Date of this Version
Silcock, "Spring Field Report, March 2014 to February 2014," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 2014) 82(2).
This spring period was generally uneventful for most species groups, but there were two major influxes in the east that were likely unprecedented in the memories of most Nebraska ornithologists. First was a major influx of gulls of 10 species at Carter Lake and N.P. Dodge Park in Omaha, including good numbers of California and Thayer's Gulls, as well as Iceland, and most surprisingly, a Glaucous-winged Gull. A bit later in the season was a strong influx of the rarer migrant warblers, such as Golden-winged, Blue-winged, Hooded, Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Black-throated Blue. For spice there was a Worm-eating Warbler and a Prairie Warbler, along with a surprising multi-bird eastern showing of Yellow-breasted Chats. While we're talking about warblers, mention should be made of the interesting study of Louisiana Waterthrushes along Stone Creek in Platte River State Park by John Carlini and Shari Schwartz, which has been ongoing for about 3 years.
Apart from the Glaucous-winged Gull, the rarest report was the female Broad-tailed Hummingbird photographed at a feeder in Dawes Co for the first documented spring record for the species. A pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds was there also, remaining through the period. A series of hummer sightings at a Scotts Bluff County feeder had to be of interest, as any spring hummer in the west would be a good find; Ruby-throated is perhaps most likely (which is saying something), but Black-chinned has become a distinct possibility, too.
Wayne Mollhoff is legendary in our state for his work on breeding birds and his two atlas projects, but he might have topped it all by placing a nest box in prime Saw-whet Owl habitat and after a couple of years of waiting patiently, having great success with at least one young bird fledged, for Nebraska's first documented breeding record.
Birding is beset with the well-known "that could have been a but I just couldn't nail it." There were three of those this spring; check out the accounts for Greater Roadrunner, Baird's Sparrow, and Hooded Oriole.