We birded Nisland-Orman Dam-Arpan-North of Belle Fourche today as part of the West River Migration Count. Another cool, foggy, and very wet day but with an overwhelming number of birds and very muddy back roads. We counted 84 species and 2873 birds. In the Arpan area (East of Orman Dam) we had so many birds it was impossible to accurately count them. There would be mixed flocks of sparrows on the road, ducks on the small ponds either side of the road, mixed flocks of Cowbirds-Red Wing BB-Yellow Headed BB-Grackles mixed in with the cows, Kingbirds on the fences, along with birds in the trees and flying overhead. It took us 9.5 hours for the route instead of our usual 8 hours.
Highlights of the day included a Sandhill Crane at Nisland slough (possibly nesting?), White-faced Ibis and Bullock’s Oriole at Orman Dam, Black-necked Stilt, and a Lapland Longspur (a first for the count) on Arpan Road. Shorebirds included Greater-Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted and Upland Sandpiper, and Least and Stilt Sandpiper. Raptors were still scarce but included Northern Harrier, Coopers Hawk, Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks, and American Kestrel. Warblers were also scarce but included Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, and Common Yellowthroat.