Exercise more than birds got me outside today. I have been reading the migration reports at BirdCast and looking at the weather forecasts and it appears things will get rockin' by Friday. In the meantime, I need the practice, having not been birding very much this past month or two. Prairie Ridge was birdy mostly due to the 100+ Robins moving back and forth across the "prairie". I was able to study the markings on an immature Red-shouldered Hawk for a good 5 minutes as he perched over the main pond. Also, a couple of Swamp Sparrows were working the edge of the pond, giving me a chance to study their plumage.
This birding hotspot now lists 178 listed species, and it is an easy access location not far from home. Between this location and Lake Crabtree down the interstate, as well as Schenck Forest, a triangle birder need look no further to accomplish a great list of local birds. Here is the list of 8 species recorded.
Deer rub - not something desired in a preserve for native prairie plants.
Today I covered the dam and the Southport entrance At the dam, there was the usual group of wintering Lesser Scaup, about 90, interspersed with Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, Ruddy Ducks and a few Bonaparte Gulls. Although I did not see one, a fellow birder mentioned the arrival of Osprey to the lake yesterday. I only stayed at the dam for 10 minutes, then quickly off to the Southport entrance and a search for some gulls recently reported, Greater and Lesser Black-backed, and Herring Gull. I dipped on the gulls. Special treats - three Blue-winged Teal cruising by at eye-level, a Bald Eagle who flushed from an overhead Pine, and a Black Rat Snake. Here is a link to the list of 44 species.