Thursday, June 2, 2011

Logan County Birding

May 27, 2011

Richard Stevens:

My birding centered around Logan County today. There was quite a storm before sunrise. Temperatures were in the 70s; winds were quite strong 14-18 mph, gusts to 28 mph.

A quick stop at the cemetery in Sterling along Highway 6, I only spent about an hour here. High winds probably forced most birds to shelter themselves deep in the trees. An Upland Sandpiper was walking around the southeast corner? Strange location for the bird, for sure.

No Gray-cheeked Thrushes this trip, I did find a Veery and Blackpoll Warbler. The Veery seems quite a ways from its normal grounds?

On the way to Sterling Reservoir, I stopped at Overland Park. Both cuckoos have nested in the park in the past. I was able to heard one Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It took quite a while to put binoculars on him (hiding in the wind blown leaves, cottonwoods along the S. Platte River).

While searching for cuckoos, I relocated the Philadelphia Vireo reported by Severs on 5/25. A Purple Martin flew over the South Platte River at Highway 6. I know of at least two additional reports of Purple Martin in the same area in the past 10 days. Perhaps Purple Martins are nesting somewhere in Sterling. It is something to explore at another time.

No Black-billed Cuckoos were found. I hope that it is just too early in the year and they will show up. Another reason to return to Sterling.

In all, I wandered around North Sterling Reservoir for 6 or more hours. Unfortunately, most of the northern, western and southwest parts of the reservoir are surrounded by private land. Signs indicate the even some of the land under the water is private.

In short, the highlights were another Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a Summer Tanager (Hilltop Point) and Blackpoll Warbler (Elks Campgrounds). Half a dozen medium sized terns flew around the west side, too far away to identify. None was large enough to be a Caspian Tern. No uncommon gulls were found.

Another Yellow-billed Cuckoo was found while I hiked the southeast end of the reservoir. A Magnolia Warbler was with a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. A walk along the intake canal was unproductive today.

Driving Logan County Roads 29 and 27, which go toward the south end of the reservoir, was not productive. On the drive out, one or two Dickcissel were seen along County Road 46, east of CR 37.

My birding day ended at Sedgwick Draw. No Short-eared Owls flew around. An Eastern Screech-Owl was at the woodlot east of there.

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