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