Joined: Mar. 2007
I'm a bit late in reporting on this, but last Sunday I ran the Olsburg BBS (Breeding Bird Survey) route, (38-318 in the BBS database), and ended up with 69 species. This is a bit lower than in recent years; I found 77 species in 2003 and again last year.
I wanted to run it the weekend before, but the Black Vermilion River was out of its banks and a chunk of the road, about 200 ft across, was under water. So I had to wait until it dried out.
There were a couple of highlights. I added one species when I found a singing male Scarlet Tanager on Shannon Creek Road. Despite the lateness of the season, the Shannon Creek Bald Eagles were still there, thankfully. I also saw (and heard) a Song Sparrow. That was the second time I have found that species on the route; I found two Song Sparrows in 2006 in the same general area of that route. I also saw a hen Greater Prairie-chicken and 8 young-uns crossing the road at one stop. And before you ask, no, I don't have any idea why the chickens crossed the road... I had a record number of Dickcissels (111, previous high was 91 in 2006), and a record number of Cliff Swallows (131, previous high was 96, also in 2006). A lovely male Dickcissel is pictured below.
Misses included Loggerhead Shrike (not seen on this route since 2002), Red-headed Woodpecker, Black-billed Cuckoo, and Bell's Vireo.
The most interesting aspect of this year's count was a bird I hoped to see. On my scouting run up there on Saturday, I found a road-killed male Bobolink, near the Black Vermilion Marsh. It was very flat, and embedded with gravel, so I didn't bother to bring it back to KSU for the collection, but it was definitely a Bobolink. Unfortunately I found no Bobolinks there, or along the rest of the route, on Sunday...
I think that these wet years along the Blue River allow some more northerly birds like Bobolinks and Song Sparrows to trickle down here from Nebraska.
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
- Pattiann Rogers