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Two days ago, the girls and I took a road trip to visit Spring. And a little bit of Winter. Our, well my, main goal was to see a Snowy Owl and I managed to do that after one hundred miles of driving. The girls’ main goal was to walk on dirt instead of ice. They managed to do quite a bit of that and enjoyed all the smells of wet dirt and early spring. The snow had just melted in parts of Douglas County and left moist ground, sometime just plain mud, and water all over the place. Water was laying in wheat fields, crossing roads, pouring over coulee walls. Oh, and it was cold enough that much of it was ice-covered.

Sadly, much of what we saw was burned down to dirt in last Labor Day’s Pearl Hill wildfire. Much of the ash has already blown away or been washed away. The vast landscapes look barren with little sagebrush remaining. I had hoped for a few Spring birds but there was nowhere for them to perch or take cover.

The skies were incredibly blue. The snow-covered mountains on the horizons were lovely. Sunshine warmed us. The coulee walls were lit up with lichens. We enjoyed walking on dirt and getting away from our ice and snow-covered world at home.

I saw 54 bird species scattered over numerous habitats. Nothing rare. They were:

Canada Goose

Tundra Swan

American Wigeon

Mallard

Canvasback

Redhead

Ring-necked Duck

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Wild Turkey

California Quail

Pied-billed Grebe

Eared Grebe

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

American Coot

Common Loon

Great Blue Heron

Golden Eagle

Northern Harrier

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Snowy Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

American Kestrel

Northern Shrike

Steller’s Jay

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Black-capped Chickadee

Pygmy Nuthatch

American Dipper

Varied Thrush

European Starling

House Sparrow

House Finch

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

Song Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Western Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

3 Comments

  1. What a stunning landscape! Thank you for sharing this. Very heartening to see the first signs of Spring!

  2. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!


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