River of Grackles

With a hard freeze, frost covering everything, and a darn right cold morning, the longshore flight returned today as temperatures gradually recovered from their mid 20s start to a much more comfortable 50 degrees.  The day would end as the most diverse set of birds thus far for the season, with a few new additions to the year list.

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Sample image of grackles that were going over this morning, March 26, 2016.

Immediately at dawn, an influx of blackbirds began their flight parallel to the lake.  The constant streams of grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds, and occasional cowbirds was awe inspiring.  Thankfully, robins were on the low side, and waterfowl were light on the water, as the entire time was spent logging the near steady stream of blackbirds moving directly overhead.  In one river flow of grackles, over 2,000 were counted.  The morning would end with 6,626 Common Grackles… the most numerous bird of the morning.  The day ended with 10,517 birds, divided into 66 species.

Raptors performed nicely today in the warming south winds.  44 Turkey Vultures were logged, in addition to 19 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 48 Red-tailed Hawks.  Among the red-tails was a dark morphed bird.  927 Sandhill Cranes would also move late morning.

As mentioned above, very little was on the water.  23 White-winged Scoters would make up the main  highlight.  A dead fish on the beach this morning drew the attention of many gulls, including 2 beefy Great Black-backed Gulls that would spend the time hogging the fish.  At one point, all the gulls picked up in the air.  Was it an eagle?  Nope, just the local beaver taking a swim out of Dune’s Creek to check out the big waters.  He swam and jogged along the shoreline.

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American Beaver on the beach this morning, March 26, 2016.

As predicted a few days ago, Northern Flickers began their first major flight today.  115 flickers streamed by, with a few stopping in the “flicker tree”… aka… the nearby cottonwoods.  Strangely, no sapsuckers joined them today.  Other notables for the day included another Caspian Tern, Brown Creeper, and a lone Purple Finch.

Today’s full list can be found here.  Unfortunately, as luck would have it, tomorrow is Easter, so an official count may not occur, but south winds should bring more birds in. Monday brings north winds, but we should be back out Tuesday and especially Wednesday of next week.

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