Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version



"Notes on Bird Sightings in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1994) 62(4).


Copyright 1994, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Northern Waterthrush. At 9:35 a.m. on December 14, and again at 10:15 a.m. on December 21, 1994, I observed what I believe was the same bird on a Burlington Northern railroad embankment north of Gifford Road in Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue, NE. On December 14, I saw it for 7 seconds. It vocalized with a sharp "chink" as it hopped up on a fallen log, then vocalized again 6-7 seconds later as it jumped down into thick underbrush. It was silent on December 21, but I observed it for at least ten minutes as it walked at the foot of a bluff at the edge of water. It remained on the ground with its wings folded, but it constantly pumped its tail like a sandpiper as it probed for vegetation at the water's edge.

The bird was 6 inches in length, and all the upper parts were dark-brown from the forehead to the end of the tail. The belly was in sharp contrast, with a light-buff tinge covered with brown/black slashes or lines. The undertail area was very light-buff with no speckles. The underside of the tail feathers appeared somewhat lighter than the dark-brown of the upper tail feathers. The legs were long and flesh-colored with no discernible difference in the color of the feet. The wings were uniformly dark-brown without bars.

The head had a dark-brown cap with no contrast with the forehead, but the ear patch was lighter-brown than the cap. The eye was dark and indistinct with no ring. The eye stripe was buff and the eye line was dark. The upper and lower mandibles were a uniform dark color. The throat was light-buff with brown/black specks. The chin was light with a buff/brown wash.

---James Alt, Fontenelle Forest Ass'n, 1111 North Bellevue Blvd., Bellevue, NE 68005-4000