Wednesday, August 8, 2012
McCook, Nebraska, Aug 2012
After having such a successful birding adventure with my niece, Trina, I ventured back to the 'city' of McCook which is where I was staying with my sister and her family. In the afternoon I asked my nephew if he was interested in visiting Barnett Park on the south side of McCook. This park is a picnic area with a few trails and a pond with some water fountains in it. My nephew, Maxwell, has a good eye for birds as he was quickly pointing out several that he saw. The pond was populated with over 50 Canada Geese and a few domestic ones as well. Also found one Mallard and a couple of 'Mutt Ducks', which are hybrid cross with Mallard and domestic ducks. Probably the one water bird that struck me as being out of place was a Double-crested Cormorant. Guess I never really expected one on a pond in the plains of southwestern Nebraska, but guide books show they do occur in this area, but sure don't remember any from my youth. Here are a couple photos of this bird after it left the water to dry out its feathers.
This is the only bird I was able to photograph in the park, but we did see several other very nice birds as well, including; American Kestrel, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Red-headed Woodpecker, Western Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Cardinal.
Once we returned to my sister's house she decided to go for a walk in her neighborhood and of course, I just had to go along and take my camera with me. During the walk we found an American Goldfinch, Eurasian-collared Doves, Mourning Doves, Western Kingbirds, House Finches, and a very cooperative Baltimore Oriole.
And as we were near the end of our walk we came upon a couple of Western Kingbirds, and one of them was very approachable. I don't think this bird knew what to think of a human with a camera. Sure gave me some quizzical looks.
We finished our walk with a leisure evening on the back patio. During this time I saw American Robins, Northern Cardinals, House Finches, lots of Chimney Swifts in the evening sky, Common Grackles, Mourning Doves, and a European Starling. This starling was a bit unusual as it was a juvenile in the middle of a molt and looks very different than most starlings that we see day to day.
Maybe birding this state is overlooked by many birders. Obviously there are a lot of great birds to be found within the state, but like most states, knowing where to find them is a bit tricky. Just about everyone is familiar with the Sandhill Crane migration that occurs every year in February and March in the central part of the state, but I think there is much more to explore and see throughout the state.