Date: 4/28/18 6:30 pm From: 'Terry Sohl' <tlsohl...> [sd-birds] <sd-birds-noreply...> Subject: [sd-birds] All Quiet on the Eastern (South Dakota) Front
With all the snowmelt, it's a shorebird habitat extravaganza here on the far eastern edge of the state. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the shorebirds. Been trying all week to photograph shorebirds, but it's hard when the birds aren't there! Today, I started out at dawn by Worthing in Lincoln County, went up through western Minnehaha County, all the way up to Madison and then Lake Thompson, and back. Shorebirds? There were a few scattered Yellowlegs here and there, but despite all that driving, I'd guess less than 30 Yellowlegs total (with probably 5 of those Greater). I saw 7 American Avocets north of Humboldt. 3 Willets at 2 different spots. 4 total Pectoral Sandpipers. 4 total Wilson's Phalarope. 3 total Wilson's Snipe. One Spotted Sandpiper on Wall Lake beach. And.that's it! For starting at 6:30 AM and not getting home until 2:30 pm, and for driving 150+ miles, that's not many shorebirds!
It doesn't help when the lakes NW of Madison still have a bunch of ice! I wasn't expecting that, but the Highway 81 lakes still had a lot of ice, and much of Lake Thompson north of Oldham grade was still ice covered. Wasn't just slow for shorebirds, there weren't many other waterbirds around (except for a billion or so Coots). There were a handful of Great Egrets around, and I saw my first two Green Herons of the year down by Worthing. But even gulls weren't all that plentiful compared to past years. Someone needs to tell the birds we've thawed! Come back!
Despite the relatively slow birding for this time of year, there were some highlights. FOY (for me) included the Green Herons, Spotted Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Wilson's Snipe, Barn Swallow, Sora, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, Western Grebe, and Bonaparte's Gull. There were also 3 Common Loons at Wall Lake, one of which was fishing close to shore and allowed for some nice photos.
Hopefully that 35 mph south wind tomorrow and tomorrow night brings some shorebirds with it! A few photos from today: