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Veagle's 2010 Year List (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Well, here we go again. Last year was my first full year of birding, and what a great year. Don't really know what to expect this year, except for probably fewer lifers. Some travel planned include a couple days in March in Florida, a day in April in Cape May, and a vacation possibly in Hawaii or Alaska. Also two outings of the South Dakota Ornithological Union, in May in Sioux Falls, which has very different birds than we have in the western part of the state. Might as well set some goals. How about 325, just to beat this year's numbers, and maybe 75 lifers (that might be a little tough). I would also like to reach 240 South Dakota Birds by the end of the year. Lifers will be bold.

Started the New Year with a little drive out to the middle of the State, looking for Gyrfalcon or Snowy Owl. Didn't get either, but at least started the list off.

Jan 1 - Central South Dakota

1. Sharp-tailed Grouse
2. Ring-necked Pheasant
3. Bald Eagle
4. Horned Lark
5. Golden Eagle
6. Rough-legged Hawk
7. Lapland Longspur
8. American Tree Sparrow
9. Ferruginous Hawk
10. Northern Harrier
11. Ring-billed Gull
12. Rock Pigeon
13. Common Merganser
14. Mallard
15. Common Goldeneye
16. Western Meadowlark
17. American Kestral

Jan. 1 - Rapid City

18. American Crow
19. Canada Goose
20. Dark-eyed Junco

Jan. 2 - Backyard Birds

21. House Finch
22. Red-breasted Nuthatch
23. American Goldfinch
24. Pine Siskin
25. House Sparrow
26. Eurasian Collared-Dove
27. Black-capped Chickadee

This morning, I drove early out to Spearfish, where another Gyrfalcon had been sighted. I missed it by an hour, according to others who saw it as part of a Christmas Bird Count. Got stuck in a snowbank, and got towed out by a nice guy with a front-end loader. Then made a few stops on the way home.

Jan. 3 - Lawrence County, SD

28. European Starling
29. Wild Turkey
30. Evening Grosbeak
31. Blue Jay

Jan. 3 - Mary Hall Park, Rapid City, SD

32. American Robin
33. Northern Flicker
34. Downy Woodpecker
35. Belted Kingfisher
36. Red-tailed Hawk


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We've been having brutal weather here in western South Dakota. Tonight's temp is expected to reach -17F, and recent storms have made it dangerous to get out much. This morning at our feeders, we had the usual Pine Siskins and American Goldfinch, although the latter were in larger numbers than I've seen before. And below them was a single Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch, which has not been seen regularly in South Dakota. Very exciting. Made my day.

Jan. 6 - Rapid City, SD

37. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch


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After a really cold week, it warmed up nicely today. Had some good birds at the feeders this morning, including American Tree Sparrow, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and the Brown Creeper that I saw a few weeks ago (in 2009).

Then got down to Canyon Lake later in the day to see the usual wintering ducks. Canyon Lake is one of the only places where there is open water in Western South Dakota this time of year. Best birds were a male and female Wood Duck, and some striking Hooded Mergansers.

Jan. 9 - Backyard

38. Brown Creeper

Jan 9. - Canyon Lake, Rapid City

39. Ring-necked Duck
40. Hooded Merganser
41. Gadwall
42. American Wigeon
43. American Coot
44. Redhead
45. Bufflehead
46. Wood Duck
Well, that Gyrfalcon is becoming my nemisis bird. I drove out to Spearfish again this morning, ran into one of my best birding friends, who told me the Gyr was just up the road, on a post. As I approached from a distance, I could see a large raptor fly away. Never got the glasses on it, I'm sure it was the Gyr, but I can't count it, and certainly got no satisfaction. The day was a beautiful one, and I did get two new year birds, so it wasn't a total loss. Also including a shot I took of a Bald Eagle today.

Jan. 10 - Butte County

47. Red-winged Blackbird

Jan. 10 - Spearfish, SD

48. Northern Shrike


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My wife and I spent a long weekend in Washington, DC, visiting our son, Matt. Driving around DC, we spotted a Fish Crow and some Herring Gulls, and then on Monday, he and I spent several hours at the Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County. Our principal target was the Pileated Woodpecker, which we found after locating a stand of dead trees, and playing a recording. Got a quick look followed by hearing it for a good 15 minutes, although it never showed up again. Saw a nice selection of other birds, especially for January, including 2 other lifers, and a total of 17 year birds.

Jan. 16 - Washington, DC

49. Fish Crow
50. Herring Gull

Jan. 18 - Huntley Meadows Park, VA

51. Carolina Chickadee
52. Mourning Dove
53. Song Sparrow
54. White-throated Sparrow
55. Northern Pintail
56. Northern Cardinal
57. Carolina Wren
58. Pileated Woodpecker:t:
59. Red-headed Woodpecker (picture below)
60. Common Grackle
61. Fox Sparrow
62. Field Sparrow
63. Swamp Sparrow
64. Red-shouldered Hawk
65. Red-bellied Woodpecker
66. Ruddy Duck
67. Tufted Titmouse


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Back in South Dakota. Things are pretty quiet here. West of town is a road going up into the hills. Before Christmas, Lewis's Woodpecker was spotted here so I went to look for it. Didn't find it. Then went out to Sevey Lake, which of course is frozen. Usually good for some raptors. Only a couple of Northern Harriers and a single American Kestral.

Jan 23, Nameless Cave Rd., Rapid City, SD

68. Black-billed Magpie
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Really nasty weather this morning as I left the house. The wind was blowing so hard it was impossible to set up a scope, so I basically stayed in the car, driving around eastern Pennington County. Saw a couple of Northern Harriers and a flock of maybe 60 Horned Larks. And managed to identify a nice Prairie Falcon.

Jan. 24, Pennington County, SD

69. Prairie Falcon
I went out this morning to a location where Pygmy Nuthatch were thought to be. I was unable to locate any, but did find many Red- and White-breasted Nuthatch, some Chickadees, and a Red-tailed Hawk.

Jan. 27 Pennington County, SD

70. White-breasted Nuthatch
Went for a drive this morning around several roads that go up into the Black Hills from Meade County, looking for some of the winter finches that sometimes show up. Could not locate Pinion Jay, Common Redpoll, or Pygmy Nuthatch (again), but had some nice birds along the way. The first bird of the day was a Sharp-shinned Hawk, followed by the first Cedar Waxwings of the year, a good look at a Hairy Woodpecker, and a terrific group of about 20 Red Crossbills, which I've only seen a couple of times. Also saw Golden Eagle, Black-billed Magpie, Rough-legged Hawk, among others.

Jan 31 Meade County, SD

71. Sharp-shinned Hawk
72. Cedar Waxwing
73. Hairy Woodpecker
74. Red Crossbill


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Went out this morning with the Northern Hills Bird Club. Cold, windy, snowy weather, we drove some of the prairie roads east of Rapid City. Saw quite a few raptors, including 8 Bald Eagles, Ferruginous, Rough-legged, Red-tailed, Golden Eagle, and Northern Harrier. And found two nesting Great Horned Owls, a flock of 35 Sharp-tailed Grouse, and a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.

Feb. 13, Pennington County, SD

75. Great Horned Owl
Finally!! After skiing this morning, I drove out to Lawrence County, where I have been searching for Gyrfalcon since the beginning of the year. First shot I missed, then I drove a loop route to find some other raptors - Red Tailed, Rough-legged, as well as the ubiquitous Horned Larks. Then I came back to the same area from the other direction and there it was, perched on a utility pole. Got some good looks, and then if flew. A little down the road, I ran into another birder, who had originally sighted this bird, and together, we saw a second Gyr, a juvenile this time. Really amazing bird.

I also have included a shot of a Brown Creeper that has been visiting our feeders this year.

Feb 14 - Lawrence County, SD

76. Gyrfalcon


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We had a couple inches of snow on Friday night, and the feeders in the yard where quite active yesterday. Got our first Townsend's Solitaire of the year, Brown Creeper, Hairy Woodpecker, but the definate highlight was a group of 11 Cassin's Finches, a new yard bird for me.

Feb. 20 - Rapid City

77. Townsend's Solitaire
78. Cassin's Finch (picture below)

This morning I went back out to the Schroeder Rd. Forest Service Area. It was cold but sunny, and the birds were singing as I arrived. Saw all three Nuthatches, Red Crossbills, and the usual group of Finches, Woodpeckers, and Juncos.

Feb. 21 - Pennington County, SD

79. Pygmy Nuthatch


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We had a bit of snow last night, and it was murky today, but a friend and I went on a long drive in Meade, Lawrence, and Butte counties. We saw some more Cassin Finches in Piedmont, a couple of really striking Lewis's Woodpeckers, a great view of a Merlin in flight, and a very noisy flock of about 600 returning Red-wing Blackbirds. Also the usual variety of Raptors, including some Bald Eagles. A nice day.

March 6 - Lawrence County, SD

80. Lewis's Woodpecker
81. Merlin
Drove to Angostura Reservoir this morning, hoping to locate some Mountain Bluebirds. Saw two different groups, one there at the reservoir, and the second on the way home, in Pennington County. Also saw my first Northern Shoveler of the year, in full breeding plumage. Had some good views of Bald and Golden Eagles, but my highlight was the sighting of a single Eastern Bluebird. Both bluebirds are beautiful, but I wasn't expecting the Eastern, and I had only seen it once before.

March 14 - Fall River, Custer Counties, South Dakota

82. Mountain Bluebird
83. Northern Shoveler
84. Eastern Bluebird


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Spent three days in Florida, birding, and at Spring training with my son, Matt. First day I spent in Central Florida. First stop of the day was Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, in Osceola county. Got there prior to sunrise, to try to see Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Found the right location, but no luck with it. Things were fairly quite here, but as I drove around the 5 mile drive, stopping at various places, I started to pick up a few birds here and there. After the cold South Dakota winter, it was really nice to be in shirt-sleeves.

March 19 - Three Lakes WMA, Florida

85. Northern Mockingbird (picture below)
86. Pine Warbler (picture below)
87. Yellow-rumped Warbler
88. Osprey
89. Great Blue Heron
90. Prairie Warbler
91. Common Yellowthroat
92. Loggerhead Shrike (picture below)


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After completing the loop at Three Lakes, I was a little dissapointed about missing Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and Brown-headed Nuthatch. I headed back up the road for 5 miles to Joe Overstreet Road, which goes 5 miles to the shore of Lake Kissimmee.

At the turnoff for the road, there is a group of about 10 Black Vultures, and a magnificent Crested Caracara, definately the alfa of the group, having their way with a dog carcass at the edge of the road. Nice intro to this special place. Terrific variety of birds. One of the highlights was watching a Bald Eagle closely as it swooped down, and picked a fish out of the water. Great looks at Sandhill Crane, and finally found my first Eastern Meadowlark, very similar to the Western that we see all the time in South Dakota.

Once at the lake, found two of my prime targets, Snail Kite, and Limpkin, although the latter was at a great distance, and I was to get a much better look later. Great, great place.

March 19 - Joe Overstreet Rd., Florida

93. Black Vulture (picture below)
94. Crested Caracara (pictures below)
95. Eastern Meadowlark (picture below)
96. Sandhill Crane (picture below)
97. Savannah Sparrow
98. Glossy Ibis
99. Tricolored Heron
100. Killdeer
101. Lesser Yellowlegs
102. Common Moorhen (picture below)
103. Little Blue Heron
104. Cattle Egret
105. Tree Swallow
106. Snowy Egret
107. White Ibis
108. American White Pelican
109. Double Crested Cormorant
110. Limpkin
111. Pied-billed Grebe
112. Greater Yellowlegs
113. Forster's Tern
114. Snail Kite
115. Great Egret
116. Boat-tailed Grackle


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The next major stop was Lake Kissimmee State Park, but first I stopped at the Lake Marian Boat Ramp, which had been recommended by several people. Maybe 50 feet from where I parked were a group of 15 Wood Stork, and the Lake itself was full of waders, and White Pelicans, and a large number of Tree Swallows made their presence known. Got a good look at a couple of Limpkin, including the picture below.

March 19 - Lake Marian Boat Ramp

117. Wood Stork
118. Blue-winged Teal


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After a longish drive, during which I saw a group of Crested Caracara along the road, I arrived at Lake Kissimmee State Park, reputedly a reliable place to see Florida Scrub-Jay. After getting advice from the Ranger as to where to look for them, I spent about a half an hour looking. Unfortunately, it was about 3PM, and not only did I not find any Scrub-Jays, I didn't see any birds at all. So I drove further into the park, and found one of those moments when you come upon a tree full of birds, 5 or 6 types of Warblers, including my first Northern Parula and Yellow-throated Warblers. It only lasted about 15 minutes but it was great. Other highlights included seeing my first Swallow-tailed Kite, and my first Armadillo.

On my way out of the park, I looked again for the Scrub-Jays. More birds now, including Eastern Towhee, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, but the Scrub Jays will need to wait for my next Florida trip. Tonight, I pick up my son at the airport, and tomorrow we'll bird Ft. Desoto in St. Petersburg.

March 19 - Lake Kissimmee State Park, Florida

119. Northern Parula
120. Swallow-tailed Kite
121. Yellow-throated Warbler
122. Eastern Towhee
123. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
I have really been looking forward to this day - Ft. DeSoto State Park is one of the best migration traps in the country, and although it was a bit early, there was the opportunity to see a lot of new birds. And my son, Matt, was with me, always a bonus. On our way to the park, proper, we stopped at some ponds where there were a lot of waterfowl, including a couple of Mottled Ducks and after stopping to see some Osprey nests, a number of Black-capped Parakeets flew in. Lots of White Ibis flying in formation.

The Mulberry Tree area was fairly quiet, but walking around the area, we spotted some warblers, including Palm Warbler, and White-eyed Vireo.

We next drove to the East Beach area, where there were a number of Shorebirds, including a terrific American Golden-Plover, Sanderlings, and Dunlins.

We spent a couple of hours on the beach at North Beach, where we saw Royal and Sandwich Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, and a couple of Reddish Egrets. A great day.

March 20 - Fort DeSoto State Park

124. Lesser Scaup
125. Mottled Duck
126. Laughing Gull
127. Black-capped Parakeet
128. Palm Warbler
129. White-eyed Vireo
130. Sandwich Tern
131. Least Sandpiper
132. Dunlin
133. Red-breasted Merganser
134. American Golden-Plover
135. Sanderling
136. American Oystercatcher
137. Reddish Egret
138. Black-and-white Warbler
139. Brown Pelican
140. Common Loon
141. Ruddy Turnstone
142. Turkey Vulture
143. Royal Tern


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Our last day in Florida, the weather turned bad, dark skies, some rain, fairly high winds. Before attempting to attend a Philadelphia Phillies (lived there for 27 years) game, I drove out to Honeymoon Island State Park. The bad weather was fairly good for the birds, as large numbers of shorebirds were observed along the causeways, including Black Skimmer, a number of Plovers, Sandpipers, and Marbled Godwits. Looking out over a rough Bay, lots of Brown Pelicans and Northern Gannets.

March 21 - Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida

144. Semipalmated Plover
145. Wilson's Plover
146. Marbled Godwit
147. Black Skimmer
148. Willet
149. Short-billed Dowitcher
150. Semipalmated Sandpiper
151. Black-bellied Plover
152. Northern Gannet
153. Common Ground Dove

Got to the Ballpark, and there was a two-hour rain delay. Believe it or not, the birds were great. In the ballpark we saw Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorants, White Ibis, Wood Stork, etc. And leaving the ballpark, we spied a number of Monk Parakeets perched on a telephone wire. On the Causeway on our way to the airport, we put a final coda on the trip by observing two Roseate Spoonbills flying overhead, their pinkish wash clearly visible, along with their unusual bills.

March 21 - Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida

154. Herring Gull
155. Monk Parakeet
156. Roseate Spoonbill


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