Driftwood SFA – Loons, Gulls, and a Swallow

I had already planned to check Driftwood Saturday, but after reading Don Gorney’s post on IN-Bird about the large numbers of Common Loons and Horned Grebes at Eagle Creek, I knew I would have to check out Driftwood.

I arrived a little after 10AM and spent the next 4 hours picking up two new county birds and basically just having a good time observing birds I hardly get to see.   The species aren’t that uncommon for the state, but they are uncommon for Johnson  County since it doesn’t have a large lake or river.

On the day I observed 7 Common Loons (personal high count for the county), 18 Horned Grebes (personal high count for the county), 3 Red-breasted Mergansers (new county bird), 120 Tree Swallows (which eBird flagged as a high count), a Barn Swallow (which eBird flagged as rare this time of year), FOY Brown Thrasher, and a species I thought I might not ever see in the county – 4 Bonaparte’s Gulls (needles to say new county bird).

Knowing that Mike needed a few of this birds for his county list, I gave him a call and he showed up for the remainder of the day.

BAEA 1
A cropped photo of a Bald Eagle to start the day.

 

COLO
The loons came close several times.
COLO A
I never did figure out of the loons were paired up or not.

COLO 3

COLO 2
Several times the loons would get low and start calling. Not sure why so  I will check on it but if you know please leave a comment.

Tuesday I will post some audio I got of the loons calling. And post some things I have learned about audio and Internet browsers.

The Tree Swallows were all huddled together in the cold in one tree.  Some would then go out and forage. Click to enlarge and see if you can spot the one Barn Swallow.

TRES
Where is the Barn Swallow?
TRES 1
TRES 3 I actually got one flying low on the lake!

 

TRES 2
Brrrrr. Cold.
BARS
As above.
REBM
Not a good photo, but good enough to document my first Red-breasted Merganser in the county.

A series of photos of Horned Grebes.

HOGRHOGR 4 HOGR 3 HOGR 2 HOGR 1

BRTH
I didn’t take the time to get a good photo of this Brown Thrasher. Too busy watching the Bonaparte’s Gulls.

And now for a series of photos of the Bonaparte’s Gulls.  Distant photos but I enjoy watching the light and bouncy way they fly.  I immediately new them from that flight pattern. A real treat for a county where I have yet to see a Ring-billed Gull yet this year.

BOGU 1BOGU 2BOGU 3BOGU 4BOGU 5

BOGU 15

BOGU 12 BOGU 10

BOGU 20
A cropped photo of a Bonaparte’s that came close.
Driftwood SFA
A beautiful, if cold day, to be watching the loons and gulls.

 

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