First the question: are the spring and fall 2018 meetings scheduled and located? Let me know the basic info, as I'd like to get them into my phenology calendar. (Shameless commerce: if interested in a calendar, email me at <leewardecology3...>)
Next the sighting: 2 or 3 Golden-Crowned Kinglets in a mature blue spruce, front yard in Marshalltown.
This morning I observed 3 Sandhills cranes flying over Marble Lake in Dickinson county.
Also, I found a fresh road kill saw-whet owl on blacktop (240th Ave). This road is adjacent to Marble Beach area on west side of Big Spirit Lake.
Spirit Lake, Iowa
Following Doug Harr’s earlier report, here are the results of Sunday’s
(Oct. 8) 6th Annual High Trestle HawkWatch, observations from the High
Trestle Trail bridge between Madrid & Woodward. A record-high total of 441
raptors (of 12 species) were observed during the 6-hour event. While a
very strong southerly wind and temperature in the 80s was not helpful, the
timing of the count was still good, because it followed two days of heavy
rains. Apparently raptors had stacked up during the stormy weather, and
almost every raptor observed was moving in a southerly direction.
Below is the number of raptors counted, a total from both ends of the
Turkey Vultures = 294
Goshawk = 1 (juv.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk = 6
Cooper’s Hawk = 10
Red-tailed Hawk = 46
Broad-winged Hawk = 2
Bald Eagle = 43
Northern Harrier = 4
Osprey = 16
Peregrine Falcon = 6
Merlin = 4
American Kestrel = 1
unidentified accipiter = 2
unidentified buteo = 6
An elevated concrete platform above the trestle’s west end, standing ~150
feet above the river valley, serves as an ideal viewing location. Including
the raptors, 57 total bird species were observed during the event.
Approximately 450 American White Pelicans, ~500 Double-crested Cormorants,
+1,000 Northern Shovelers, and ~50 Northern Pintails were observed flying
southward over the river and its bluffs, as well. We estimated that 275-325
people stopped at the two viewing sites, either to view birds or to
interact with the bird spotters. This event is a joint effort of the Iowa
Wildlife Center, Boone and Dallas County Conservation Boards, Iowa Audubon,
Big Bluestem Audubon Society, Iowa DNR, and Iowa Natural Heritage
Foundation. Marlene Ehresman gets credit for the juvenile Goshawk & Erica
and Andy Place get credit for the American Kestrel (hanging out beneath the
bridge). Thank you to all who contributed to this most successful event!
Thanks to a tip from Steve Pearson/Madison County Conservation, I relocated
an Ibis at Jensen Marsh this morning. Bird was foraging on the West side of
the marsh. Steve saw 3 yesterday. Unfortunately my time was short this
morning- that work thing interrupts a good bird.. Some other shorebirds and
water birds, no time to ID those. If you haven't been to Jensen, you'll
need a scope, you can park at either West or East side and walk in.
So many birds. So little time.
Tonight I scoped a mid-river juvenile LAUGHING GULL from Butterworth Parkway. The gull spent a lot of time asleep so I spent
a lot of time waiting for a better look. But when awake, the smallish gull impressed me with its tenacity to defend its space
on the concrete slabs against the larger Ring-billed Gulls. But in the end it would give way if it had to.
Another notable Moline gull was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. Also present were a few Franklin's and Bonaparte's gulls.
There were 9 American Herring Gulls on the Iowa sides of the two dams and no doubt more were at Bettendorf in the evening.
On the way to and from a meeting in St. Paul MN today I saw my first 2
Rough-legged Hawks of this Fall. The first was a light-morph perched on a
utility pole a few miles west of Webster City along Hwy. 20 around 8 AM
this morning. The other was a dark-morph hovering like a Kestrel along
I-35 about 15 miles S. of Clear Lake at 6:20 this evening.
Harney and I walked down by the Des Moines River this afternoon. The
time of day and the wind kept the bird activity down, but an unexpected
WINTER WREN appeared where the trail passes through the woods, and I also
encountered a flock of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, a FOS for me.
This afternoon / evening I observed a rather interesting Zonotrichia Sparrow in my Ames yard. On two observations, both of which I heard the bird before seeing it, it sounded like a slightly odd White-throated, perhaps a bit more muddled and less piercing than one would typically expect.
The bird superficially looked like our traditional White-crowned, with a bold (thick) black eyeline and lores, white crown stripe, and had a dull yellowish bill. However, the bird had a blazing white throat with semi distinct lateral throat stripes, bordered by more white. Some faint streaking was evident on the sides up to and forming a slight "necklace" of streaking at the top of the breast, below the throat. I did not detect any hint of yellow in the lores, and aside from the throat and streaking I would have called this bird a fairly straightforward White-crowned.
I was unable to photograph or record audio of the bird, but with rain in the forecast tomorrow I should have a bit more time around the house to monitor my feeding station.
I'd love to hear any additional thoughts or input. In the limited searching I've done, this seems to be a relatively rare hybrid combo.