Date: 10/27/20 8:30 pm
From: Brandon Caswell <brandon.caswell83...>
Subject: [ia-bird] Johnson Co. waterfowl "Big Day"/Big Year update
Hi all,

There has been some amazing waterfowl diversity in Central Iowa and along
the Mississippi River lately. Today, Johnson County finally got in on some
of it. Last night I decided to do a "Waterfowl Big Day". I guess I aimed
at trying to find as many waterfowl species as possible until heading back
home around 3:30pm.

I got a late start and unfortunately the Surf Scoter that Mark Brown had
found late Monday evening at Terry Trueblood had left sometime before or
around sunrise. I was perhaps a little down right off the bat at what lied
ahead for the day, but pushed on. That Surf was actually the first scoter
that's ever been eBirded at Terry Trueblood, so great find on that long
overdue tick for the hotspot!

My next stop was at Mar Lee/West Lakes Park where I had an AMERICAN BLACK
DUCK. That was #262 for my Johnson County Big Year. It can be a tough
county bird, but has become reliable at this spot over the past several

At the North Arm of Lake Macbride I had a lone RED-NECKED GREBE and thought
maybe it was a bird Jim Forde had found last weekend. I later found another
single at Coralville Reservoir (big bend area around Scales Pointe), so it
looks like his pair stayed local, but perhaps parted ways. Other waterfowl
at "the Res" included at least two GREATER SCAUP, a female/immature BLACK
SCOTER (#263) and after some others came out to relocate the scoter, a
WESTERN GREBE (#264). Mark Brown left Scales with 268 species (!) for his
Johnson County Big Year and the Black Scoter was #299 for his county list!
Thanks to James Huntington for spotting the Western Grebe!

I had 21 species of ducks/geese and as I mentioned four grebes at one
location. Having Western and Red-necked together is pretty much unheard of
in our parts I assume.

I next made a quick stop back at Mar Lee/West Lakes to tick off Greater
White-fronted and Cackling geese that had come back to set in for the
evening (or sometimes they stage there and then fly to local fields for the
night). Then over to F.W. Kent Park for Linda Rudolf's ROSS'S GOOSE (thank
you Linda!). This goose may be "Bob". Apparently the schoolkids over near
West Lakes Park have nicknamed a Ross's Goose that's been hanging out there
several days. It just dawned on me "Bob Ross", perhaps just a coincidence
(or a school teacher was in on the nickname too). :)

Mark Brown and I, at this point, fully expect to hit the 270 mark for the
year. We still both need a scoter. Will be on the lookout for Red-throated
Loons among other notable water birds. We have yet to see Long-eared,
Short-eared or Northern Saw-whet owls. I've got three fairly easy winter
birds to get in the following weeks. It's going to be a fun last two months!

Good birding,
Brandon Caswell

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