Date of this Version
Paseka, “Bridgeport Fall Field Days,” from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2013) 81(4).
The 2013 NOU Fall Field Days took place at the Prairie Winds Community Center in Bridgeport on Sept. 20–22. The meeting, organized by Kathy DeLara, drew a total of 50 attendees. On Friday evening Luke Hamilton led a group owling to the Bridgeport SRA and to Courthouse Rock. Field trip destinations on Saturday and on Sunday morning included Bridgeport SRA, Fleisbach WMA (aka Facus Springs), Crescent Lake NWR, Hackberry Road in Banner Co., the I-80 Exit I area in Kimball Co, Oliver Reservoir, Wildcat Hills SRA and Wind Springs Ranch. Trips were led by Kathy DeLara, Ann Duey, Cheryl Hamilton, Luke Hamilton, Alice Kenitz, Helen Hughson, and Wayne Mollhoff.
On Saturday evening, Rick Wright gave a presentation on Common Nighthawks entitled “Nigh Thawks and Far Thawks: Uncommon Stories of a Common Bird.” He described errors in attempts to identify goatsuckers in the 1700s and 1800s, which led to Common Nighthawks being confused with Chuck-will's-widows and Eastern Whip-poor-wills. He touched on the many folk names for Common Nighthawk, including “pope,” “bull-bat,” “pork-and-beans,” and the Algonquin word “pisk.” Common Nighthawks are in decline in North America, and the extent of their winter range in South America is largely undetermined.
The total species count was 172. Some of the weekend highlights were male and female Red-naped Sapsuckers, both found in the pine bluffs of eastern Banner County, but not together. A Townsend's Warbler was discovered in the city park in Kimball, and many birders were able to see the Pinyon Jays which are regulars at the Hoffman ranch in Morrill Co., northwest of Dalton. Some birders also added to their trip lists with a stop in Ogallala to see the Mississippi Kites, the White-winged Doves south of Boot Hill Cemetery, and the juvenile male Costa's Hummingbird, which had been present at the Belsan feeders at Lake McConaughy since mid-September.