Date: 10/21/17 5:51 pm From: Pete Janzen <pete.janzen...> Subject: Fall River and Toronto birds October 21
8 members and friends of Wichita Audubon spent the day birding at Fall River and Toronto Reservoirs. The high winds were sustained throughout the day but we found a few birds of interest.
Pre-dawn we had 2 or 3 Greater Prairie-chickens fly over US 400 near Beaumont (Butler County)
At Fall River Reservoir (Greenwood County) we estimated 120,000 Franklin's Gulls. DC Cormorants, White Pelicans and Am. Coots were all in the hundreds of birds.- There were at least 5 Bald Eagles. Two Least Sandpipers were on a muddy shoreline area.
At Toronto Reservoir (Woodson County) there was a substantial muddy spit off to the west of of Cross Timbers St. Park. This had a surprising number of shorebirds including a number of Am. Avocets, 70 LB Dowitchers, 1 Pectoral, 4 Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Least Sandpipers and a Sanderling. Lots of pelicans, cormorants and Franklin's Gulls as well. Franklin's were also in the thousands at Toronto but we made no effort to determine total numbers on the lake. There were four dead White Pelicans on the spit. Impossible to say if these were dead from natural causes/disease/toxins or if they were shot. We then visited the pecan orchard area adjacent to Toronto Wildlife Area just north of Toronto. That is one of those places that always seems to turn up good birds, and we found some today. It was mostly out of the wind and birds were active. There were 2 Pine Warblers (new for all-time Woodson Co. list) seen well by the entire group, as well as a Black-throated Green seen by some of our party. The surprise of the day was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo lurking in vines about 30 ft off of the ground. I checked BOK when I got home and there are two Kansas records from later in the fall than this, but it was for sure the latest sighting any of us had observed.
We quit and headed for home at about the right time as the rain was moving in. There is a depressingly huge amount of sericia lespediza in many areas around both lakes. In general cold-weather waterfowl had not yet moved in but I bet they are on the heels of this front that came through this evening.