating flocks of Mountain Bluebirds and Sandhill Cranes in several
counties. We saw a number of Red-tailed Hawks and GH Owls on nests in
most or all counties we visited. Red-breasted Nuthatches are still
around, as we found them at a number of locations. Antelope Lake in
Graham Co. had a single Yellow-headed Blackbird and a small flock of
Rusty Blackbirds on Mar 9. White-winged Dove was present in the town of
Kirwin (Phillips Co.) and in the Norton Cemetery (Norton Co.) on May 9.
A major surprise was a Sage Thrasher observed in the big grove of pines
on the south edge of the town of Kirwin (Phillips Co.) on May 9. Bill
Langley and I got great looks at it. Despite some searching we were
unable to relocate this bird for the other two members of the party.
There was a single Townsend's Solitaire at Sylvan Grove Campground at
Wilson Reservoir (Russell Co.) on May 8. There were several species of
shorebirds at Warren Stone Lake in Rush Co on March 10. Most notable
was an apparent Short-billed Dowitcher, a new county record for Rush
Co. At Quivira we were not able to find any Cinnamon Teal but did see
14 Tundra Swans.

The huge fires of this past week burned a lot of the land around WIlson
Reservoir. The roads were closed west of Hell Creek Rec. Area and from
the road barricade blackened ground was all you could see to the west.
The big fires completely burned through Rooks State Fishing Lake. The
pavilions and parking area were unburned but everything else was
torched. Sebelius Lake in Norton County is about as low as it was in
2009 when the KOS meeting had the absolute shorebird bonanza. At least
at this time it appears that shorebirding conditions at that lake will
again be superb for the spring migration.

--
Pete Janzen Wichita, KS <pete.janzen...>

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