I ran the Summit Prairie Breeding Bird Survey on Friday with my son, Nate. The weather was cooperative (sunny & mild) but species numbers were down. This was the 33rd time I have run this route, and there have been a lot of changes over the years. Although in the early 80s I often ran this route in early July, now with the climate situation, the last week of June is even too late. I missed Black-headed Grosbeak for only the 2nd time since 1988. Other big misses were Killdeer (1st time), Belted Kingfisher, Williamson's & Red-naped Sapsuckers, Barn Swallow, Western Bluebird, Townsend's Warbler and Pine Siskin. Best finds were Black-backed Woodpeckers (3rd record), Ash-throated Flycatcher (3rd record), Common Yellowthroat (9th) and American Goldfinch (8th). The species total of 61 was the lowest ever for the route, but the number of individuals, 647, was the most since 2004.
The prairie was dry so we only found 2 Sandhill Cranes (compared to 20 last year) and no Long-billed Curlews or Wilson's Phalaropes. After having Veery on the route for 17 of the first 19 years, for the 14th year in a row they have been absent. Hearing them sing was always something I looked forward to on the route.