Date: 5/2/17 8:53 pm From: Noah Arthur <semirelicta...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> Subject: [NEBirds] Ogallala/McConaughy late crane, LBBGs. etc.
I birded Lake Ogallala and McConaughy the last couple days, mostly focusing on the "North Coast" towns of Lemoyne and Belmar, but also making a few stops elsewhere. At Lake Ogallala on the 29th, gull numbers and diversity were very low, with just RING-BILLED, BONAPARTE'S, and FRANKLIN'S GULLS present around the spillway. I heard a crane caterwauling high overhead, and zoomed in on the circling speck to identify it as a lone SANDHILL CRANE, seemingly very late.
The distant sandbar at Martin Bay held two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, an adult and a 2nd or 3rd-cycle bird, as well as RING-BILLED, AMERICAN HERRING, and CALIFORNIA GULLS.
Lemoyne is a very nice birding hotspot with all habitats represented, from prairie and woods to suburbs with feeders to lake and even a little shorebird habitat around Lonergan Pond. On my two visits, the pond hosted a small loose flock of LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS that also included a pair of WILLETS and a DOWITCHER which I have yet to successfully identify. Sparrows were flocking in the vicinity of Admiral's Cove on the Lemoyne shoreline, including CHIPPING, CLAY-COLORED, FIELD, WHITE-CROWNED, VESPER, and LARK SPARROWS. Seawatching from the bluffs around Lemoyne yielded only lots of Aechmophorus grebes and a few fly-by RING-BILLED and AMERICAN HERRING GULLS.
I only briefly birded Belmar, which looks like another very promising multi-habitat "North Coast" town area. The only bird I added there that I hadn't seen elsewhere was a SAY'S PHOEBE. On the big peninsula that includes Cedar Vue Campground I found some phenomenal seawatching locations on the high bluff-tops overlooking the water; once again, I only saw Aechmophorus grebes and a few distant gulls, but I'm interested to see what ducks, gulls, and other winter waterbirds could be observed here during the cold months...
Noah Arthur (Oakland, CA/Lincoln, NE)<semirelicta...>