Date of this Version
Paseka, "South Sioux City Fall Field Days," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2015) 83(4).
The 2015 NOU Fall Field Days took place in South Sioux City at the Americas Best Value Inn on Sept. 25–27. There were about 50 in attendance at the meeting, which was organized by Dave Heidt, Robin Harding, Jan Johnson, and Betty Grenon.
On Friday evening Ponca State Park Superintendent Jeff Fields told the group about the changes that have happened in Ponca State Park since its beginning in 1934 as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. It is the third oldest state park in Nebraska and now encompasses 2,400 acres. It boasts one of the oldest bur oaks in the state, which has been dated to 1644. Ponca State Park is on an unchannelized 59-mile reach of the Missouri River, which is now protected as a Scenic River, and the park has been designated an Important Bird Area. Changes happening to the park now include stabilization of the river banks and controlled bums to allow new bur oak growth as well as increasing efforts to make the park welcoming to the public and to encourage nature appreciation.
On Saturday evening, Mark Brogie, science instructor in the Creighton Public Schools, led a bird identification workshop using paired photos of birds which can be difficult to differentiate. This included Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Eared and Homed Grebes, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Warbling and Philadelphia Vireos. Mark and Ellen Brogie also brought dozens of bird skins from the Wayne State College collections (collected and prepared by Wayne Mollhoff) for the group to study.
Field trip destinations on Saturday and on Sunday morning included Ponca State Park, Basswood Ridge WMA, Kramper Lake (Danish Alps SRA), Big Bear Park, Winnebago Sewage Lagoons, and numerous sites in Woodbury County, Iowa.
Field trips were led by Bill Flack, Bill Huser, Jan Johnson, Don Paseka, and T. J. Walker. Special thanks go to local members Bob Livermore, Jerry Probst, and Rex Rundquist, who led the trip to the Iowa destinations.
The total species count was 132. Some of the weekend highlights were Virginia Rail, American Golden-Plover, Black-billed Cuckoo, Peregrine Falcon, 6 swallow species, 11 warbler species, and 9 sparrow species.