Sunday, July 7, 2013

Highway 20 birding hotspots

Ellen and I both grew up in southeast Idaho, and frequently travel across the state to visit family. We’ve discovered over the years that the 5 hour drive is much more pleasant when punctuated by well spaced birding stops. We spent the Memorial Day weekend in Rexburg with family, and made a few stops along the way there. First was Cat Creek Road (point B in the map below) to try one more time for the Ruffed Grouse we keep missing, next was Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh (point C below) to see if the camas lilies were blooming any better than our last trip, and the last stop was Silver Creek Preserve (point D below) which was a place we hadn’t been before. There are so many great birding stops along Highway 20 through the middle of the state that I think it will be a long time before we run out of great places to explore.
Hwy 20 West to East
Birding stops between Boise and Rexburg, Idaho.
On Cat Creek Road, we still didn’t have any luck finding the Ruffed Grouse that others keep finding. Overall it was quieter than most trips, but we did get some photos of a Black-capped Chickadee and a Lazuli Bunting.
BCCH 2
Black-capped Chickadee at Cat Creek Road, Elmore County. May 24, 2013.
LAZB 2
Lazuli Bunting at Cat Creek Road, Elmore County. May 24, 2013.
At Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh things were also a little slow, and the marsh was considerably drier than our last visit. We did see quite a few Cliff Swallows working on their mud nests. They were making long trips from exposed mud banks out on the prairie back to some of the old farm structures closer to the main road where they were nesting.
CLIS 1
Cliff Swallow at Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, Camas County. May 24, 2013.
CLIS 2
Cliff Swallow at Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, Camas County. May 24, 2013.
Cliff Swallows gathering mud at Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, Camas County. May 24, 2013.
At Silver Creek Preserve, we saw our first of year Eastern Kingbird, along with a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a herd of Elk, and lots of other goodies.

SACR 2
Sandhill Cranes at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. May 24, 2013.
Elk 1
Elk at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. May 24, 2013.
The whole area was quite scenic, and we were glad we made the stop. This was our first visit, and we’ll definitely be back when we have more time.
Silver Creek Preserve 1
Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. May 24, 2013.
Silver Creek Pano 1
Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. May 24, 2013.

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