Date: 5/12/18 10:55 am From: Brandon Caswell <brandon.caswell83...> Subject: [ia-bird] New Johnson County Big Day Record
On May 10, 2018 four intrepid birders set out to break a long-standing Big Day record for Johnson County. Diana Pesek, James Huntington, Mark Brown and myself started at 4:30am near Hawekeye WMA, hearing Great Horned Owl and seeing Eastern Screech-Owl and Barred. We quickly ticked off American Woodcock and Sandhill Crane near Round Pond. Eleven species of waterfowl at Swan Lake plus several species of shorebirds at Swan Lake and the end of James Avenue were a nice surprise. Before heading to Hickory Hill Park we had ticked over 100 species in and around Hawkeye WMA. Things were getting off to a great start!
Trips to Hickory Hill, the Coralville Dam and Squire Point Trail were fairly slow, but we picked up a few new birds here and there. When we were around 20 species away from the previous record (136) there might have been a little doubt among group members that we would not so much as tie. I said jokingly, "I didn't sign up for this to not beat the record". A trip to Hanging Rock ended up pushing us to the point where we thought we had it. Visits to Twin View Heights and the South Arm of Lake Macbride pushed us over, tying with Wilson's Phalarope and beating with Greater Yellowlegs. James instilled in the group that we could not beat the record with an introduced species (e.g. Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mute Swan, etc.).
We had an absolute blast together and enjoyed the company of fellow birding pals. The weather could not have cooperated more! It didn't quite get over 80 degrees in the afternoon and there was little to no wind all day. We ended up with a final tally of *143 species*. We had 23 countable species of warblers (a single Orange-crowned we didn't get at least three people from the group on), 11 species of shorebirds and 12 species of sparrows. We missed considerably better shorebird habitat and diversity by about 2 days. We certainly didn't have a banner sparrow day!
Hawkeye WMA: -the aforementioned owls, Sora, Sandhill Crane and American Woodcock -Ring-necked Duck, Redhead and Lesser Scaup at Swan Lake plus a swallow slam -Mourning, Bay-breasted and Blackpoll warblers
Hickory Hill Park: -four Cape May Warblers, three were males
Coralville Dam: -Yellow-throated, Golden-winged, Black-throated Green warblers; Pileated Woodpecker and our only Belted Kingfisher
Amana Rd and Hanging Rock, Hawkeye WMA: -Eastern Bluebird...YES, it took THAT long for us to find one. Then after that we started seeing tons of them, of course. -Bell's Vireo, Henslow's Sparrow -Kentucky, Blackburnian and Cerulean warblers -Veery
SW of Swisher: -a phenomenal Huntington spot of a Northern Mockingbird
Twin View Heights: -Wilson's Phalarope, Semipalmated Sandpiper and the only Greater Yellowlegs we saw all day -two Snow Geese, one of which had an injured leg
South Arm, Lake Macbride area: -two Common Loon -a phenomenal spot by Mark Brown of a young male Blue Grosbeak -our only pair of American Kestrel, not too far from that area
May your May be one filled with bountiful outings to see our feathered friends!!!