The day started off rather gloomy and wet, but after being on travel far too much lately and not getting a chance to bird, I was determined to head out today no matter what the weather was doing. I birded about 4 hours, staying primarily around Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County, and ended up having a great day. It’s clearly not peak migration yet for shorebirds, but they are starting to show up. Numbers were generally small in most places, but there was a pretty decent variety. Here are some photos from the day, many of which are “first-of-year” sightings for me. Click on the photos for an even higher-resolution version.
White-faced Ibis are a species that I don’t see all that often, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in Minnehaha County. There were 19 foraging in a flooded field west of Sioux Falls.
Another first-of-year, a Swainson’s Hawk soaring overhead when the sun came out this afternoon. I ended up seeing several Swainson’s Hawks for the day.
Franklin’s Gulls are one of my favorite spring migrants…they’re so beautiful when they have the blush of pink on their undersides. This wasn’t a first-of-year sighting, as I saw a few in the last couple of weeks. However, they’re really starting to come through in big numbers right now. This was right on the edge of Sioux Falls, at Harmodan Park on the southeast side of town.
By far the most common shorebird today were Lesser Yellowlegs, with a few Greater Yellowlegs mixed in. Here’s a nice comparison shot of the two. It’s pretty evident when they’re side-by-side, but not always so easy when a lone bird is spotted.
I have a billion Great Egret photos. But whenever I come across this beautiful bird, I can’t help but take yet another…