Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Silcock, "Spring Field Report, March-May 2003" and "Species Accounts," from 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); 11 8 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 L 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 0); 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.