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2019 The Panjin Old Fat Man Birding in America

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Old Friday 5th April 2019, 16:33   #1
Owen Krout
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2019 The Panjin Old Fat Man Birding in America

In the last twenty years we have actually been in China more than in America and my normal posts are on my thread for Panjin, Liaoning, China. However I just arrived back in the USA. I'll be based out of Kansas City, Kansas, which is about a central a location as you can have in the lower 48 States. However I will be making some trips and doing some birding in various locations.

April 4th was my first full day back and of course it was a dark and rainy day. We have feeders up though and so I even managed to snatch some decent pictures of a few species that I didn't have photo records of.

Dark-Eyed Junco of the Oregon Junco sub-species; Northern Cardinal; Black-Capped Chickadee and a little Downy Woodpecker were especially cooperative while Red-Winged Blackbird and Blue Jay loudly scolded me for interrupting their mealtime.

Still poor lighting today for photography but things should start to improve soon....

Home Yard KCK, Wyandotte, Kansas, US
Apr 4, 2019 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Protocol: Stationary
13 species (+1 other taxa)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) 1
Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus) 2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 4
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 10
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 2
House/Purple Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus/purpureus) 6
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 4
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 4
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 6
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 10

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54579119
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Old Friday 5th April 2019, 17:13   #2
Owen Krout
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April 4th 2019 Wyandotte County Lake

Dodging raindrops I managed to catch some decent photos at the nearby Wyandotte County Lake, which is an underappreciated hot spot for birding.

A Great Blue Heron that had apparently given up on the day and decided to settle in early for the evening had found a patch of reeds for the evening and wasn't inclined to move. The tameness of the wild birds here really struck me for the first time after spending so much time in China where getting close to anything requires real patience and time.

The Turkey Vulture also had decided to give up on it and were descending from the low hanging clouds from all directions to gather in their regular evening colony. Impressive to have those huge birds gliding just 7 or 8 meters overhead as they come in to perch.

The ubiquitous Canada Goose were our on the lake of course, but of greater interest were the fifty or so Double-Crested Cormorant out on the lake with them. A new species for me, so off to a good start despite the weather!

Some American Crow found a dead fish along the shoreline and that attracted the attention of the Turkey Vulture from their perches on the other side of the lake. They came over in force and squabbled over what for birds of their size was just a morsel while the crows retreated and loudly objected to giving up their dinner.

Fog was starting to set in at that point so I gave it up and headed to my car. Another birder sticking to his car chatted briefly and told me that I had missed a Tundra Swan that had spent a couple of days there a few days before.

As soon as I am a little less jet lagged I am planning to take the trip out to the Quivira National Wildlife Preserve. A natural wetland area in central Kansas. With luck one could even manage to catch a few Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane. The thought of the trip to Nebraska for those two may be out since Nebraska has had massive flooding this spring.

Wyandotte Co. Lake, Wyandotte, Kansas, US
Apr 4, 2019 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
4 species

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 50
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 25
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 4

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54582052
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Old Saturday 6th April 2019, 08:43   #3
Gretchen
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Nice to hear about your (familiar to me) birds Owen. Have to agree on the comment about the tameness of US birds - I suppose overall they must be left in peace more? Hope you enjoy your US birding!
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Old Saturday 6th April 2019, 22:59   #4
Lancy Cheng
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Wish you have a good time, Owen! It's rare viewing something you posted without scratching my head :p
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Old Wednesday 10th April 2019, 22:31   #5
Owen Krout
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Baker Wetlands - April 8, 2019

Today's trip was my first trip out to the nearby Baker Wetlands on the south edge of Lawrence, KS. There are 927 acres (375 hectare) of wetlands managed by Baker University. It is very nicely done providing well maintained walking paths. It is actually a wetland very much like what I can find in Panjin, Liaoning, China, but of course is adjacent to a small stream rather than between the mouths of two major rivers where they empty into the sea.

It was an absolute perfect day with temps at about 72F (22C) and barely a breeze blowing with clear blue skies.

Blue-Winged Teal American Cootand Northern Shoveler made up the bulk of the waterbirds with a few Green-Winged Teal mixed in. Having taken up birding after moving to China, I am much more familiar with Old World birds and am working on getting a good hand on the New World species. Hence I was surprised to see the similarities to what I would see in China.

As I drove into the parking lot, I was greeted by a Red-Tailed Hawk and a pair of American Crow as well as a couple of early arrival Purple Martin working on selecting their apartment.

Along the path were nest boxes each with a pair of Tree Swallow sitting on top and chasing away any other TS that came too close. Of course, being Kansas, the State bird had to make it's appearance. Several Eastern Meadowlark were scattered about marking their territory with song. American Robin also hopped about catching insects. Being a wetland, there were, of course, many Red-Winged Blackbird also.

A few Killdeer (plovers) foraged the exposed mud and a couple of Great Blue Heron stood tall in the grass that had not been burned off yet as workers were doing prescribed burns further to the east.

In some woodland near the Wakarusa Creek I found some cheerful American Goldfinch and one each of Eastern Phoebe & Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. Hearing a tree frog calling loudly I took the time to try and locate it. This is normally a fool's errand as they seem to be masters of sounding like they are were they are not. This time however I was actually able to spot the culprit using Mark I eyeballs! Even managed a photo that I'll admit to being rather proud of. I decided not to finish the trail at that point though as a herd of preschoolers showed up and I decided to head back. No complaint, it is just their nature to be constantly on the move and loud. Just as I left the wooded area another early arrival in the form of an Eastern Bluebird popped up from the grass to eyeball me from a tree limb.

As I was finishing, a Bald Eagle caused panic on the ponds, but it was actually only coming in to snatch a rather large fish from the waters.

A few Double-Crested Cormorant and a single Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker rounded things out.

I am working on editing the photos from a major trip I made yesterday and will have that ready soon.

Baker Wetlands--West Restoration, Douglas, Kansas, US
Apr 8, 2019 12:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
22 species

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 50
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 40
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) 5
Green-winged Teal (American) (Anas crecca carolinensis) 10
Redhead (Aythya americana) 5
American Coot (Fulica americana) 35
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 10
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 4
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 2
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 2
Purple Martin (Progne subis) 2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 26
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 8
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) 5
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) 3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 25

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54741643
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Old Wednesday 10th April 2019, 22:36   #6
Owen Krout
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More Baker Wetland photos

A few more Baker Wetland photos. I do include more pics than I have room for here in most of my e-bird postings, so you can follow the link to those if you want to see.
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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 03:06   #7
Owen Krout
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APR-10 Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

I've been too busy to keep up with editing photos and posting my trips. This morning was dedicated to filing my income taxes though and once that was done I have had time to start to catch up.

On April 10th I decided that conditions were good and I needed to make the Quivira Wetlands, near Great Bend, KS, before I missed any more of the migration through there. It is just over 250 miles (400 km) from home, most of it through the big empty spaces of Kansas, so made for a long day but well worth the effort.

Everything that I had read before hand preparing for the visit failed to convey any real sense of what to expect. It is a Federal run refuge located in the Sand Hills region of central Kansas with stabilized sand dunes and is really big. The roads are more of trails being unimproved and through the soft sand. Not quite an off-road trail, but close to that in places that were still soft from recent rains. There are two large salt water marshes, Little Salt Marsh and Big Salt Marsh with many small marsh ponds scattered around them.

I ended up spending about five hours birding, only giving up as it just got too dark. During that entire time I only saw three other cars all which were also birders. Waterfowl hunting is allowed during the season which, I am sure contributed to the wariness of everything on the water. Between that and the flat wide open spaces, a good spotting scope would have been really useful, but even as it was I was kept busy.

Ducks were the order of the day with too many Northern Shoveler; American Coot; Blue-Winged Teal; & Gadwall to be able to even estimate a count. One of the small marsh areas yielded quite a variety of ducks in a mixed group out on the pond. Bufflehead; Redhead; Ruddy Duck, American Coot & a few Gadwall paddled about together. Great Blue Heron were scattered about everywhere.

At the very north end of the Little Salt Marsh (Little only in comparison to the Big Salt Marsh) was a flock of Double-Crested Cormorant with a few American White Pelican mixed in with them. The Cormorant swimming with just their heads and necks exposed next to the huge Pelican was a sight.

Scattered about I managed to catch sight of a few ones and twos of species to add to my lifelist like Northern Pintail.

Moving on to the Big Salt Marsh, I at first found only more Northern Shoveler and Blue-Winged Teal but just as I decided to give up for the day I spotted another side road and found another small marsh pond which yielded Black-Necked Stilt; American Avocet; Snowy Plover; and Lesser Yellowleg all of which were new tics for me! That little side road looped around and also yielded Green-Winged Teal; Ruddy Duck; Killdeer and just as the sun set, huge flocks of Double-Crested Cormorant and Franklin's Gull descended into a good size marsh next to the Big Salt Marsh.

A very good day, but the Ranger had told me at the Visitor's center that he thought that all the waterfowl that are found there were out on the water that day. I didn't find them all and if I had allowed for a two day trip I would have visited the Cheyenne Wildlife Refuge as well, just to the south and run by the State of Kansas. Unfortunately, as seems to be the rule for me, I missed a few Sandhill Crane and even a couple of Whooping Crane that had been seen four days before.

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford, Kansas, US
Apr 9, 2019 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.0 kilometer(s)
Comments: Big Salt Marsh Area
16 species

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) X
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) X
American Wigeon (Mareca americana) 10
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 4
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 10
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 6
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) 6
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) 4
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) 2
Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) 1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 20
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 5
Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) 100
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 4
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) X

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54817044
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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 03:09   #8
Owen Krout
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More Quivira pics

Just too many photos to share here, but here are a few more.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 02:35   #9
Owen Krout
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APR-11 Cedar Lake - Olathe, KS

On April 11th I started out to check out the relatively new Kansas City Power & Light Wetlands next to the new rail yards on the edge of Gardner, Kansas and decided that since it was on the way, I would check out Cedar Lake in Olathe. Cedar Lake is barely big enough to reach the rating of lake rather than large pond, but it proved to be good birding.

As I drove in I immediately spotted an American White Pelican sitting on the water casually scooping up fish, apparently from a school it had discovered. While I was still taking shots of the Pelican, a Double-Crested Cormorant photo bombed the shot. Looking up in surprise from having a big black Cormorant flash through the viewfinder just as I pushed the shutter, I spotted a Bald Eagle soaring overhead!

Deciding that this might be a better birding spot than I expected, I proceeded to slowly work my way around the lake shore to check it out more carefully than I had planned. I was quickly able to spot several Great Blue Heron scattered about the lake as well as a second Bald Eagle in the distance doing the "sky dance" display, soaring up and then plunging down with the first one I had spotted.

Off in one corner, where they were shielded from the wind were Pie-Billed Grebe & Blue-Winged Teal & some Ruddy Duck as well as more Double-Crested Cormorant.

It was at that point while standing next to the spillway that I noticed some trails leading off into the woods around the spillway area and decided to try my luck at some Passerines. That turned into an hour and a half stalking some interesting birds lurking in the cover.

First to show itself was a Brown Thrasher which I easily visually identified as it flashed by moving from heavy cover to another heavy cover. Hearing their high pitched calls and being able to see movement in the trees I managed to get some excellent shots of some Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. One of the species that actually looks like the name implies. A Tufted Titmouse didn't like me in it's territory and started scolding, but wouldn't sit still for it's picture. That scolding attracted some Northern Cardinal & Black-Capped Chickadee which joined in the scolding.

I changed positions at that point, moving back to the spillway itself and found a pair of White-Throated Sparrow foraging on the ground in some heavy brush and mostly just ignoring me. It was just then, as I had just decided to go back to the lake that the find of the day appeared as I spotted a flash of yellow in the trees. A small group of Yellow-Rumped Warbler were flitting about on the other side of the spillway.

After working the area for awhile with nothing special, I decided to move back up onto the lake shore and was immediately greeted with a single Ring-Billed Gull who dove down, caught a fish and soared away. As I was following the flight of the gull, it lead my eye to a single Spotted Sandpiper which cooperatively remained in place until I was able to move to a better, closer position and snap a shot. Just to top it all off, I finished up with a single Eastern Bluebird.

From there I moved on to my original destination, but found it interesting but not very birdy with mostly Blue-Winged Teal & some American Coot. It is a pleasant site for a walk, but not being natural wetland and of recent development, it hasn't yet attracted a lot of birds.

Cedar Lake, Johnson, Kansas, US
Apr 11, 2019 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
22 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 8
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 20
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 4
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) 17
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 30
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 15
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 7
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 10
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) 8
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 1
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) 2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 5
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 4

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S5486070
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 02:38   #10
Owen Krout
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Cedar Lake pics

Some more pics
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 02:57   #11
Owen Krout
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APR-12 Hillsdale Lake - Brown's Wetlands Miami County Kansas

Still having some daylight left, I decided to move over and checkout nearby Hillsdale Lake. In particular, the northern upper end of the basin where the Brown's Wetlands are. Not many people get back into that part of the lake, except maybe during hunting seasons.

Mostly large flocks of Double-Crested Cormorant; American Coot & American White Pelican. Of particular interest to me were a pair of Bald Eagle soaring high over their nest. Some Mallard; Redhead & Ring-Necked Duck were found in a small sheltered wetland area.

Dark clouds were moving in ruining my light for photography and so I decided it had been a very good day and closed up shop.

Brown's Wetlands, Hillsdale Lake, Miami County, KS, Miami, Kansas, US
Apr 11, 2019 2:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
12 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Redhead (Aythya americana) 10
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 20
American Coot (Fulica americana) 75
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 100
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 35
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 6
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 2
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) 20
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 4
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54861554
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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 11:05   #12
Owen Krout
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Yard Feeder pics

Just some pics showing the type of thing we get everyday at the bird feeder in the front yard here in Kansas City, Kansas
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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 11:23   #13
Owen Krout
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And a few more yard feeder pics

And a few more...

I've been paying closer attention to the sparrows and am discovering a lot more variety than I realized before. The White-Throated Sparrow will only forage for insects on the newly sprouted buds on the trees and scratch through the fallen seed on the ground, never actually coming to the feeders.

The Northern Cardinal mostly feed at first light and last light, coming in as a group. A flock of Cardinal is a "college", but the college here seems to have grown to a university with four to eight pairs at a time. Even with those numbers they wait up in the tree and take turns with only one bird at a time on the platform feeder. Mostly though, they feed off what gets spilled to the ground. I haven't managed a picture yet, but I have seen a male bringing sunflower seeds to one yellowish colored female that stays up in the tree.
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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 13:04   #14
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APR-15 - Loess Bluffs NWR - Northwest Missouri

With the flood waters of the Missouri River and it's tributaries finally falling to where the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge was open, I made the trip up there to catch some of the tail end of the waterfowl migration. Another wetland preservation project being very much like what I bird in Panjin, China. This time I was the only person on the refuge and as at Quivira NWR the roads were unimproved dirt roads. Here though the soil is loess, deposited at the terminal line of the glaciers at the end of the Ice Age.

The first thing I spotted was a single Pie-Billed Grebe lounging on a log which immediately dived and disappeared. After some careful searching I managed to find it. Moving on to the next pond, I found flocks of PBG and Blue-Winged Teal both on the water and in the grass and reeds.

I turned the other way and did some observing in the swampy, more riparian area to the other side of the road and found several interesting Passerines. A few Northern Cardinal called from the trees and Ruby-Crowned Kinglet & White-Throated Sparrow flitted through the brushy cover while on the ground level some aptly named Swamp Sparrow hid deep in the cover just out of the water.

Further on were large groups of American Coot & more Blue-Winged Teal with a few Greater Yellowlegs scattered about.

Red-Winged Blackbird were abundant in the riparian areas and I managed to get a good pic of a Belted Kingfisher. Meanwhile a few Great Egret & Great Blue Heron were working the shorelines. A couple of Double-Crested Cormorant were lurking in a drainage canal having failed to move on with the rest of the migration.


Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Holt, Missouri, US
Apr 15, 2019 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.0 kilometer(s)
19 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 6
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 275 Abundant - If anything a low count - Easily identified naked eye, binoculars and with camera
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 12
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 30
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 4
American Coot (Fulica americana) 200
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 4
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 4
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 4
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 100
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) 10
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 8

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55050812
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Old Tuesday 23rd April 2019, 19:04   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Krout View Post
Still having some daylight left, I decided to move over and checkout nearby Hillsdale Lake. In particular, the northern upper end of the basin where the Brown's Wetlands are. Not many people get back into that part of the lake, except maybe during hunting seasons.

Mostly large flocks of Double-Crested Cormorant; American Coot & American White Pelican. Of particular interest to me were a pair of Bald Eagle soaring high over their nest. Some Mallard; Redhead & Ring-Necked Duck were found in a small sheltered wetland area.

Dark clouds were moving in ruining my light for photography and so I decided it had been a very good day and closed up shop.

Brown's Wetlands, Hillsdale Lake, Miami County, KS, Miami, Kansas, US
Apr 11, 2019 2:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
12 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6
Redhead (Aythya americana) 10
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 20
American Coot (Fulica americana) 75
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 100
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 35
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 6
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 2
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) 20
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 50
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 4
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54861554
Tough angle but could the bird in the 2nd photo be a swift, Owen?
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 00:01   #16
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Hi Lancy,

Indeed it was considered and even agonized over! Another one from the same day shows the wing shape better. The coloration was harder to pickup on, but in flight there was a clear delineation between the brown upper body and the clean white of the lower body. That determined between Bank Swallow and Northern Rough-Winged Swallow, which also occurs in this area. The NRWS has a more gradual change from the brown to the white giving a "dirty" look to it's sides. The NRWS also would have a more deeply notched tail. Anyone who can pick all that out by eye as these little fellows go flashing by has my admiration! A couple of other blurry shots also appear to show a hint of a partial white neck ring, which would also point to Bank S.

Chimney Swift are in rapid decline here and getting hard to find as the suitable nesting in old, large, chimneys are disappearing.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 05:34   #17
Owen Krout
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April 22, 2019

Someone had reported a Louisiana Waterthrush at Mill Creek Park the day before and since I was already planning to see if I could add to my list with the Yellow-Headed Blackbird that were reported south of here and the park was on my way, I decided to make a quick stop and try to pick the thrush up also. Four and a half hours later threatening rain finally got me out of my "quick stop".

Mill Creek Streamway Park is situated at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Kaw (known as the Kansas River by anyone not from Kansas) and extends up Mill Creek with old growth Cottonwood trees and a good mixed woodland along the banks. Several large open meadows also exist giving a good area for birding. Better than I expected as I ended up with 31 species including three new lifers. Just the highlights as there is too much to detail it out here, but the full list and link to my e-bird report is below this.

Shortly after arriving I was standing on the bank of the creek and was surprised to have a Mourning Dove suddenly fall out of a cottonwood tree and land right next to me. It struggled and flopped about, obviously unable to fly. At that point I assumed it to be injured, possibly a broken wing and unable to fly. However as it was flailing about moving off towards some brushy cover, a second Mourning Dove came plummeting down from the same tree and also flailed about on the ground! That one proceeded to fall over the edge of the drop-off to the creek but luckily fell into some brush rather than falling into the creek. For all the world they were acting like Grouse drunk on fermented wild grapes. However at this time of the year and up in a cottonwood, I don't know what they would have been eating. Sure appeared to be high on something though. Several other MD were nearby and behaving normally.

The three new tics were picked up in the open meadow areas in the form of Chipping Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; & Harris's Sparrow.

Northern Cardinal are especially abundant this year with the wooded areas being filled with their songs. Several small Passerines went unidentified due to their being so high up in the canopy but were probably Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher & Kinglets.

Moving over to the Kaw, I managed to pick-up some Blue-Winged Teal out on the river and just as threatening rain spurred me to head for the truck, about a hundred Franklin's Gull suddenly came pouring down out of the low dark clouds and swept noisily up and down the Kaw a few times before apparently finding a school of fish and stopping briefly to gorge on those. They then flew off up river.

Finally, just as I reached my truck, I managed to get a shot of the Belted Kingfisher that had been racing up and down Mill Creek loudly calling. Apparently more interested in claiming territory than in actually fishing.

Not a bad day for what was intended to be a quick one hour or so stop along the way. I can have another try at the Yellow-Headed Blackbird soon enough.

Mill Creek Streamway Park, Johnson County, Kansas, Johnson, Kansas, US
Apr 22, 2019 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
31 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 15
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 1
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 21 Blue-Winged Teal on Kansas River
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 6
Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) 100 Two large flocks that dropped out of heavy clouds and foraged on Kansas River before flying away up stream
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 3
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 5
Purple Martin (Progne subis) 6
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) 20
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) 5
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 9
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 24
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 50
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 2
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) 2
Harris's Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) 2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 5
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 20
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 4
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 4
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 6
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 20

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55280560
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 05:42   #18
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Pics from Mill Creek Park

Couldn't go without pics of the gulls
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Old Friday 3rd May 2019, 23:39   #19
Owen Krout
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Catching up

I've been so busy with all the things that I needed to do while in the US that I haven't kept up with posting here. I have, however, managed to get in a birding session most days, except for the rainy days where it just wasn't viable. Even managed a few short trips between rain drops a few times. When I haven't been able to get out I at least can observe the birds on the feeders at home, which isn't bad as it is not uncommon to get twenty species in an hour at the hours when the feeders are really busy. I am pleased so far as I have managed to add twenty species to my life list and some good photos of species I had on the list but didn't have photos for. A few of the more appealing photos from the last couple of weeks included here. Note: I was surprised to see that a couple of Canada Geese had five goslings already.

A couple of new additions to my equipment intended primarily for when I return to China are a Canon SX70 HS camera and a monopod. The SX70 is intended to be a backup camera, handier to tote about when traveling or just for the times when taking my daily walks in the park or such. Also, it is intended to be used for making some videos. My current Canon 7D mkII is an excellent platform, but not really especially good for video work. Also it is a lot of weight to have hanging around my neck for long periods of time. The monopod is to help with steadying it and supporting that weight while I am waiting for an opportunity for a shot at something out at distance.

I'll try not to get so far behind in the future.
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Old Friday 3rd May 2019, 23:42   #20
Owen Krout
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Few mor good pics

A few more of the better pics
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Old Wednesday 29th May 2019, 17:01   #21
Owen Krout
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May 29, 2019

I haven't been keeping up here with my birding as it didn't seem to be drawing a lot of interest and it was coming down to not wanting to cut into my time for actual birding and photography. However I thought I would post a general overview.

In the last six weeks I have managed to add over 50 new species to my lifelist and gather new or better images of species that had eluded the camera up until now. I have been posting a few of the better images to the Gallery and am including some with this.

I've spent a great deal of time at the Baker Wetlands in south Lawrence, Kansas and in the wetland areas at the north end of Hillsdale Lake, Kansas due to unusually high water levels attracting a lot of migrants as they pass through. For the Warblers and such I have mostly birded the Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, KS and Mill Creek Park which is sandwiched between Mill Creek and the Kaw (Kansas River) as it has the magic mix of water and woods. Frustratingly a particular spot on private property with very restricted access on the Kaw just across from Mill Creek Park has produced several unusual species such as Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, complete with photos! Unfortunately, they all seem to be content staying just out of sight of those of us without access.

I haven't heard any specifics yet, but we had a large tornado come close enough last night that I could hear it from the door at the top of the basement steps, which had earlier brushed by the south side of Lawrence, Kansas, which probably means that the Baker Wetlands took a direct hit. It was estimated at that time to be approximately one mile wide. Needless to say the area is limited access this morning. The environment itself should have done just fine, but it could have been really hard on any wildlife. The important thing though is it appears that after being on the ground for two hours and destroying a lot of houses, there were no serious injuries or deaths.

I did go out to several of the "nearby" large reservoirs on Memorial Day and got some interesting shots of American White Pelican; Double-Crested Cormorant; & White-Faced Ibis that were all taking advantage of the flooded areas due to overfull reservoirs beginning to release water.
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Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 01:43   #22
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A few more....

A few more...
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 18:19   #23
Owen Krout
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A few more of the best over the last week.

This Killdeer was doing an award winning performance with it's "broken wing" display to detract attention from it's ground nest. When just running along in front of me didn't seem to be working well enough it switched to, "Oh, my wing is broken!", then both wings and finally added a broken leg.

Black Tern & Forster's Tern showed up at the Baker Wetlands and a Beaver made a quick showing. The little cousins of the Eastern Meadowlark, Dickcissel, where cooperative in getting their photos taken.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 18:23   #24
Owen Krout
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Special showing

And today, while pursuing a reported Common Loon, I scored a great collection of shots of an Osprey fishing in the Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, KS.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 13:42   #25
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Great posting, Owen!

Not much beats a breeding plumage Black Tern.

Do you have any more ibis photos? The leftmost bird certainly shows some Glossy Ibis features, Glossy being rare in Kansas. It might be worth putting that in the ID forum.
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