Date: 3/31/17 4:43 pm From: Wilkins, Vern W <vwilkins...> Subject: [IN-BIRD-L] Morgan County fields
I had a nice mix of birds in some Morgan County fields this evening. At least 6 Brewer's Blackbirds and 12 Rusty Blackbirds. All the birds were calling often, for a short time they were feeding together in a flooded agricultural field, close to cover. The Rusty's flew into a tree-line with lots of shrubs, and probably pools of water. I could hear them in there but never got to see them again, even though I stayed for quite a while. The Brewer's would go in and out of cover, they paid no attention to me even though I was fairly close, but in my vehicle along the road. There was a nice mix of males and females of both species, very cool to get to see a nice mixed flock like this together, without any other 'blackbirds'. Made for a really nice study of all the subtle and not so subtle differences between them. I have some decent photos that I'll include in the eBird report.
The same field had one Wilson's Snipe, 27 Yellowlegs sp. (Initially I saw many more Lesser feeding in very shallow water, but then something spooked the birds and many resting birds that I hadn't seen got up, and I saw and heard many more Greater. I think the split was maybe closer to 50/50, but I concentrated on the blackbirds and searching for other rarities.), 2 Solitary Sandpipers (photos), Killdeer, 3 Least Sandpipers, and assorted other songbirds. Fields were full of very large flocks of Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starling, and Brown-headed Cowbird. I scanned those flocks briefly, but it seemed that for the most part, the Brewer's and Rusty's stayed together in different habitat than the others (closer to cover or in cover, and in the parts of the fields with more water, always in the water or at the water's edge).