With Hannah Floyd and Andrew Floyd, I had a splendid time with the High Plains Snow Goose Festival, based out of Lamar, Prowers County, the past few days. Highlights for Hannah and Andrew and me were:
Fri., Feb. 8, "The Black Hole," Two Buttes State Wildlife Area, Baca County. 8 *greater white-fronted geese* and 1 *yellow-headed blackbird.* Wind chill well below zero, but most in our group made it out alive.
Fri., Feb. 8, Turks Pond State Wildlife Area & vicinity, Baca County. A *McCown longspur* mixed in with hundreds of *Lapland longspurs.* It was warmer here than it was down in The Black Hole, but it was, believe it or not, even windier. Couldn't get close to the pond (closed to all human activity), but we saw several flocks of drake *northern pintails* on the wing.
Fri., Feb. 8, Rocking 7K Ranch, Prowers County. The first bird the group saw was a *greater roadrunner* scampering across the front yard, and the last birds we saw were *wild turkeys* in the exact same spot. In between, it was terribly windy, but we did see 30+ *mountain bluebirds* hunting for terrestrial caterpillars, a wind-tossed *curve-billed thrasher,* and several *ferruginous hawks.*
Sat., Feb. 9, Lamar Community College, Prowers County. Made several visits, with Tony Leukering and Tim Smart and with Hannah Floyd, to this ever-birdy spot. 1 *Carolina nuthatch,* 3 *marsh wrens,* 1 *Townsend solitaire,* 1 *hermit thrush,* 1 *white-throated sparrow,* 1 *swamp sparrow,* 1 *myrtle warbler,* and 5 *northern cardinals.*
Sat., Feb. 9, Willow Valley subdivision, Prowers County. At the intersection of Willow Valley Way & Willow Valley Way, Hannah Floyd and I counted at least 16 *white-winged doves.* This intersection is one block east of the intersection of Willow Valley Way & Willow Valley Way, and it is one block south of the intersection of Willow Valley Way & Willow Valley Way.
Sat., Feb. 9, Big R of Lamar, Prowers County. With Hannah Floyd, 75 *great-tailed grackles* caterwauling in the strong afternoon wind.
Sun., Feb. 10, Thurston Reservoir, Prowers County. A chatterbox *marsh wren* was a crowd pleaser.
Sun., Feb, 10, King Reservoir, Kiowa County. Two *golden eagles* perched, soaring, and even hopping around on the ground. The shallow water here was frozen; looks like the site could be excellent for spring sandpipers.
Sun., Feb. 10, Upper Queen Reservoir, a.k.a. Neeskah Reservoir, Kiowa County. We listened to and watched a steady progression of southbound (um?) *snow geese,* the whole time we were there. Several thousand birds. An adult female *rough-legged hawk* put in an appearance here too. And we saw a swift fox.
Sun., Feb. 10, Neegronda Reservoir, Kiowa County. 1 first-cycle *lesser black-backed gull* and 3 wayward *pine siskins. *A robber fly, perhaps in the genus *Efferia*, was nice.
Sun., Feb. 10, Neenoshe Reservoir, Kiowa County. At least 20+ *bald eagles,* plus counts of *mallards, common goldeneyes,* and *common goldeneyes* that blew the eBIrd filter limits to smithereens.
Thanks to the organizers of the 18th annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival for the fun-filled weekend, and thanks especially to the hearty field trip participants for all their mirth and jollity in the face of the unrelenting wind.