Date: 5/6/18 1:40 pm
From: Stuart Sparkman <jacamar29...>
Subject: [ia-bird] Lee/Van Buren Weekend
Hey I-Birders,

Karen, Harney, and I just returned from a wonderful birding
weekend in SE Iowa. On our way down we stopped at Eddyville Sand
Dunes Prairie, which we had never visited. Some great habitat there
we had never seen in Iowa, and nice birding as well, including BELL'S
VIREO, ORCHARD ORIOLE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.
Finding the campground at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park closed (during
the best camping month of the year ?!?) we pivoted towards Shimek SF
(Lee Co) and camped at White Oak in Donnellson unit for two nights.
Each night we heard 3 - 5 EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS, and multiple BARRED
OWLS as well as noisy coyotes calling in chorus. Our constant
companions in the campsite were a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (commonly seen
wherever we went down there, it seemed), a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER pair
making their gnatcher noises, and OVENBIRDS, with SUMMER TANAGER
dropping through occasionally. Along Donnellson Road in the forest we
had both GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER.

On Saturday we birded Ely Ford area of Lacey-Keosauqua State Park,
which was abundant with NORTHERN PARULA and WARBLING VIREO. We had
multiple YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS near the road, and walked in along
the creek , finding a couple GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS, a few
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, a loudly singing very conspicuous KENTUCKY
WARBLER, and our FOY EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. A late morning hike around
Lake Lacey was less birdy, but still yielded two more Kentucky
Warblers and more Chestnut-sideds. ACADIAN FLYCATCHER was heard, WOOD
THRUSH was heard often and seen briefly, and a stunning PILEATED
WOODPECKER made an appearance. An afternoon stop by Lake Sugema found
PURPLE MARTINS, PALM WARBLERS, and NORTHERN BOBWHITE.

This morning's walk around the Croton Unit of Shimek State Forest
yielded about five each of YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and WHITE-EYED VIREO,
both of which were conspicuous and giving great views. We were
lacking two vireo species for our Iowa vireo slam for this trip, when
a WHITE-EYED sounded off, then appeared, then flew into a tree very
close to us. Karen said "There's two!" but when we inspected the
second one, it turned out to be a PHILADELPHIA VIREO. That was a nice
moment of serendipity, as the slam was completed. A SCARLET TANAGER
made a nice appearance as well, and eight BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS
eventually stopped gaining our attention. INDIGO BUNTINGS buzzed like
an invading army. No Worm-eating Warbler was detected this morning,
and the wrecked cars to the east were silent of wrens, though just to
the east of the junk a GREEN HERON flew up off of a farm pond for an
unexpected viewing. Back at Croton, walking the road along the creek
gained us a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH at the creek crossing, a BARRED OWL
flushing from under the bridge, another YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, a
curious OVENBIRD who was strutting along the gravel road for over two
minutes, maybe picking up grit (?), and a FOY MAGNOLIA WARBLER, a nice
capper for the trip. As a bonus, when we arrived home Karen
discovered that our local EASTERN PHOEBES (which had been acting
suspiciously) had built a nest above our seldom used porch door behind
our garage and the female was sitting on it. We'll be watching their
progress with interest.

Enjoyed meeting Chuck Fuller and Candace Havely along the birding
trail, as well as some nice new-to-us birders from Fairfield and
elsewhere. Hope to see many of you at IOU.

Good Birding,

Stuart Sparkman
NW Des Moines

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