Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Nebraska Bird Review (June 2003) 71(2).


Copyright 2003, Nebraska ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


This spring was characterized by a lack of significant ornithological events, although readers will find tidbits of interest under the following species: Greater White-fronted Goose, Mandarin Duck (believe it or not), Common Merganser, Peregrine Falcon, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Great Horned Owl, and Blue-winged Warbler. A significant concentration of warblers and flycatchers was detected at Walnut Grove Park in Omaha in late May; check the species accounts for details. The restoration of prairie grasslands at Boyer Chute NWR seems to be paying off; Henslow's Sparrows were found there this spring for the first time. There were several new high counts, with perhaps the most intriguing counts being 28 Snowy Egrets; 200,000 Common Mergansers (described by the observer as a "wild guess," but not unprecedented); 118 Mountain Plovers; 86 Spotted Sandpipers; 372 Sanderlings; 2,490 American Crows; 50+ Rock Wrens; and 18 Summer Tanagers. The 343 Buff-breasted Sandpipers counted at one spot in the Rainwater Basin constituted 2% of the world population.

As far as rarities were concerned, the best by far was the state's 2nd Arctic Tern noted at Lake McConaughy. The rest were rather unexciting, but included the 3rd documented spring record Red-throated Loon (2); the 4th documented spring record Brant; the 1st Rainwater Basin Long-billed Curlew in 50 years; the 4th nesting Snowy Plover; the 1st Panhandle American Woodcock; a Lewis's Woodpecker at Gibbon for the NOU Spring Meeting; a Tufted Titmouse in extreme northeast Nebraska; an overwintering Curve-billed Thrasher still present and singing madly; a MacGillivray's Warbler in Lincoln; an Eastern Meadowlark in the southwest; and wintering Common Grackles reported in the Panhandle for the first time.