Date: 5/2/18 5:55 pm From: Nickel, James B <James.Nickel...> Subject: Morton County
I have one story about Amarillo before I talk about Morton County. I was at the cemetery, walking around, and flushed a poorwill. I saw it land, and snuck up on the bird, keeping a gravestone between us. I poked my head over the grave marker and the bird was 20 feet from me. That is as close as I probably will ever get to one.
I stopped at the Lagoons/shelterbelt/cemetery area at Elkhart. The lagoons still held a lot of waterfowl and shorebirds, but the best sighting was 25+ ibis. There were a lot of Warblers and other migrants at the shelterbelt but not much diversity. The Empids are just starting to show up. One of these days I need to recruit a good birder to school me on empids. The best birds were a couple of Tanagers. One was a molting juvenile male (summer) and the other was a female that I couldn't ID because of poor looks. I walked over to the cemetery and found a "Grey-headed" Dark eyed Junco. I have seen thousands in the Rockies, but I do not think I have ever seen one in Kansas before.
I ran into David Wiggins. He said he had been around the area for about three days. We birded together for a couple of hours. We saw Red Crossbills together. He said he had seen a Townsend's warbler and a Lazuli Bunting in the shelterbelt. I asked him about Ash-throated Flycatchers and he said they are around now. I suspected as much, because they have been in Texas several weeks now. He said he saw Steller's Jay. I did not see one but I heard them calling.
I am surprised at the ease of seeing Barn Owls in Morton County now. It seems like it is more of a surprise not to see one at stop, then to see one. Out 4 stops I saw them at three and at 2 stops more than one bird.
I went to the North fork area and there were a lot of birds and a lot of migrants. Five warbler species: Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, Wilson's, Nashville, and Parula. There was also an Olive-sided Flycatcher. Best Wishes Jim Nickel Peabody, KS