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Veagle's 2009 List (1 Viewer)


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May 3 - Spearfish Canyon - the Black Hills are the only location in South Dakota for American Dipper

125. Cliff Swallow
126. American Dipper

later in the day, went for a walk, not focused on birding, but lucked out!

127. Swainson's Thrush


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May 8 - Backyard birds - a nice surprise again

130. Lincoln's Sparrow

May -9 Catron Pond

131. Spotted Sandpiper

later in the day, I went back to my "patch", Sevey Lake, which was just teeming with birds - lots of Wilson's Phalaropes, 3 kinds of swallows, lots of sparrows, a couple of Franklin Gulls, dozens of Eared Grebes, and all types of ducks.

132. Long-billed Dowitcher
133. Savannah Sparrow


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I took a walk yesterday morning to a little pond near where I live, which I will call Nicklaus pond, as it is off Nicklaus Rd. Very quiet, except for numerous red-winged blackbirds, and a few geese, until I saw a bright yellow bird in the cattails.

May 10 - Nicklaus pond

134. Common Yellowthroat

later in the day, went for a walk along the Rapid Creek, where there were numerous Yellow-rumped and orange crowned warblers. Got a quick view of what I think was a Yellow warbler, but not able to identify it for sure.

135. Least Flycatcher


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After dinner tonight, I went for a walk in Jackson Park, a good spot for warblers in the spring and fall. Sure enough I got Yellow-rumped, orange-crowned, least flycatcher, chipping sparrow, tree swallows, red-winged blackbirds, a flicker, and three foys:

May 13 - Jackson Park

136. Yellow Warbler
137. Western Tananger
138. Black-headed Grosbeak


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Got a message from a friend that this bird had been sighted locally - rushed down and got it, before going away for the weekend

May 15 - Canyon Lake

139. Common Loon

Went to the annual meeting of the South Dakota Ornithological Union, held near Custer, SD. The majority of the field trips were within Custer State Park, one of the finest state parks in the country, IMHO. The first field trip, on Saturday, was led by Todd Jensen, who last year set the all-time SD year list record, and obviously knows his birds. We birded three seperate areas:

Hell Canyon - We spent several hours here hiking about 1.5 miles in and back. Lots of birds all around, with the highlights here being MacGillivray's Warbler and Cassin's Finchs.

May 16 - Hell Canyon

140. Dusky Flycatcher
141. White-throated Swift
142. MacGillivrey's Warbler:t:
143. Cassin's Finch
144. Warbling Vireo
145. Brown Thrasher
146. House Wren

Boles and Roby Canyons - this small area, on the Wyoming border is the only place in South Dakota for Virginia's Warbler. We got it, and also had a great look at a Goshawk, as well as a textbook illustration performed by a Cooper's Hawk and a Sharp-Shinned, which showed their comparitive sizes and shapes.

May 16 - Boles and Roby Canyons

147. Eastern Kingbird
148. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
149. Cooper's Hawk
150. Virginia's Warbler:t:
151. Plumbeous Vireo
152. Northern Goshawk
153. Western Kingbird

Elk Mountain - a nearby fire tower requires a long drive up a windy road through an extensive burn area from a big forest fire. Very productive, and great views of the surrounding area to boot. Highlights included the Lewis's Woodpecker, and great close-up views of Clark's Nutcracker

May 16 - Elk Mountain

154. Rock Wren
155. Lewis's Woodpecker
156. Clark's Nutcracker
157. Red-headed Woodpecker

Today, we spent the morning going through the Custer Park Wildlife Loop, and the prime target was Black-backed Woodpecker, which also thrives in the burn areas.

May 17 - Custer State Park

158. Black-backed Woodpecker (m & f):t:
159. Lark Sparrow
160. Lark Bunting
161. Canyon Wren

All in all, an amazing weekend for me!


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Spent the weekend in New Jersey. Four factors came together to create a great weekend of birding for me. First, it's spring, second, in an area of the country with many different birds than I normally see in South Dakota. Third, my life list is modest, as I've only been "keeping score" for a little less than a year. And fourth, I was able to share Saturday's birding with my son, who lives in Washington.

Early Friday morning, I visited Conaskonk Point, which is south of NYC on Raritan Bay. Followed directions in the NJ Audubon web site, and what a treat:

May 22 - Conaskonk Point

162. Brant
163. Red Knot
164. Boat-tailed Grackle
165. Least Sandpiper
166. Laughing Gull
167. Semipalmated Sandpiper
168. Glossy Ibis
169. Black Skimmer :t: (I just really like this bird!)
170. Dunlin
171. Snowy Egret
172. Ruddy Turnstone
173. Black-bellied Plover:t:
174. American Oystercatcher

May 22 - Natco Lake

175. Semipalmated Plover
176. Bank Swallow

Saturday morning, went to Sandy Hook, which seperates Raritan Bay from the Atlantic. The waterbirds were not as interesting as yesterday, but the Warblers made up for it. Really had to work hard for those warblers.

May 23 - Sandy Hook

177. Yellow-crowned Night Heron
178. Mourning Warbler:t:
179. Black-and-white Warbler
180. Tennessee Warbler
181. American Redstart
182. Blackpoll Warbler
183. Olive-sided Flycatcher
184. Gray Catbird

May 23 - Conaskonk Point

185. Stilt Sandpiper

May 24 - back in SD, my patch - Sevey Lake

186. Black Tern
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May 24 - my patch

187. Sanderling

Got word today that a Cinnamon Teal had been seen at Sevey's Lake; spent an hour in very windy conditions, not able to find it, but came up with a new bird anyway:

May 25 - my patch

188. Red-necked Phalarope


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Went out early Saturday morning to my patch- the lake was calm, for a change, lots of Eared Grebes, and Ruddy Ducks, Redheads, and a few Canvasbacks, lots of Wilson's Phalaropes and Killdeer, Black Terns, and the occasional Yellow-Headed Blackbird. A bit up the road, I saw a few Horned Larks, Upland Sandpipers, and got a good look at a bird I've been trying to find for for a while:

May 30 - my patch

189. Bobolink


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Drove out Spring Creek Rd., into Custer County. Highlights included Grasshopper and Lark Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Brown Thrasher, Loggerhead Shrike, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, and 2 FOYS:

May 31 - Lower Spring Creek Rd.

190. Common Nighthawk
191. Dickcissel


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Did a lot of birding this weekend in rainy weather. Friday night I saw Black-bellied Plover for the first time in South Dakota, then Saturday, up to Bear Butte Lake, where I picked up the only foy bird of the weekend, then back to Sevey Lake, where the Plover had split, but all the usual ducks, grebes, and a mess of Cliff Swallows. Today, I drove some of the back roads east of Rapid City, no foys, but lots of Grasshopper Sparrows, Lark Buntings, Upland Sandpipers, a Great Horned Owl, Swainson's Hawk, Marbled Godwit, and 4 Long-Billed Curlews. Then over to Canyon Lake, where the lone Common Loon was back - this time I got a great view.

June 6 - Bear Butte Lake

192. California Gull


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My wife and I spent a long weekend on a birding trip to the Prairie Potholes region of North Dakota. We drove from Rapid City, SD to Bismarck, ND, where we stayed for three nights, a distance of 350 miles (563 km). This kind of distance is not much of a barrier here, not exactly Britain, in terms of population density, number of cars, etc.

First stop was at nearby Bear Butte Lake, where there were a reasonably good selection of ducks, and gulls.

June 12 - Bear Butte Lake

193. Common Tern

Leaving the lake we got a good look at a Wilson's Snipe on a fencepost, not the most common of birds around here. Next stop was the Nisland Slough, also not too far away. Never been there before, and it proved to be fortuitous. Lots of Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds all over the place, along with Wilson's Phalaropes, a variety of swallows, ducks, and a duck I've been looking for for a while. Very uncommon but consistent visitor to South Dakota.

Nisland Slough

194. Cinnamon Teal

The rest of the drive to Bismarck was uneventful, although we did visit the Belle Fourche Res., where we saw our first American White Pelican of the trip, and a nesting colony of about 300 California Gulls. Along the drive to Bismarck, common birds included Western Meadowlark, Lark Bunting, and Eastern and Western Kingbirds.

After getting settled at our motel, we drove out to Rice Lake to do some birding. Spotted our first Ring-Necked Pheasant of the trip, and the lake had a wide variety of ducks, grebes, cormorants, and we picked up a few Willets and Marbled Godwits. Then we went to an area just northeast of the Lake where we had recieved information that Baird's Sparrows and Sprague's Pippits had been found recently. No luck on these rarities, but we did find Chestnut-collared Longspur and quite a few Grasshopper Sparrows. Then riding around in the area on the many gravel roads yielded one of the real finds of the trip. We were able to clearly distinguish the Hudsonian Godwit from the Marbled Godwits seen earlier by their slightly curved bills.

Near Rice Lake, ND

195. Hudsonian Godwit


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Our first full day in North Dakota, and the weather cooperated magnificently. This proved to be one of the more amazing birding days that I've experienced. Alot has been written about North Dakota birding, but it must be experienced to be appreciated. Just smaller than Great Britain (81,000 sq. miles vs. 70,700 sq. miles), North Dakota has 640,000 residents vs. about 58 Million for Britain. You get the picture? We drove for hours and hours and literally saw no one. But the birds were everywhere, with lakes abounding.

We would spend the day going to a series of Lakes, including Chase Lake, the largest nesting territory for the American White Pelican. We started out early, and before going very far, I caught a quick glimpse of what I thought to be Black-Crowned Night-Heron. I got a much better look at another later in the day at Chase Lake. Access to the Pelican area is limited during breeding season, but through my scope I got a look at thousands of pelicans, and gulls. The day just kept getting better, culminating with our locating a real local treasure, the Baird's Sparrow.

June 13 - Chicago Lake - Chase Lake- Kunkel Lake - Horsehead Lake

196. Black-crowned Night Heron
197. Horned Grebe
198. Cattle Egret
199. Sedge Wren
200. Orchard Oriole
201. Baird's Sparrow

The pictures below are of the Sedge Wren, and me at Chase Lake.


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June 14 - Today we followed a self-guided tour provided by one of the local Birding groups, that tied together the McKenzie Slough, Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and several sights along the Missouri River. I was hoping to pick up the Least Tern today along the River, but no luck on that. But had others that I hadn't counted on.

June 14 - McKenzie Slough

202. White-faced Ibis
203. Eastern Phoebe

Next, went to Long Lake NWR, which has three dikes that you drive over, getting close to many birds. On the first dike, pictured below, were a large number of ring-billed gulls, some terns, and a beautiful little Piping Plover. Then we drove up to an observation point, from which we spotted the Caspian Tern, much larger than all the other terns. Stopped for lunch at the Visitor Center, and found fully occupied Purple Martin "hotels".

June 14 - Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota

204. Forster's Tern
205. Piping Plover
206. Caspian Tern
207. Purple Martin

Today, we drove back to South Dakota - no new birds, but saw a few good ones at the Bowman - Haley Res., near the South Dakota/ North Dakota Border, including Dickcissel, and Loggerhead Shrike.

The pictures below are the dike at Long Lake where we saw the Piping Plover, some Terns along with the ever-present Yellow-Headed Blackbird, and a sight from the road, in Steele, North Dakota, a staging ground for Sandhill Cranes in the fall.

All in all we saw 88 species, including 12 lifers. Highly recommend the area!


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I have been informed that Least Tern, from my last post would be very, very unusual away from the Missouri River. Expert opinion seems to think that my photograph is of a Forster's Tern molting into fall plumage. So I will take Least Tern off my list, and my next year bird will be #208.



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Went out this evening on Lower Spring Creek Rd., into Custer County. Was a beautiful evening, and saw a good variety of birds, including 3 Dickcissels, Lark Bunting, Upland Sandpipers, Black-headed Grosbeak, Horned Lark, quite a few Common Nighthawk (picture included), Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestral, Vesper Sparrow, Brown Thrasher, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and a Northern Harrier.

June 23 - Custer County

208. Burrowing Owl


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So tonight after dinner, I drove over to my local patch, and once I'd gotten there (about a 25 minute drive), I realized that I forgot my scope! It was that kind of day. So instead of spending most of the time scanning the lake, I drove around a bit and focused on birds along the road. Quite a few Upland Sandpipers, a couple of Horned Larks, which are much more common here in winter than summer, and then sitting on a wire close to my parked car, I spotted a sparrow that I've not seen before. So it worked out pretty well.

June 25 - my patch

209. Field Sparrow


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Recieved information from a friend that two birds I've been looking for were found out on Hammerquest Rd. east of the Rapid City Airport. Met another friend out there this morning before work, and spent about an hour looking around. Didn't find Yellow-breasted Chat, but the area was quite productive with Cedar Waxwing, Common Nighthawk, Orchard Oriole, Upland Sandpiper, Dickcissel, Common Yellowthroat, Black-headed Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, House Wren, among others. Nice way to start the day.

July 1 - Hammerquest Rd., Pennington County, SD

210. Bell's Vireo


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Out running errands this morning. Had heard there were a group of Chimney Swifts that roost on an old Hotel downtown. Sure enough -

July 3 - Rapid City, SD

211. Chimney Swift


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My wife and I went to Custer State Park this afternoon. We took a short hike around Legion Lake, and had a surprisingly good group of birds considering it was around noon, and lots of people around. We saw a number of Least Flycatchers, a Common Yellowthroat feeding a Cowbird chick three times her size, an Osprey, and a number of Yellow Warblers, in addition to:

July 4 - Legion Lake, Custer State Park

212. Red-naped Sapsucker
213. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

July 4 - Coolidge Mt. Lookout, Custer State Park

214. Pinyon Jay

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