Date: 3/23/21 9:06 am From: Stuart Sparkman <jacamar29...> Subject: [ia-bird] DSM area FOYs
Karen, Harney, and I took a rainy walk along the Des Moines River in NW Des Moines this morning, and were rewarded with a few 2021 firsts. We encountered three EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and enjoyed their delightful sneezy calls. A single DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT flew upriver towards Saylorville Dam. Near the large pond adjacent to Tai Village we were happy to listen to a performance of boreal chorus frogs. On the pond itself was a lonely looking PIED-BILLED GREBE, yet another FOY for us. The biggest highlight of the morning was a mammal. As we passed the pond on our return trip I heard something splash in the water. This was right at the terminus of an animal trail on which I've seen a beaver a couple of times, and I expected to see the nose and tail of a beaver or muskrat cruising away from us across the water. But instead, we saw a head and neck emerge from the surface and a little whiskery face staring back at us. I've walked this trail over 100 times a year for over ten years and had never before seen a river otter here, or anywhere at all near Saylorville Lake at all for that matter. But there he (she?) was in his riparian glory. After a few moments he had had enough of the sight of us and submerged. We stuck around a bit to see if we could see the otter climb out of the water, but the critter waited us out below or snuck out unobserved and we had to depart. Still, combined with the avian FOYS, the otter was a lovely surprise for a dreary morning. Spring is truly here.