Date: 7/31/20 3:34 pm
From: Jeff Calhoun <jeffcalhoun11...>
Subject: Aquatic Avians on the Move!
I’ve spent some time around aquatic situations in Ford County the past
couple of days. Most of these locations would’ve been deserted on July 4,
but 8”+ of inches of rain over the past two weeks has made for some neat
habitat. One species that amazes me the most is SORA. A nice walk at Herron
Playa today produced at least 5 of them. They and Pied-billed Grebes
magically just start calling as soon as there is water. It’s so bizarre!
Waterfowl also just appear. I had a nice drake CINNAMON TEAL yesterday.
Where these birds come from, I have no idea. It’s fascinating.

Wading birds are undergoing their post-breeding or late-summer dispersal,
too. It’s hard to explain my shock yesterday in flushing 8 juvenile
Night-Herons and realizing that every single one was a YELLOW-CROWNED
NIGHT-HERON. Many people get them nesting in their yards, but these were my
first of year! What’s crazier is that August 1 will be here tomorrow and I
still won’t have Black-crown Night-Heron on my 2020 list (unless I add it
to the yard list tonight), but I’ll have those 8 Yellow-crowns from here in
sw Kansas. Crazy. Yesterday I also had four GREAT EGRETS and one AMERICAN
BITTERN near Herron Playa. I don’t think either of these species nests in
southwest Kansas, so I classify them as High Plains wanderers. Ibis
numbers are building, too. The most numerous shorebird at present is LESSER
YELLOWLEGS and the most numerous Calidris species is PECTORAL SANDPIPER.
There are a few BLACK TERNS around. Hoping for more aquatic birds in the
coming weeks!

Jeff Calhoun
Dodge City, KS

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