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Nongame Bird Blog

Harlan County Christmas Bird Count recap

After a one week weather delay, the Harlan County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place Monday, 21 December.  This was the 8th edition of the Harlan County CBC.  Previous counts were held in consecutive years from 1996-2001.  The CBC resumed in 2014.  Weather for 2015 was cloudy and a tad chilly in the morning, but skies cleared, winds became calm and temperature reached the mid 40s in the afternoon.    Lake levels were relatively low. Fourteen observers tallied 82 species. …

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Big time rarity in Knox County

Like many birders, Mark Brogie has traveled across Nebraska for many years to find and see rare birds. Mark is actually quite good at it as he has seen more bird species (412) in the state than anyone else. Chasing rare birds often means early mornings, long days, waiting and, almost always, going somewhere else far from home — but not always.  Early Saturday, Mark got an early Christmas gift when a Black-throated Sparrow appeared at his feeder in Creighton, Knox County.    Black-throated …

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Platte Basin Timelapse Story on Terns and Plovers

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist As many of you know, we spend a lot of time each year working in cooperation with the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership on Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover protection, monitoring and research.  Below is a link to the Platte Basin Timelapse project’s educational multimedia story featuring the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership and work being done with sand and gravel mining companies along the lower Platte River to protect nesting Interior Least …

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A December hummingbird

This was a quiet fall for rare hummingbirds in Nebraska, unlike other recent autumns which produced a handful of notable records.  Just as it seemed the door closed for the year, a colleague forwarded a phone message today about a hummingbird coming to a feeder.  Late hummingbird reports always pique birders’ interest because rare species are typically the ones that occur in late fall rather than regularly-occurring species.  This report got me particularly interested because there have been reports of Anna’s …

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First Snowy Owl of the season

Snowy Owl

Kathy Lundstrom is the first to report and document a Snowy Owl in Nebraska so far this late fall/winter.   She came across and subsequently photographed the bird, below, near Stromsburg in Polk County.  This Snowy Owl appears to be a juvenile female based on the extensive black marking. Early signs are not pointing to a big Snowy Owl invasion or irruption this winter in Nebraska and the central Great Plains, which make Kathy’s sighting a bit more special.  The graphic …

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More on the Whooping Cranes at Hupp WMA

The six Whooping Cranes at Father Hupp Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Thayer County, seem to be enjoying this WMA and its wetland.  These birds likely first arrived at this site late in the day on Friday, 13 November, and they remain present Monday, 30 November, even as winter weather has settled into Nebraska.  This means these birds’ stay has surpassed two weeks, which is a relatively long migratory stopover for Whoopers.  Whooping Cranes also don’t typically linger this long in Nebraska …

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Father Hupp WMA Whooping Cranes

Hupp Whooping Cranes

As announced in a press release, Father Hupp WMA in northern Thayer County was closed temporarily on Monday, and remains closed, to protect six Whooping Cranes which are stopping over at this Rainwater Basin wetland.  The “Father Hupp 6” and the “Branched Oak 5” were or are part of a big influx of Whooping Cranes that came into Nebraska on gusty northwest winds as a result of the strong low pressure system that moved across the central Plains last week.   Since the …

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Whooping Cranes at Branched Oak Lake

I was off Friday ahead of a weekend chock full of checking deer, so I had big plans to hit as many reservoirs as I could to see what rarities the strong northwest winds from earlier in the week blew down.  I started my day early at Branched Oak Lake – which was logical since this water body is the largest around and has the most potential (a Black-headed Gull was discovered here earlier in the week).   My first stop on …

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Rarity reported, rapid response required

Black-headed Gull

On late Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. I had just settled on my couch with my laptop as northwest winds were beginning to howl in Lincoln.  It was good to be home for good for the day.  Then, an expected email from the internet discussion group NEbirds arrived in my inbox at 4:27 p.m.  The message was from Noah Arthur and it read: Right now there’s an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL just off the tip of Liebers Point at Branched Oak Lake, …

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Tracking Erwin: 4 years & 136 days later

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Erwin has been spotted again!  As many of you know, Erwin is our famous Piping Plover that hatched at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, in June 2011.  Over the last 4½ years we have been tracking Erwin’s movements across the United States.  We are able to track Erwin’s movements because we placed colored leg bands on Erwin when she was a 3-day old chick back in 2011.  We have tracked …

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