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November 28, 2006 [LINK / comment]
Late fall birds in South Dakota
I just got back from an extended Thanksgiving visit to see my family in South Dakota, and the weather was surprisingly mild for most of the time. I even managed to get in a couple rounds of golf on days when the temps reached the 60s, while the Eastern Seaboard was getting soaked. Ha! Here are the birds of note I saw during the various outdoor excursions I made with my father, brothers, and nieces:
- Red-tailed hawks
- Robins (surprisingly common)
- White-breasted nuthatches
- Black-capped chickadees
Gavins Point Dam *
- Pied-bill grebes (5+)
- Coots (100+)
- Redheads (FOS, 8+)
- Common goldeneyes (FOS, 5+)
- Wigeons (FOS, 5+)
- Buffleheads (FOS, 5+)
- Ring-billed gulls (8+)
- Green-winged teals (10+, prob.)
- Bald eagle
Other specific places
- Red-bellied woodpecker -- Mulberry Bend, NE
- Sharp-shinned hawk -- Mulberry Bend, NE
- Tree sparrow (FOS) -- Bluffs golf course
- Cooper's hawk -- Bluffs golf course
- Cedar waxwings -- Bluffs golf course
- Flicker -- E of St. James, NE
- Hairy woodpecker -- Crawford Road ravine **
- Brown creeper (FOS) -- Crawford Road ravine **
- Snow geese (FOS; 10,000+, incl. Blue morph) -- Silver Lake, Freeman
- Horned larks (FOS)-- Silver Lake, Freeman
- Short-eared owl?? -- S of Freeman
The Snow geese I saw at Silver Lake were truly spectacular, like what you see on those CBS Sunday Morning nature scenes. They were interspersed with many ducks, but they were too far away to identify. Several of the birds listed above were the first sightings of the season for me, but since they are in another part of the country, they don't really count for that purpose.
* For information on the Gavins Point Dam, see the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site, or else lewisandclarktrail.com.
** In the November election, voters in Vermillion approved a referendum to extend Crawford Road through a ravine to the road leading out of town on the southeast side. For residents on the east side of town, it would save one or two miles, and I think it's long overdue. A group organized to stop the project, however, citing the value of the woods as a nature preserve. They suggested building a bicycle / nature trail, which would have been a good idea ten or twenty years ago. Such a last-minute proposal gave me the impression that it was little more than typical "NIMBY" sentiment.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 29 Nov 2006, 12: 05 AM
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