Our northeast journey took us to Deming, NM for our first night. A walk to the cemetery across the street from the RV Park brought us a roosting Great Horned Owl that was not at all happy about his nap being disturbed.
Heading north we stayed at Elephant Butte State Park. Am. White Pelicans were the main attraction here along with Clark's Grebes and a variety of ducks.
|American White Pelican with breeding tubercle|
This is the last area that we saw Chihuahuan Ravens - notice the white patch around the neck.
We then spent the day at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The Sandhill Cranes had already left for Nebraska, but we found a good variety of waterfowl and a few lingering Snow and Ross's Geese. It felt like Spring and a huge Bullfrog was enjoying the sun.
We then drove to Santa Rosa Lake State Park in northern New Mexico. Next day off for a quick drive across corners of N. Texas and Oklahoma.
We spent a couple days exploring the Cimarron Grasslands looking for Lesser Prairie Chickens with no luck. Then drove on to historical Dodge City Kansas
We read on the birding hotline that Lesser Prairie Chickens had been seen near Minneola which was just south of Dodge City, so we headed there before sunrise. We didn't hear any displaying on leks, so just drove the gravel roads watching. We were just about to give up when one bird jumped and flew from a stubble corn field. We drove on a bit, decided to turn around and go back to the corner we saw the bird. Three more birds jumped and flew, but one landed in the grass near the road. After a lot of photos of him hiding in the grass, he jumped and flew and Ty was able to catch a couple full photos.
We spent a day and a night at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. A dreary day and very windy, we missed the Sandhill Cranes again, we seemed to be right behind them. Lots of waterfowl in the many ponds amid the grasslands. Lots of N. Harriers and we saw lingering Rough-legged Hawk and one early Franklin's Gull.
|N. Harrier dives for prey|
We moved north to the Cheyenne Bottomlands Kansas State Wildlife Area. Another very windy day, putting white caps on the ponds. We found 15 species of ducks and a few gulls, including this Boneparte's Gull and a young Lesser Black-backed Gull.
There is a free campground at the Refuge and we found some Spring arrivals like this Brown Creeper. Many Robins and Flickers were on their way north. Along with flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos and Am. Tree Sparrows.
Another stop at the Kirwin Wildlife Area, and some interesting finds - like Greater Prairie Chickens, Ring-necked Pheasants, and N. Bobwhite. More N. Harriers searching the grasslands for mice.
We finally caught up with the Sandhill Cranes and some Snow Geese - good to see both the "blue" and white phases. Also saw many Cackling Geese flying north with the other Canada's.
It's been cold and drizzly but the Spring birds are arriving. Plus, we are adding many eastern birds to our year list. We stayed at Two Rivers State Park near Omaha and have one more refuge to visit today and tomorrow. Desoto National Wildlife Refuge on the border of Nebraska and Iowa.
We are getting ready for some "winter" camping in Iowa and Wisconsin. Where is all that warm weather that they experienced a couple weeks ago?
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann