It's been a while since I went out for birding. After christmas bird count participation I could not spend anytime for birding for multiple reasons. This week went to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge to see the ducks before they head back north. Wanted to try my luck to see some of the sparrows and ducks which are still in my wishlist. Other birds include Pine Siskin, Rusty Blackbird and Purple Finch. Looks like I would have wait for the next winter to see any of these. I could only see Pine Siskin today.
Today being the starting of the day light savings, it was tough to wake up early. Reached the Refuge center at around 7:15. There was lot of bird activity around the Refuge center. I decided to look for birds and especially wanted to see if the bird house was occupied. Came out of the car with binocs but had forgotten to take the key with me and ended up locking myself out of the car for the first time :-( Called up AAA folks and they needed atleast an hour to send some help. Thankfully I had atleast binocs. Went birding around the refuge center. There were lot of Red-winged Blackbirds, Flickrs, Downy woodpeckers and some house sparrows near the parking lot. There was no sign of finch or purple-martins nears the Refuge center. There was no bird near the Bird house. But did see some Killdeers and Blue-winged Teals. There was a Northern Harrier flying over the fields and saw a Red-tailed Hike being harassed by a crow. Thankfully AAA folks showed promptly within an hour and I was ready to head towards the Meadow pond trail.
On the way I saw a big congregation of Red-heads in the water and there was lone Ring-billed duck along with them. And in the field I saw lot of American Pipits, Killdeers, Least Sandpipers and few American Golden-Plovers. This was my first sighting of this bird. Today on the lake there were lot of Northenr Shovelers. I had never seen them in so many number numbers before on this lake. Also other ducks that were present are American Wigeons, Gadwalls, Mallards and Coots.
|Couple taking a stroll|
I reached the Meadow Pond Trail area and near the intersection I saw Harris Sparrows, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin and Waxwings. After entering the trail near the Deaver pond I saw Bald Eagle flying over the lake. Atlast got a very look of a Bald Eagle. It was an amazing feeling to see an Adult Bald Eagle flying like that. And on the trail I saw Chipping sparrow, White-Throated sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco's and Chickadea's. And near the Big Mineral creek bridge I saw a lone Red-Headed Woodpecker at the usual spot.
On the way back tried to find snipes with no luck. But instead saw lot of other birds. There were Neotropic cormorants and couple of pelicans on Egret pad. After a while I saw almost 30+ pelicans circling over the lake and settling somewhere. Also saw a lone Forster's Tern. Interesting sighting was couple of Wilson's phalarope hanging along with Yellowlegs. The phalaropes were in breeding plumage.
|Shoveller's, Wigeons and Gadwalls|
|Yellowlegs and Wilson's Phalaropes|
After this headed towards the dead-womans pond to try my luck with the Swallows. On the way saw couple of Barn Swallows, Scaups and other ducks in some of the ponds along the road and some bluebirds. Saw couple of swallows near the dead womans pond bridge but could not see any features on it to identify the bird. It was quite silent near the pond with no ducks on both Dead Woman's pond and Picnic pond. After this headed back home after finishing an interesting day with some interesting sightings.
List of birds seen during the day :
|11||American White Pelican|
|12||Great Blue Heron|