Birds of Quivira – Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal - Quivira NWR, Kansas
Blue-winged Teal – Quivira NWR, Kansas

The Blue-winged Teal is the most common nesting duck at Quivira NWR.

Blue-winged Teal - 6A1A8856
Blue-winged Teal – Quivira NWR, Kansas
Blue-winged Teal - 6A1A8844
Blue-winged Teal – Quivira NWR, Kansas

 

Return to the Kingdom of Quivira

I have previously discussed and shared a number of our photos from previous trips to Quivira NWR.  Steve and I recently returned from a short trip to central Kansas and I wanted to share a quick photo.  Last year we had sure looks and photos of Hudsonian Godwits.  This year one of the highlights of the trip was finding a group of 23 Marbled Godwits.

Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit

We were a bit earlier this year than last and this combined with a longer, cooler spring, bird species diversity and overall numbers were a tad lower.  Constant abusing winds made the cool temperatures nearly unbearable to sustain for long, especially with two dudes who dressed for spring.  But, we just worked a little harder and made the best use of good light, higher temps and calmer winds when we could find them.  Another unforgettable trip.

Birds of Quivira – Final Thoughts

A Muddy Profusion
A Muddy Profusion

Today I am presenting the final images that I plan on sharing from the trip that Steve and I made to Quivira NWR way back this past May.

Godwits and A Dowitcher
Godwits and A Dowitcher

These Hudsonian Godwits were a pleasure to watch.  See below for a shot of them in rest.

Godwits
Godwits

Surprisingly, we seemed to have more Yellow-headed Blackbirds than Red-winged, but we did have plenty of Red-winged to watch as well.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

No trip to the grasslands is complete without a Quail…

Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail

We watched this female/juvenile Yellow Warbler take a bath in one of the creeks that run through the reserve.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

What a collection of birds, photos and memories these few days in the Kingdom of Quivira provided.  We can’t wait to visit again.

Kingdom of Quivira
Kingdom of Quivira

-OZB

Birds of Quivira – Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

While at Quivira, Steve and I happened upon one of the most patient, cooperative wild birds I have ever come across, this male Belted Kingfisher.  It stayed perched, except when taking off to grab a prey item, as we slowly crept closer in the car.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

In the photo below, the bird winds up to bash a crayfish that it eventually swallowed.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Thanks for visiting!

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

-OZB

Birds of Quivira – White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis

The White-faced Ibis are pretty abundant at Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms and across the Great Plains in general.  It is believed that this was primarily a western species that has been slowly moving eastward during the past century.  Nesting grounds are still rather patchy and infrequent, but they have been documented to nest at both Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira.

White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis

-OZB

Birds of Quivira – Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

A bird of the west, the Long-billed Curlew was quite a treat for Steve and I and a rare bird to be found at Quivira NWR.  Imagine our surprise and pleasure at finding two!

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

As usual, habitat destruction via modern agriculture and livestock has severely diminished the numbers of this species.  Will we ever again see the numbers that Audubon once observed?  In describing the flocks of thousands he was able to observe, Audubon in The Birds of America wrote the following:

“They flew directly towards their place of rest, called the Bird Banks, and were seen to alight without performing any of the evolutions which they exhibit when at their feeding places, for they had not been disturbed that season.  But when we followed them to the Bird Banks, which were sandy islands of small extent, the moment they saw us the congregating flocks, probably amounting to several thousand individuals all standing close together, rose at once, performed a few evolutions in perfect silence, and realighted as if one accord on the extreme margins of the sandbank close to tremendous breakers.  It was now dark, and we left the place, although some flocks were still arriving.”

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

-OZB

Birds of Quivira – The Swallows

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

This warm season, including this spring at Quivira, I finally took some time to get to know the Swallows a little better, not only in visual description, but in song, behavior and flight.  Other than their beauty, I find the Barn Swallows to be the most gracefully designed and beautiful fliers of their kind.  With their long, forked tail and sleek and slender wings, I am sure they could beat any other swallow in a dogfight.  It’s a simple pleasure to watch them swoop down, mere inches above a field to catch an insect on the wing, to then see them rise a few hundred feet while banking and rolling.  Their varied and constant chatter ranks among my favorites as well.

Cliff Swallow
Cliff Swallow

Pete Dunne most appropriately describes the Cliff Swallow as a “…husky crop-tailed Barn Swallow wearing a miner’s lamp.”  Another gorgeous swallow, this species is very communal and will often nest in the hundreds or thousands together, making gourd-shaped nests out of mud.  The image below shows a few birds collecting mud on the banks of a stream that runs through Quivira.

Cliff Swallow
Cliff Swallow

-OZB

 

Birds of Quivira – Some Assorted Shorebirds

Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper

Tonight I am sharing a few miscellaneous shorebirds.  First up to bat is a shorebird that isn’t much of a shorebird at all – the Upland Sandpiper.  So named due to its preference for higher and drier habitat, the Upland Sandpiper can be found in fields and meadows.  Look for it on a typically elevated perch and find it by its haunting song.

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope

With a ratio of what must have been close to 1000:1, the Wilson’s Phalarope greatly outnumbers any other Phalarope.  However, Steve and I were still able to find and ID a couple of Red-necked Phalarope in winter plumage, as pictured above.

 

Black-necked Stilt
Black-necked Stilt

A true wetland favorite, the Black-necked Stilt is as pleasing to watch for its behavior as it is a piece of natural art.

Willet
Willet

As stout and cute as a Bulldog puppy, Willets are always a site for sore eyes.

Willet
Willet

On our last evening and during our very few hours of decent, golden hour light Steve and watched a number of Willets and Avocets feeding in the shallows near the road.

-OZB