I was off last Friday and Monday and took a four-day weekend birding trip to western Nebraska. The end of August and early September is one the most exciting times to go birding because migration peaks for many species, particularly passerines (songbirds). Once we move past early September, the number of species leaving our part of the world for warmer climes increases quickly . Many species like orioles, kingbirds and warblers will soon be all but summer memories. Fall migration occurs in spurts and is affected by weather. Cold fronts, in particular, influence when birds decide to take flight. However, not all cold fronts cause birds to migrate (and result in productive birding) and there are other variables affecting migration. Thus, birding is unpredictable and I seemed to have missed a big wave of migrants during my recent trip. By the end, I tallied 148 species and had a great time. I also got around. I visited two State Parks, nine State Recreation Areas, two Wildlife Management Areas, three Waterfowl Production Areas and two National Wildlife Refuges. Below, are some pictorial highlights from the trip.
Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.