Thursday, May 14, 2015

April Highlights from Indian Creek and Mountain Home Reservoirs

As in March, we continued to make frequent stops at the not-too-far, easy to access, reasonably productive hot spots of Indian Creek Reservoir, the Mayfield Loop, and Indian Creek Reservoir. The three go together quite well, as they can be turned into one big circuit that keeps you birding pretty much non stop from the first stop at Indian Creek all the way to Mountain Home. Here’s the trip as we’ve been enjoying it lately:

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Google map of our trip from Indian Creek Reservoir to Mountain Home Reservoir.

On one trip to Indian Creek, we got a good look at an American Pipit, one of several in the area.

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American Pipit at Indian Creek Reservoir, Ada County. April 19, 2015.

Later that day at Mountain Home Reservoir, we found our first-of-year Horned Grebe. These guys share a lot of similarities with Eared Grebes, but are a bit less common, so we were glad to get a nice view.

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Horned Grebe at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 19, 2015.

We also had both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. Here they are back to back for comparison. Note that the bill on the first (Greater) is a tad longer and ever-so-slightly curved upwards, and the second bird (Lesser) shows a bit more barring on the flanks. There are other apparent differences between the two, but in this case the differences in posture might make them look a bit more different than they actually are.

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Greater Yellowlegs at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 19, 2015.

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Lesser Yellowlegs at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 19, 2015.

We also enjoyed this goofy Long-billed Curlew taking a bath. Amidst all the flailing, it gave a few interesting views of some of the different shades of tan and gray they sport.

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Long-billed Curlew at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 19, 2015.

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Long-billed Curlew at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 19, 2015.

A few days later, a trip to Indian Creek Reservoir turned up our first-of-year Caspian Tern and Western Kingbird.

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Caspian Tern at Indian Creek Reservoir, Ada County. April 24, 2015.

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Western Kingbird at Indian Creek Reservoir, Ada County. April 24, 2015.

The next day, another trip to Mountain Home Reservoir turned up several of the usual spring migrants, plus one nice rarity. The regulars included several pairs of Cinnamon Teals, three Wilson’s Phalaropes (the first of the year for the entire state!), a Greater Yellowlegs, lots of Ruddy Ducks, and quite a few Eared Grebes.

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Cinnamon Teals at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Wilson’s Phalaropes at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Greater Yellowlegs at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Ruddy Duck at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Eared Grebe at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

The rarity was a drake Eurasian Wigeon, found hanging out at the southern end of the reservoir. They’re semi-regular winter visitors, with a few lingering in to the spring, but this was towards the late end of when they can be found in Idaho. I hadn’t heard any chatter about this bird, so I assumed I was the first to find it. However, a quick check of eBird records showed that it had actually first been reported a few weeks earlier by another birder, so this guy had been hanging out here for at least a few weeks.

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Eurasian Wigeon at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Eurasian Wigeon at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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Eurasian Wigeon at Mountain Home Reservoir, Elmore County. April 25, 2015.

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