Date: 10/28/20 11:48 am
From: Stuart Sparkman <jacamar29...>
Subject: [ia-bird] Saylorville area
Hey I-Birders,

Harney and I went lakeward this morning to seek our avian fortune.
From the Saylorville dam (Polk County) east pullout a sizable flock of
ducks was worth picking through. No scoters, but a pretty good variety
with GADWALL, CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, RUDDY DUCK, NORTHERN SHOVELER, LESSER
SCAUP, RING-NECKED DUCK and MALLARD all present, along with the ubiquitous
fleet of AMERICAN COOT. Several COMMON LOONS were seen in the general
vicinity, and some late TREE SWALLOWS were foraging over the water near the
duck flock. Perhaps the most interesting thing was a group of four HOODED
MERGANSERS poking around in the inlet just below Red Feather Prairie.

Deciding to check out Big Creek State Park (Polk County, north of Polk
City), we headed north. No duck flock of any size was around, but past the
beach/marina I was surprised to find three DUNLIN which I unwittingly
chased past the jetty. After a bit of searching I relocated them on a
little point along an inlet and got nice scope views. From the jetty a
couple of HORNED GREBES were visible, and several dozen BONAPARTE'S GULLS
were active on and above the water. I found a little spot near the beach
later where I had both BONAPARTE'S and FRANKLIN'S GULL in the same scope
view, and I really enjoyed comparing the field marks and morphology at
leisure. A sparrow flock near the marina yielded SWAMP, LINCOLN'S, SONG,
WHITE-THROATED, HARRIS'S (5), and a single SAVANNAH SPARROW which seemed to
generally pose well in excellent light. Three confiding GOLDEN-CROWNED
KINGLETS seemed to welcome us on the trail. Lovely morning to be out.

On the home front, we've had an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER in the back
yard for the better part of a week now, and yesterday and today it seems to
be spending nearly all of its time on or near the ground, poking about in
the leaf litter and in the low plants. Maybe the available insects are
lower right now, or maybe the local nuthatches have warned it that the
trees belong to the bark-gleaners and are thus off-limits!

Good Birding,

Stuart Sparkman
NW Des Moines

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