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