With such huge swarms of red-winged blackbirds going through during migration, it is not surprising that the nearest town to Cheyenne Bottoms was named Redwing. I wonder if an estimate of 15 million would be a near record. Makes it hard to imagine that even larger swarms of Passenger Pigeons could be driven to extinction.
Hays, Kansas (but born and raised in Barton County)
From: Birds & Their Habitats in Kansas <KSBIRD-L...> on behalf of Mark Land <markeland...>
Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 10:00 PM
Terry Swope and I made our annual "hope we find" Whooping Cranes trip. We started with watching a Merlin eat breakfast while being serenaded by a braying donkey north of Ellinwood. Lots of Brewer's Blackbirds were here and in numerous other locations. We finally made it to Quivira with no wind and Black-bellied Plovers on the ice north of 170. We were able to scope 4 adult Whooping Cranes in front of thousands of Sandhills Cranes from the scope stand on the wildlife drive. They took off around 10:15 headed south. We found lots of geese and ducks on the western side with good flocks of Cackling and Ross's Geese, several Eared Grebes, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Least Sandpipers still around. Several Harrier's haggled over carrion on the ice. It was indeed awesome.
Red-tailed Hawks of a great variety kept us on our toes all day.
At Cheyenne Bottoms an amazing spectacle as millions of Red-winged Blackbirds were flying by us and around us in great waves, balls and huge streams for more than an hour. 15,000,000 is a conservative estimate!
Here I enjoyed photographing many young Ring-billed Gulls and a very young juvenile plumaged Herring Gull.
As I say so often these places never fail to amaze!