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Nebraska 2015 (1 Viewer)

Ian Lewis

aka Gryllo
Europe
My wife and I will be in Nebraska staying in Kearney, Nebraska from March 26 - 29th.

Our main aim is to enjoy the large concentrations of cranes and wikdfowl but also would like to ask if anyone has come across any Trumpeter Swans or American Tree Sparrows recently - both of which would be life birds for me.

Yours

Ian Lewis
Poole
Dorset
UK
 

bkrownd

Well-known member
eBird shows a few american tree sparrows along the Platte between Kearney and Grand Island over the last couple weeks.
 

Tero

Retired
United States
You can get them this week, not sure if next week. Very springlike. January, you could get tree sparrow any day. trumpeter swans will be at the big rivers, such as in Omaha. They may be along the Platte, where the wider spots are.
 

Ian Lewis

aka Gryllo
Europe
You can get them this week, not sure if next week. Very springlike. January, you could get tree sparrow any day. trumpeter swans will be at the big rivers, such as in Omaha. They may be along the Platte, where the wider spots are.

Dear Tero and Bkrownd, thanks for the replies.

The winter only occurrance of American Tree Sparrow over much of the Lower 48 is why it is (along with Baird's) the only North american sparrow I have yet to see.

Do they favour a particular habitat or is there any special areas I should be searching for them in?

As far as Trumpeter Swans go, we had two here in Suffolk in the winter but they were considered to be escapes.

Ian
 
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bkrownd

Well-known member
Dunno, in late November I generally find them in the same brushy/weedy areas I find similar things like other sparrows, goldfinch and junco. Sometimes I have to stalk them in tall weeds, grasses or reeds.

Study their tseet and jingly calls on xeno-canto.org etc before looking for them. Sometimes their quieter tsst calls are easy to overlook with their tiny little high voices. Bi-colored bill, dark spot on gray breast (unstriped), brown markings on gray face.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/210765

http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Spizella-arborea
 
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LabradorDuck

Well-known member
There are still lots of American Tree Sparrows around, but the weather is now warm and winds are from the south... I will try to post here if I'm still seeing them next week. Otherwise, watch brush piles, ditches, and weed patches for movement as you travel around looking for other birds. Also check ebird or call Rowe Sanctuary to see if others are still seeing them.
 

Ian Lewis

aka Gryllo
Europe
There are still lots of American Tree Sparrows around, but the weather is now warm and winds are from the south... I will try to post here if I'm still seeing them next week. Otherwise, watch brush piles, ditches, and weed patches for movement as you travel around looking for other birds. Also check ebird or call Rowe Sanctuary to see if others are still seeing them.

Many thanks, looks like I have a chance. We arrive in Nebraska on 26th March. That and Trumpeter Swan are the only life birds I might get in Nebraska, the other 12 or so I could pick up are in the Colorado portion of the trip whch starts on April 1st.

If we succeed in seeing all we want to in Nebraska in the first three days we might drive up to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore and look for Bison. Maybe American Tree Sparrows might be hanging on there a bit longer.

Ian
 

LabradorDuck

Well-known member
Yesterday afternoon (3/23) I saw a group of three Trumpeter Swans at Blue Hole WMA. FYI- this site is marked completely wrong on Google Maps. It is between I-80 and the Platte, directly west of the Elm Creek exit. No clue if they'll stick around, but I thought I'd let you know.

Also, depending on your route to the Black Hills, you might pass through some Trumpeter Swan breeding habitat. I don't know of any sites offhand, but you might find more info elsewhere.

I did have a fleeting glimpse of a Tree Sparrow, but it was not in a very accessible location. Your best bet is probably to check likely habitat and ask around once you get here.

Do you have Great-tailed Grackle? I ask because it's a bird you might not think of for Nebraska, but they are pretty reliable in Kearney parking lots. They just arrived in the last week or so.
 

LabradorDuck

Well-known member
Swans still present today (3/26). Also, I spotted a few Tree Sparrows along Kilgore Rd just west of the Minden I-80 exit (this stretch gets a lot of use by gravel trucks, so be cautious).
 

Ian Lewis

aka Gryllo
Europe
Thanks for the information, we arrived at Kearney this afternoon and went straight out to see the cranes. Bitter wind but a real spectacle. Will follow up your information. Shame I didn't check the internet on arrival at Denver last night but was too tired after 20 hours of travel. Lets hope Trumpeters are there in the morning.
Best bird today was first winter Glaucous Gull at Lake McConaughy just east of the dam on the spillway.
 
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