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