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Lincoln in October? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Any info on autumn birds in Lancaster County in mid-October appreciated. I tried the NEBirds group earlier in the summer, but got no replies. I'll try them again later this month. Particularly I am most interested in small birds, not raptors or waterfowl. I'd love to finally see a rail or nighthawk. I'm particularly interested in filling in the wrens, thrushes, sparrows and finches I still need. I'll certainly take a daily pass through Pioneers Park. I'm hoping to finally visit a prairie restoration area, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center is on my list, and it sure would be nice to see some of the saline wetlands that are characteristic of the area. I haven't lived in Lincoln since the 70's, so I'm not sure what to expect from the weather or state of the habitat that time of autumn.

Resources I've found so far:
N.O.U. list of good areas for Lancaster County
Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center
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Well-known member
Well, here's what happened. A quick recap:

First day I went to Spring Creek Prairie. It was a bit different than I expected. In some directions all you can see is tallgrass prairie without any man-made junk in view, which is very refreshing. Waving grass, rolling hills, big skies. Nice. Sparrows were the big score - I saw about 6 species of sparrows, including Harris' and Lincoln's. There was a nice spot along the creek just across the bridge from the visitor center where I stood for hours and watched the activity in the bushes on the far bank. Otherwise, the usual selection of other common stuff - woodpeckers, gulls, thrush, phoebe, jays, goldfinch, etc.

Afterwards I stopped at Pioneer's Park nature center, but it was fairly dead except for the huge flock of blackbirds, grackles and starlings. Never went back.

Next day I went to Shoemaker wetlands area on North 27th along Little Salt Creek. Lots of swallows and savanna sparrows. Occasional flocks of red-wing blackbirds and robins. The small woods near the parking lot had flickers, woodpeckers, phoebe, robin, etc. Occasional predators soaring by overhead. The wind really blows hard in this flat area, so I left after about 3 hours due to wind fatigue. No tiger beetles on an overcast day. Plenty of birds, and finally a good photo of a savanna sparrow, so I was happy. No wetland birds were evident that day.

After that I drove by Oak Lake Park and stopped to photo grebes on the lake. There were also herons, egrets, coots, etc, but the wind was blowing even harder here and I had enough of that for one day. There was also a promising looking wetland area nearby, across the creek from the lake.

To get out of the wind I went to where Van Dorn Street passes over Haines Branch, and walked down Haines Branch. Lots of common birds both in the fields and in the trees over the stream.

Next day was really rainy, so I only got 1 hour at at Wilderness Park at Old Cheney. It was the most productive hour of my whole trip! 4 kinds of warbler - yellow-rumped, orange-crowned, black-throated green and Nashville, I think. Carolina wren. Kinglets and chickadees and all the other usual stuff you'd expect to see.

Next day I went to Wilderness Park down by Rokeby Road. It was fairly quiet, and I saw a small number of common species. Less canopy than up by Old Cheney - more mixed habitat. After a few hours I went back to the Old Cheney part of the park, but aside from the Carolina wren it was also quiet that day. It was a very cold morning.

So - Spring Creek Prairie was definitely worth half a day, but patience and good positioning was required to wait for things to pop out into view. Shoemaker wetland was good for me, since I was very interested in filling out my sparrow pix on this trip. It was also interesting to see the tiger beetle habitat. Wilderness Park was mixed bag, but definitely worth a visit for forest birds. One place I wanted to visit but never got to was a wetland on the Northwest side of town...I'll have to look up the name when I get home.
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Bah humbug
Nice one. Lots of good native species ;)

Bit late now, but if you try 'Birdingpals' (if there are any where you wish to go), individuals may well give you useful info on the area, whether you meet up or not. Certainly one did with respect to my trip out towards long island this spring.


Well-known member
I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to say, I have been to most of those places, and Spring Creek Prarie is Beautiful!!

I rode horses there before. Many different types of birds and calls at that place.


Well-known member
Back in November I visited Lincoln again. I never got around to posting a write-up. With limited time I decided to just visit a few sections of Wilderness Park regularly, mostly at Old Cheney. I never got out to Spring Creek Prairie, Shoemaker wetland, etc. The weather was quite nice - usually overcast, calm and dry. I saw all the stuff I'd expect here this time of year. There was occasionally an odd sparrow skulking about in the grass that I couldn't ID - I was hoping for more sparrows since they've usually already departed from Minnesota and Wisconsin during my visits.



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