Date of this Version
"Notes on Bird Sightings in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1994) 62(3).
Trumpeter Swans and Lewis' Woodpeckers: While birding in western Nebraska August 1, 1994, Shirley and I observed a pair of Trumpeter Swans with five nearly grown cygnets. They were in a sandhills lake west of Whitman near the road. We also saw two Lewis' Woodpeckers in the burned-out area at Chadron State Park, but could not find them at Soldier Creek near Fort Robinson where we saw so many last year.
---- Lee Morris, RR1, Box 14, Benedict, NE 68316
More Trumpeter Swans: I was driving along Highway 2 on October 8, 1994 near Whitman, NE on one of those days when everything in nature seemed to be putting on a final show before winter. Rounding a curve and looking across Collins Lake, I saw what I thought might be late White Pelicans gliding across the water. A split second later, I knew these were not pelicans, so I stopped; a scan through my binoculars and a study through my spotting scope identified Trumpeter Swans - five adults and four subadults. Two adults flew across the lake giving their distinctive trumpeting call.
Fascinated with this sighting, I drove on towards the Black Hills, speculating about their presence at Collins Lake. Where were they headed? LaCreek wildlife Refuge at Martin, South Dakota, came to mind, so I stopped there on the way back. Mr. Rolf Kraft, Refuge Manager, kindly dragged out the big serial survey maps to show me all the nest area sites for Trumpeters. Aerial surveys on five days from August 20 through September 2, 1994, showed birds nesting in Cherry, Grant, Arthur, Sheridan, McPherson, and Garden Counties in Nebraska, 10 counties in South Dakota, and Crook County in Wyoming. A total of 249 swans in 9 flocks were observed: 47 non-breeders and 54 pairs with 32 broods consisting of 85 cygnets (much higher than the 1993 total of 122 adults and 42 cygnets). All of these birds have migrated or will migrate for the winter into LaCreek, where the water is kept open and food is provided. It seems that this population has somewhat stabilized at about 225 birds, which means that some are 'pioneering' into other areas. Only one has been located, and that was in Wisconsin. Most of the birds have been neck-collared, so if you see swans with neck collars, either call me (I have cards and information) or inform Mr. Kraft at the Refuge.
----Ruth C. Green, 506 W. 31 Ave., Bellevue, NE 68005