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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Veagle's 2009 List (1 Viewer)


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A beautiful day today, my wife and I went for a bike ride on the Mickelson Trail, which follows an old railroad right-of way through the Black Hills for over 100 miles. We picked a short section that is very scenic. Birding wasn't the focus of the trip, but I wore my binoculars, and we saw a nice group of birds in a riparian habitat, as the trail followed a stream the entire way. We saw another Ruby-crowned Kinglet, some Least Flycatchers, a couple of Song Sparrows, two Red-Tailed Hawks, and a great Western Tanager, as well as todays new birds:

July 5- Mickelson Trail, north of Mystic, SD

215. Cordilleran Flycatcher
216. Yellow-breasted Chat


Well-known member
My wife and I are in Nova Scotia, for vacation, along with Newfoundland. Arrived late last night, and went kayaking this morning. Saw quite a few birds that we are familar with from South Dakota - Cormorants, an Osprey, Cedar Waxwing, Barn Swallow, Common Yellowthroat, Great Blue Heron, Chipping and Savannah Sparrows, some that we rarely see at home - American Black Duck, Common Raven, Greater Black-backed Gull, and a couple of new birds, a couple of Sooty Shearwaters flying out over the Atlantic, and a number of Short-Billed Dowitchers

July 12 East Dover and Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

217. Sooty Shearwater
218. Short-billed Dowitcher
219. Common Raven
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Well-known member
Continuing our Nova Scotia trip:
We are based for the next few days in the delightful town of Cheticamp, which is distinctly Arcadian, many people speak French. It is on the western coast of Nova Scotia, on the Northumberland Strait.

I started the day with an early scan of a sandbar in Cheticamp Harbor. There were the normal assortment of Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls, but also, a small flock of Arctic Terns. We then went on a series of hikes within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which I highly recommend for birders and non-birders alike. Our first hike was a riparian setting (Le Butterau Trail)where we saw a nice assortment of birds, including American Redstart, Savannah Sparrow, a Ruffed Grouse, Cedar Waxwings (which were everywhere in Cape Breton Island), and the ever-present Bald Eagle. But the highlights of this hike were 1) a couple of Blackburnian Warblers, 2)a Black Bear, which we saw on the trail, which caused the hike to be shorter than planned, and 3)a colony of Black Guillemots, which were nesting in a cliff overlooking the Strait.

Later in the day, we hiked MacIntosh Brook, where we spotted another nice addition, the Ovenbird.

July 15 - Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

220. Arctic Tern
221. Black Guillemot
222. Blackburnian Warbler
223. Ruffed Grouse
224. Ovenbird

more to follow...
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Well-known member
Our next day in Nova Scotia, we would begin the day in Cheticamp, and spend the night in Indian Brook on the opposite side of the island. I forgot to mention that yesterday while trying to find Bicknell's Thrush (unsuccessfully) we spent about 20 minutes watching a Moose at close range, which was a real treat. I started this day early and spent a little time exploring Cheticamp Backroad. Things were pretty quiet for the most part, although I did spot Red-winged Blackbird, Lincoln's Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Cedar Waxwing, and a magnificent Magnolia Warbler, which I was to learn was fairly common in the park.

We then hiked to Benjie's Lake, where we got a good view of an Osprey fishing, saw a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, and then ran into (almost literally) a female Spruce Grouse, and four chicks. This bird is known to be ridiculously tame, and now we know why.

After spotting some Pine Siskins, we next hiked around Jigging Cove Lake, where the highlights were another Magnolia Warbler, and a group of 4 Boreal Chickadees, a specialty of the region.

July 16, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

225. Magnolia Warbler
226. Spruce Grouse
227. Boreal Chickadee

more to follow...


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Well-known member
Our next day in Nova Scotia, July 17, started well. The first bird I saw from outside our hotel room was an Bald Eagle, which nests nearby. That was followed quickly by two lifebirds, that I saw from 1 step outside our room.

We were facing a long drive this day from Cape Breton to our next stop, along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, but we first drove about an hour and a half east to a site I had seen written up in trip reports, Schooner Pond, and Cape Perce. We saw a group of about 75 Canada Geese, which, strange as it seems are fairly unusual in this part of Canada. I guess they are too busy on the US Golf courses. It poured as we drove to Schooner Pond, and prospects didn't look too good. I went out and surveyed the two ponds, with not too much to report - Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warblers, and American Black Ducks, by far the most commonly seen water fowl on this trip.

But the weather was improving, and we decided to take a hike out to the Headlands. So glad we were able to do this, as it was one of the more memorable birding experiences I've had. Started out by finally seeing a Fox Sparrow, and also a Yellow-rumped Warbler. But they were the appetizers. When we reached the headlands, visibility had improved, and we were treated to an amazing spectacle. Large numbers of Black Guillemots were scooting just over the water surface. We saw a large number of Cormorants, both Double Crested, and Great, and were able to see the first of many Black-Legged Kittiwakes that we were to see on our trip. And then, finally, a small number of massive Northern Gannets.

After several hours we finally got on the road, and various stops yielded Lesser Yellowlegs, Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Barn Swallows, two gorgeous Evening Grosbeaks, an American Goldfinch, another Purple Finch, and a Common Nighthawk spotted during dinner. Great day.

July 17 - Indian Brook, Nova Scotia

228. Purple Finch
229. Brown Creeper

July 17 - Schooner Pond & Cape Perce, Nova Scotia

230. Fox Sparrow
231. Black-legged Kittiwake
232. Northern Gannet

more to come...
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Well-known member
I got up early, and surveyed the inlet that our hotel was on, and was able to spot a couple Great Blue Herons, numerous DC Cormorants, Greater Black-backed Gulls, and about 50 Common Loons, quite a nice sight. Then, over breakfast, a heavy fog rolled in that was to stay with us all day. We chose a place to bird that we thought might be protected, and spotted a Black-crowned Night-heron, some Pine Siskins, and a Hairy Woodpecker on the way. The habitat, which was largly coniferous forest, was fairly quiet, but over the course of the next few hours, we did manage to see White-Throated Sparrow, Northern Flicker, Common Yellowthroat, Fox Sparrow, Magnolia Warbler, and a very nice Hermit Thrush. On the way back to the motel, we saw a Common Merganser with a group of 7 chicks, some Blue Jays, and a number of Ring-Necked Pheasants, one of which, on seeing us, turned and ran directly into the wall of a house. I guess their reputation is deserved.

July 18 - Musquodoboit Harbor, Nova Scotia

233. Hermit Thrush

The next morning, the fog was still with us, but we were determined to make the most of our last full day in Nova Scotia, so we headed down the shoreline to try to find Common Eider, or White Winged Scoter.

The fog would come and go, and we quickly located some Common Eider, which was nice, although we never did see the Male. Also saw a group of 20 or so Common Terns.
Moving on to a local beach, the tide was going out and we found some shorebirds.. Lesser Yellowlegs, and Short-billed Dowitchers. Among a group of Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls was a Bonaparte's, and then on the way to Conrad Beach, we clearly heard the call of the Nelson's Sharp-Tailed Sparrow, and got great views of a half dozen of them. An unexpected treat. Ran into an Englishwomen who engaged us about birding, and told us that the Beach had Piping Plovers, in fact the local authorities had protected their environment. Sure enough, ten minutes later, we saw one of these little beauties.

July 19 - Three Fathom Harbor, Nova Scotia

234. Common Eider

July 19 - Conrad Beach, Nova Scotia

235. Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow

The sky finally cleared as we returned to Halifax, to get ready for our flight the following morning to St. John's, Newfoundland. On the plane the next morning, we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk on the runway, before take-off

Next, Newfoundland...
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Well-known member
So, we arrived in Newfoundland, and brought good weather with us. Since it was early, we decided to go for the Boat trip to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, which is the largest nesting Atlantic Puffin colony in North America with more than 600,000 pairs, along with similarly massive numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Mures. Smaller numbers of Razorbills and Thick-billed Mures also nest here. We saw all but the Thick-billed. The numbers were just overwhelming, the sky full of these birds, as well as the random Black Guillimot, and Northern Gannet.

We went on O'Brien's Boat tours, they do a really nice job, not only of taking you close in and pointing out the habitats, but also chasing whales. We saw perhaps 25 Hump-backed Whales, over the course of maybe a little more than an hour..

July 20 - Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland

236. Atlantic Puffin
237. Common Mure
238. Razorbill

The next day, we drove around the "Irish Loop", as the Avalon Penninsula is known. We saw many of the same species as the day before, particularly from our picnic lunch at the Ferryland Lighthouse, where we were able to watch whales, seals, and flocks of juvenile Starlings out among the nesting Kittiwakes, Mures, and Puffins while eating a meal that I will remember for the rest of my life. Lots of great scenary, but only one new bird for the day:

July 21 - Tor Bay Pond, Newfoundland

239. Pine Grosbeak


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Our plan for the following day was after some local birding in St. John's, to head down to St. Bride's on the southwest corner of the Avalon Penninsula, where we would spend the night. If the weather was good when we arrived in late afternoon, we would go directly to Cape St. Mary's. In any event, we had the next morning for a return visit.

So we first birded Mundy Pond in St. John's; lots of American Black Ducks, a few Common Terns, a Yellow Warbler or two, some Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, and a few Tree Swallows.

Next stop was Argentia, where we saw a few more Yellow and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, and a number of Boreal Chickadees. Then down the coast to St. Bride's. It's fairly cloudy, and threatening, but no rain, so off we go to Cape St. Mary's.

What an amazing place! Our goal, other than to simply enjoy this special place, was to find the Thick-billed Mure, which we missed on Witless Bay. But on the way to the visitor center, we get two great surprises. First a good look at one of two Short-eared Owls that are nesting nearby. And secondly a good look at a Merlin.

Finding the Thick-billed proved not to be a problem. The rangers know precisely where to find them, as the same birds return to the same tiny spots year after year. Cape St. Mary's is really a special place for birders. The proximity you get to the birds is amazing. Oh, and we also get another chance to see lots of American Pipits, a few Horned Larks, Savannah Sparrows, and a Bald Eagle creating absolute havoc on the breeding grounds.

July 23 - Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland

240. Short-eared Owl
241. Merlin
242. Thick-billed Mure
243. American Pipit

The next morning we return for another look at the Mures, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Gannets, etc.and try to locate the resident Willow Ptarmigan (no luck) before beginning our return trip to St. John's. The following day we embark on the long trip home, fittingly finding two trip birds (Bank and Cliff Swallows) from inside the terminal in Halifax, giving us a total of 84 species for our trip. This included 27 year birds and 21 lifers for me. Some experiences I'll long remember.


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Back in South Dakota, went out yesterday to look at a couple of lakes in Pennington and Meade Counties to see if any shorebird migration has begun. Because of the amount of rain we've had this year, the level of the lakes is so high there are little in the way of mudflats for the shorebirds. One yearbird- Bullock's Oriole, which I needed to see for a second time this morning before being able to make an ID. Other highlights of our drive included Dickcissel, Upland Sandpiper, Field, Grasshopper, Savannah, and Lark Sparrow, several Red-tailed Hawks, 3 Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bell's Vireo, Northern Harrier, hundreds of Lark Buntings, two Loggerhead Shrike, and a single Chestnut Collared Longspur.

August 1, New Underwood Lake, SD

244. Bullock's Oriole


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My wife and I went for a bike ride on the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills (SD) today. Saw some nice birds, including immature Red-naped Sapsucker, Black-headed Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Vesper Sparrow, Least Flycatcher, an immature Spotted Sandpiper, and one bird that I've only seen twice before:

Aug. 9 - Mickelson Trail, SD

245. Gray Jay


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Spending a long weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado with family. Had a good day today. Started off a little rainy. I went to Dillon Lake, where I saw Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, a number of Lark Sparrow, and a new bird:

August 14, Dillon Lake, CO

246. Bushtit

Next, walked along the creek in Breckenridge, where I saw Yellow Warbler, Cliff and Violet-Green Swallows, a White-crowned Sparrow, and my first Hummer of the year:

August 14, Breckenridge, CO

247. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

In the afternoon, we all went on a nice hike, where we saw a nice group of birds, including "Gray-headed" Dark-eyed Junco, House Wren, and the following:

August 14, Salt Lick Trail, Silverthorne, CO

248. Stellar's Jay
249. Rufous Hummingbird
250. Willow Flycatcher
251. American Three-toed Woodpecker
252. Western Wood-Pewee
253. Mountain Chickadee
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Went on another hike today to the Alfred M. Bailey Bird Nesting Area. Saw many "Red-shafted" Northern Flickers, Hairy Woodpecker, lots of Juncos, a Stellar's Jay, a couple of House Wren, a Yellow Warbler, a number of Least Flycatchers, Mountain Chickadee, and one new bird, a couple of:

August 15, Alfred M. Bailey Bird Nesting Area, Silverthorne, CO

254. Wilson's Warbler


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After dropping our son off at Denver International, we headed north to the Lower Latham Reservoir area. Our first stop was a small body of water, where we enjoyed views of Snowy Egret, American Avocet, some frenetic Black-necked Stilt, and American White Pellican, while being screamed at by a number of circling Swainson's Hawks. Our next stop was just south of the Reservoir, in a marshy area where we saw Great Egret, and three adolescent Marsh Wren, which were learning how to balance on barbed-wire fence.

Our next stop was along the same road where a small pond with extensive mud-flats found a group of 150 Franklin's Gulls, a female Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Baird's Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Northern Shoveler, and a White-faced Ibis. A great area. On our way back to the highway for the return trip to Rapid City, we came across a small pasture with cattle, about 15 Cattle Egret, and a dozen or so Great-Tailed Grackle.

Stopped at Pawnee National Grasslands to try to find McCown's Longspurs, but found only about 700 Lark Bunting instead. All in all, Colorado provided some really nice birding.

August 16, Lower Latham Reservoir area, CO

255. Black-necked Stilt
256. Marsh Wren
257. Great-tailed Grackle
258. Baird's Sandpiper


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Went out to Bear Butte Lake this morning. Highlights included watching immature Northern Harriers play, Wilson's Snipe, Least Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, and a very early female Bufflehead. Had one other notable:

August 23 - Bear Butte Lake

xxx. Greater White-Fronted Goose

Well, I just found out the geese were "raised in captivity", so I won't count them. Sorry 'bout that.
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After returning from Colorado, I consulted with some friends regarding a picture of a Sandpiper I took. After a number of people examined it, the consensus is that it was a Western Sandpiper, which I will now add:

August 16, Lower Latham Reservoir, CO

259. Western Sandpiper

I have also attached a shot of the Great-tailed Grackle, taken the same day. I apologize for the quality of the shots.


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A quiet time of the year, I am discovering. Went to a few locations within the Black Hills National Forest yesterday, highlights includied two Osprey greeting me at Pactola Reservoir, a pair of House Wrens, Grey Catbird, Mountain Bluebird, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. No new birds.

Today, I went late afternoon to a small park within Rapid City. Very quiet, but I did get a really good look at a bird I've been looking for, and one that I had only seen twice before.

August 30, Hall Park, Rapid City, SD

260. Red-eyed Vireo


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Drove to Hot Springs, SD early this morning. A cemetary there has the only Lesser Goldfinches in South Dakota, and I got several good views. Made a few other stops in the area, with highlights including lots of Mountain Bluebirds, a Hairy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwings, about 60 White-throated Swifts, a Yellow-breasted Chat, and a number of Red-tailed Hawks. The icing on the cake was my first view of a bird I have been looking for all summer:

September 5 - Hot Springs, SD

261. Lesser Goldfinch
262. Prairie Falcon


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I've been in central South Dakota for the last three days, for business meetings, and have managed to do some birding early and late. Visited a few locations, highlights included 75 American White Pelicans, hundreds of Western Grebes, numerous Great and Snowy Egrets, Long-billed Dowitchers, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, large numbers of Franklin's Gulls, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk, all seen at Red Lake. Visiting the nearby Boyer Game Production (a strange term) Area, I spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker, and a number of Bell's Vireos. White Lake yielded Barn Swallows, Black Terns and a White-faced Ibis, and had three sightings of Cattle Egrets, one of 200!

But the highlight for me was my first sighting of a great little Warbler. I was lucky enough to sit in my car 10 feet from a thicket where a handful of these birds gave me great looks. Unfortunately forgot my camera.

September 16 - Red Lake, SD

263. Nashville Warbler
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A busy weekend. Yesterday I led a birding outing for our local club - my first time. It was reasonably sucessful, as I worked hard to produce great weather. And we saw one of our primary targets - Burrowing Owl, which live in Prairie dog villages. Also saw White-crowned, Clay-colored, and Field Sparrows, and Orange-Crowned Warbler and Common Yellowthroat.

Today, got a call from a friend tipping me to the presence of some shorebirds at Sevey Lake. I went over late in the day. It was so windy, I couldn't use my tripod, but rather took my scope off the tripod and used it propped up against the car window. Was able to see 7 Long-billed Dowitchers and:

September 27 - Sevey Lake, SD

264. Pectoral Sandpiper
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Well-known member
Had some good birding this weekend despite ridiculously cold, wintry weather. It's been snowing most of the weekend, with temperatures in the 20s (F). Yesterday, I went out to Sevey Lake, found it mostly frozen over. Did get some good looks at a Prairie Falcon, and and a Northern Harrier. This morning, I went for a quick look at Canyon Lake, where some of the wintering birds are arriving. Saw my first Hooded Mergansers and Ring-necked Ducks of the season, along with Common Merganser, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Redhead, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

Then, late in the day, I drove to an area by the local airport that I had never visited before. Again the weather was miserable, but I lucked out with a Northern Harrier, some Horned Larks, a handful of Savannah Sparrows, a few Red-winged Blackbirds, which I thought had all left the area, and best of all, a new bird for me:

Oct. 11 - Near Rapid City Airport

265. Rusty Blackbird
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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