Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend trip to southeast Idaho

From September 20 to 22, we took a weekend trip to southeast Idaho to spend some time with family. This wasn’t really a birding trip, but we did make several short detours in hopes of seeing a few more birds than you get on the main road. You can see our pit stops on the map below.

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Our stops between Boise and Rexburg, September 20, 2013.

Driving up Highway 20 from Mountain Home towards the Camas Prairie there were loads of Turkey Vultures passing through.

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Turkey Vulture near Highway 20, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

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Turkey Vulture near Highway 20, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

On Little Camas Reservoir (point B on the map above) we had an Eared Grebe, and not much else.

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Eared Grebe on Little Camas Reservoir, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

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Little Camas Reservoir, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

Near the Camas Prairie, we took a detour north of Highway 20 along Castle Creek and Cow Creek Roads. We had several Mountain Bluebirds to the west of Cow Creek Reservoir (point C on the map above), a raft of Ruddy Ducks on Cow Creek Reservoir, and a couple of Ferruginous Hawks to the east of Cow Creek Reservoir (point D on the map above).

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Mountain Bluebird east of Cow Creek Reservoir, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

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Ruddy Ducks on Cow Creek Reservoir, Elmore County. September 20, 2013.

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Ferruginous Hawk west of Cow Creek Reservoir, Camas County. September 20, 2013.

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Ferruginous Hawk west of Cow Creek Reservoir, Camas County. September 20, 2013.

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Ferruginous Hawk west of Cow Creek Reservoir, Camas County. September 20, 2013.

We took a quick side trip to Magic Reservoir (point E on the map above), without realizing just how much there would be there to explore. We didn’t have our scopes handy, and the birds were quite distant, so it was hard to make out exactly what we were looking at, but it was clear that there was a lot of potential for rare grebes or loons mixed in with the large rafts of mixed grebes. We did enjoy nice looks at a small herd of Pronghorn Antelope, and had fun picking out several American Pipits out of the hundreds of Horned Larks buzzing along the weedy edges.

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Mixed Grebes on Magic Reservoir, Blaine County. September 20, 2013.

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American Pipit at Magic Reservoir, Blaine County. September 20, 2013.

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Pronghorn Antelope near Magic Reservoir, Blaine County. September 20, 2013.

That evening we got to Camas NWR (point H on the map above) just in time for the last little bit of light. We were hoping to have time to search for any kind of vagrant warblers that might have been lingering around, and there were plenty of birds to pick through, but by the time we got there the light was pretty rough for getting good looks. The place was crawling with Yellow-rumped Warblers, as well as quite a few other regulars, but the light was too dim to get decent photos.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. September 20, 2013.

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Camas NWR, Jefferson County. September 20, 2013.

As the sun set, we took a drive through the marsh, hoping for a Short-eared Owl. We didn’t find a Short-eared, but we did find a Great-horned Owl, as well as several skunks and porcupines.

Camas NWR 2

Driving through the marsh after sunset at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. September 20, 2013.

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Great-horned Owl at Camas NWR, Jefferson County. September 20, 2013.

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Camas NWR, Jefferson County. September 20, 2013.

On the way back to Boise, our only stop was Silver Creek Preserve (point F on the map above). Nothing out of the ordinary on this trip, but there were impressive numbers of Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers hunting on the freshly harvested fields.

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Red-tailed Hawk at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. September 22, 2013.

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Red-tailed Hawk at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. September 22, 2013.

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Red-tailed Hawks at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. September 22, 2013.

Northern Harrier at Silver Creek Preserve, Blaine County. September 22, 2013.

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