We didn’t have a great deal of diversity in the shorebirds during this early season trip to the “central coast,” but, we had great numbers in the early migrating species like the Long-billed Dowitcher. There may have been some Short-billed Dowitchers mixed in here but none that we could confirm identity. The LBDO uses the central flyway predominantly while the SBDO primarily moves along the coasts during spring migration.
With this crazy summer, full of a time-consuming work project and trying to keep establishing plants alive in the yard, there has been very little time for birding trips. Casey organized this trip from mid April of 2022 and it was definitely memorable. I still have hundreds of photos to process, but here are a few from our first stop, a couple of Lesser Prairie Chicken Leks in western Kansas.
The Blue-winged Teal is the most common nesting duck at Quivira NWR.
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.
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.
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.
These Hudsonian Godwits were a pleasure to watch. See below for a shot of them in rest.
Surprisingly, we seemed to have more Yellow-headed Blackbirds than Red-winged, but we did have plenty of Red-winged to watch as well.
No trip to the grasslands is complete without a Quail…
We watched this female/juvenile Yellow Warbler take a bath in one of the creeks that run through the reserve.
What a collection of birds, photos and memories these few days in the Kingdom of Quivira provided. We can’t wait to visit again.
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.
In the photo below, the bird winds up to bash a crayfish that it eventually swallowed.
Thanks for visiting!
Steve and I found this large Bullsnake sunning itself on the road during our tour through Quivira.
Thanks for stopping by!
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.
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!
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.”