Date: 3/23/21 9:06 am
From: Stuart Sparkman <jacamar29...>
Subject: [ia-bird] DSM area FOYs
Hey I-Birders,

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.

Good Birding,

Stuart Sparkman
NW Des Moines

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