Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Looking for a Harris’s Sparrow at Hyatt Wetlands

In mid-November there was a Harris’s Sparrow hanging out at Hyatt Wetlands (same location that hosted a Great-tailed Grackle earlier in the year). Since Ellen was 8 and a half months pregnant at the time, we were glad to have something in town to chase.

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Ellen on the hunt for a Harris’s Sparrow 9 days before having a baby! Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

We arrived just minutes after several other birders had seen it, so we spent an hour or so patiently scouring up and down the little patch of vegetation it was known to hang out in.

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Location in Hyatt Wetlands where the Harris’s Sparrow was reported, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

While the Harris’s Sparrow didn’t ever turn up again while we were there, we did get to practice photography on a few more common species. There were higher numbers of Pied-billed Grebes than I’d ever seen in one location before. I would guess there was around 40-50 of them spread throughout the ponds.

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Pied-billed Grebes at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

It’s hard to miss the American Coots too.

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American Coots at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

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American Coots at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

We saw this American Kestrel swooping down on songbirds near a little drainage area.

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American Kestrel at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

There were several Mourning Doves hanging out in the brush below the kestrel’s favorite perch, and I’m sure they didn’t appreciate when I got too close and they had to flush with a raptor watching.

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Mourning Dove at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

The drainage area leading out the north side of the wetlands was loaded with Song Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, and in the back corner we spied some Mallards trying not to get noticed.

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Drainage on north side of Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

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Mallards at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

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Song Sparrow at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

Further into the wetlands there are some larger pond areas, which hosted a good number of Hooded Mergansers this season.

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Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

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Hooded Mergansers at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

Black-billed Magpies were abundant as well.

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Black-billed Magpie at Hyatt Wetlands, Ada County. November 18, 2013.

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