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Veagle's 2013 List (1 Viewer)


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Well, this will be my 5th yearly list. Last year was another great year of birding for me. In the last three years, I have had 395, 393, and 395 ABA species, so an obvious goal would be to hit 400 this year. This will be very difficult, without some travel. My wife will be retiring this spring, so we may do some sort of trip in the fall, just not sure where yet. I will be doing a trip to Duluth in February, which should add some new lifers, and a business trip to New Orleans in March will enable me to do a bit of birding there. I would like to make sure to spend some time in Eastern South Dakota for warblers this spring, and a spring trip to Chicago seems probable. I did achieve one of my goals for last year – went over the 200 species mark for Pennington County, but fell short of 300 for South Dakota. . Hopefully this year, I’ll find at least the 6 remaining species needed to attain that goal. Also went over 135 for New Mexico, with very little time spent there. My total ABA species is now at 549, so 600 is definitely starting to get into my thoughts, although the lifers are getting much harder to find.

Lifebirds will be bold:
To start off 2013, I took a drive, similar to last year out to the central part of the state. Karen was unable to make the trip, and it was a long day behind the wheel, but a productive one. Highlights were large numbers of raptors, Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs, a Thayer’s Gull, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker, which we do not get in the western part of the State.

January 1 - Central South Dakota

1. Ring-necked Pheasant
2. Ferrruginous Hawk
3. Golden Eagle
4. Horned Lark
5. Lapland Longspur
6. Rough-legged Hawk
7. Rock Pigeon
8. House Sparrow
9. European Starling
10. Red-tailed Hawk
11. Bald Eagle
12. Northern Harrier
13. Snow Bunting
14. Western Meadowlark
15. Canada Goose
16. Mallard
17. Ring-billed Gull
18. Herring Gull
19. Thayer's Gull
20. Common Merganser
21. Common Goldeneye
22. Pine Siskin
23. American Goldfinch
24. Dark-eyed Junco
25. White-breasted Nuthatch
26. Black-capped Chickadee
27. Downy Woodpecker
28. Red-bellied Woodpecker
29. Redhead
30. Hooded Merganser
31. American Coot
32. Wood Duck
33. Wild Turkey


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Miscellaneous Birds seen around the neighborhood

Jan. 2 - Rapid City, SD

34. American Crow

Jan. 3 - Rapid City, SD

35. Blue Jay
36. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Jan. 4 - Rapid City, SD

37. Townsend's Solitaire
38. Red-breasted Nuthatch

Jan. 5 - Rapid City, SD

39. Sharp-tailed Grouse
40. House Finch
41. Common Redpoll
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I started off Sunday looking for a Snowy Owl that had been reported nearby. No luck. Then over to Canyon Lake to pick up some of the common waterfowl. Then two additional stops to get Lewis's Woodpecker and Canyon Wren. No luck on the last stop for Northern Cardinal.

Later in the day, we had several Red Crossbill at our feeders. Other than a dead bird I found last summer, this is the first occurrence of the Crossbill in our yard.

Jan. 6 - Canyon Lake

42. Lesser Scaup
43. Gadwall
44. Bufflehead
45. Ring-necked Duck
46. American Wigeon
47. Northern Pintail

Jan. 6 - Around Rapid City area

48. Lewis's Woodpecker
49. Canyon Wren
50. Northern Flicker

Jan. 6 - Backyard feeders

51. Red Crossbill


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Very cold this morning. After some snow yesterday, I drove out to an area west of Spearfish, SD, near the Wyoming border, looking for Raptors. Lots of Bald Eagles, feeding on a carcus in the middle of a field.

Jan. 12 - Lawrence County, SD

52. Cooper's Hawk
53. Northern Shrike
54. American Robin
55. Black-billed Magpie
56. American Tree Sparrow


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Went back to Spearfish this morning, before skiing, looking for Gyrfalcon that had been seen there. No luck on the Gyr, most of the same birds as yesterday but added:

Jan. 13 - Lawrence County, SD

57. Cedar Waxwing


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Really remarkable sighting in our backyard! A Lesser Goldfinch, which is a relatively rare bird anytime in South Dakota, and one had never been seen before in Winter. A real beauty.

Jan. 14 - Rapid City, SD

58. Lesser Goldfinch B :)


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Went looking again for the Snowy Owl seen earlier this month. YES! Gave me good scope view for well over 15 minutes.

Jan. 20 - Meade County, SD

59. Snowy Owl
60. Gray Partridge


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A couple more relatively common birds seen around the neighborhood.

Jan. 21 - Rapid City, SD

61. American Kestral

Jan. 27 - Canyon Lake, SD

62. Belted Kingfisher


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We had a little snow overnight, and watching a few Redpolls at our feeders, they seemed quite nervous, and just as I was thinking about how that might often be required for survival, over flew a Sharp-shinned Hawk, looking for a meal.

Jan 28 - Rapid City, SD

63. Sharp-shinned Hawk


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Kind of an amazing morning. We had a little snow the previous night and I was getting ready to go to work, when a noticed some Red Crossbills in the yard. I've only had them once before, so I got my bins out for a look. After a few minutes, I went to grab my coat and took a last look out at the birds, when I noticed a clear white wing bar on one of the birds. I had been hoping to find White-winged Crossbills on my Winter Trip to Minnesota, which I leave for tomorrow, but they came a day early. Lifer!!

Jan. 31 - Rapid City, SD

64. White-winged Crossbill


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I left for Duluth early this morning. Traveling to anywhere this far north in the middle of the winter can be challenging, but everything was on time. Met up with Chris Wood, from WINGS, and Cornell, who was our trip leader. After picking up another participant at a local hotel, Chris took us to a place where a Northern Hawk-Owl had been seen earlier. Sure enough, great scope views of this new bird. A few hours later, once the rest of the group had arrived, we headed northeast towards Two Harbors, where there have recently been some Boreal Owls seen. After searching for 90 minutes, we headed back to Duluth. On Highway 61, one of our group called out suddenly that he saw a bird. Chris stopped the van, carefully backed up, and there at the top of a small tree was my top target for this trip, a beautiful little Boreal Owl. We were able to get good scope views in the diminishing light, then the Owl took off and flew directly overhead, similar in flight, I thought to a Sharp-tailed Grouse, alternating swift wing beats, and glides. A great show.

February 1 - St. Louis County, MN

65. Common Raven
66. Northern Hawk Owl
67. Boreal Owl B :)
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This was our first full day on the Winter Minnesota trip. We left before dawn, and our first target was Spruce Grouse, a lifer for several people. We drove along the northern shore of Lake Superior until the town of Two Harbors, then headed due north on County Rd. 2. After about 45 minutes, we came over a rise, and there were 8 Spruce Grouse in the Rd. After a few minutes they flew into some nearby trees, and we spent about 15 minutes outside watching them in the sub-zero temperatures. Memorable.

We then made our way back to the coast and headed up the lakeshore toward the town of Grand Marais. As we drove by a turnoff to Taconite Harbor, I saw a large bird perched, and we rapidly came to a stop, reversed course and came back to investigate. I felt the bird was too low for a typical Bald Eagle, and sure enough, it was a gorgeous Great Gray Owl, hunting. We were able to get a bit closer, then it flew to some nearby trees, where it perched and gave us wonderful scope views for 15 minutes. We drove further on this road, and came upon a good size group of Common Redpolls, which are have a great year, and we were able for about 15 minutes to study the group, which included 2 Hoarys, a lifer for me. Very nice.

In Grand Marais, we were unable to find the Bohemian Waxwings we were hunting, but down at the harbor, we got a look at a couple of Harlequin Ducks, and Red-breasted Mergansers, before starting down the shoreline toward Duluth. Back in Two Rivers, we located a Snowy Owl sitting on the top of a Spruce. A really nice day.

February 2 - Lake County, MN

68. Spruce Grouse
69. Great Gray Owl
70. Red-breasted Merganser
71. Hoary Redpoll
72. Hairy Woodpecker
73. Morning Dove
74. Harlequin Duck
75. Northern Saw-Whet Owl
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This was Super Bowl Sunday, which with a change of a space became Superb Owl Sunday. Yesterday, we had heard of people seeing multiple Boreal Owls, and our guide Chris Wood took us back towards Two Harbors looking for them. Truly an amazing day. We had 8 separate sightings of Boreal Owl, including the same owl twice. We had phenomenal views of them, hunting in daylight. At one point, we learned that there was just a sighting of a Saw-Whet in Two Harbors. We were back in Duluth, but headed right out and found it.

Later, we visited Canal Park in Duluth, were we were treated to outstanding close-up views of Iceland, Glaucous, Thayer's, Great Black Backed, and Ring-billed Gulls.

Later still, we headed into Wisconsin, where we saw, at extreme distance another Northern Hawk Owl, as well as a good look at a Pileated Woodpecker.

February 3 - Canal Park, Duluth, MN

76. Great Black-backed Gull
77. Iceland Gull
78. Glaucous Gull

February 3 - Douglas County, WI

79. American Black Duck
80. Pileated Woodpecker
81. Ruffed Grouse


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Today, we made our way to the Sax-Zim Bog, where the temperature was -27F at 7:30 am. Despite the cold, it was another outstanding day. Highlights included large numbers of Gray Jays, mixed flocks of Redpolls, a single Boreal Chickadee, and toward dusk, great views of a Barred Owl.

February 4 - Sax Zim Bog, St. Louis County, MN

82. Gray Jay
83. Brown Creeper
84. Boreal Chickadee
85. Barred Owl


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Today was the last day of our Winter Minnesota trip, and we tried to find several species that we had missed until now - Pine Grosbeak, and Bohemian Waxwings. Got the first, at the home of famed bird-bander and hawk watcher Frank Nicoletti, but missed the Waxwings. After lunch, headed out to Aitkin County, where we hoped to find another Great Gray Owl. No luck, but we did get outstanding looks at Sharp-tailed Grouse, several more Barred Owls, and saw a single Wild Turkey at the extreme northern limit of their range.

All in all, an extremely successful trip.

February 5 - Duluth, MN

86. Pine Grosbeak


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Back in Rapid City, I went over to Canyon Lake, where in addition to the normal waterfowl, I got a good luck at several wintering Great Blue Herons.

February 9 - Rapid City, SD

87. Great Blue Heron


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I was visiting my parents in New Jersey and tried to find to rarities that had been in the area - Northern Lapwing, and Barnacle Goose. No luck on either of them, but did see some birds that I don't usually see until later in the season. Some huge flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackle, and Starlings were fascinating. Later in the day, I learned that I missed the Lapwings by about an hour! I was too early!

February 17 - New Egypt, Ocean County, NJ

88. Turkey Vulture
89. Northern Cardinal
90. Red-winged Blackbird
91. Common Grackle
92. Brown-headed Cowbird
93. Merlin

February 17 - Middlesex County, NJ

94. Double-crested Cormorant


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This morning, I timed it right. Took another try for the Lapwing, and got excellent views of three of them in a farm field in Southern NJ, and picked up a few other birds for the day.

February 18 - New Egypt, Ocean County

95. Black Vulture
96. Northern Lapwing o:)
97. Killdeer
98. White-throated Sparrow

February 18 - Walnford Park, Monmouth County, NJ

99. Song Sparrow
100. Northern Mockingbird


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Back in South Dakota again, I led an outing of the Northern Hills Bird Club. Late February in SD is not too exciting, but we had a nice morning, seeing the overwintering Great Blue Herons and Killdeer, along with Bald Eagle and Sharp-shinned Hawk at Canyon Lake, along with most of the expected waterfowl. At the Outdoor Campus, we had good looks at dark-phase Rough-legged Hawks, as well as a Wilson's Snipe, a good bird for this time of year.

February 23 - Outdoor Campus, Rapid City, SD

101. Wilson's Snipe


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I have recently returned from a week in the New Orleans area, primarily for business. But I did manage to spend a day and a half in some surrounding areas, birding, and it was fabulous. During the first few days, in New Orleans I managed to pick up a few birds:

March 3 - New Orleans, LA

102. Laughing Gull
103. Brown Pelican

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