Kingbirds, Phalaropes & Owl

Definitely a hot one today and not many people at Reifel when I showed up to help out on the trails this afternoon. While still fairly quiet on the birding front, there were a couple of interesting sightings.

The highlight of the day was an update on the Eastern Kingbird pair that have been at the sanctuary for some time now. The question in everyone’s mind has been could they be nesting here. That got answered this morning with the nest being located in a tree at the edge of one of the little islands heading out towards the west field. The best angle is probably from the beginning of the south dyke trail looking west using a scope for viewing. While I could make it out with my camera,

Eastern Kingbird Nest
Eastern Kingbird Nest

… it is too far off for pictures. I did manage to observe them trading places on the nest while watching it for awhile this afternoon. I believe the last record of Kingbirds nesting at the sanctuary was about 15 years ago.

Last week in the outer ponds there was one Wilson’s Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

This afternoon there were three in with the Dowitchers out beyond the tower.

While there were no reports of owls from the morning walk,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… I did find one of the adult Great Horned Owls this afternoon off the east dyke trail. At the time of this photo it was watching something intently in the field below. Shortly after this shot it swooped down out of sight after what ever it was.

Owl & Swallows

A lovely summer afternoon and a moderate crowd at Reifel this afternoon when I showed up to help out on the trails. While fairly quiet on the birding front, there have been a couple of Mourning Doves and Eastern Kingbirds for a change of pace of late. The highlight for most though,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… was this Great Horned Owl along the east dyke trail. I spent a good part of the afternoon with the camera set up on it providing this view to visitors.

Meanwhile back at the Tree Swallow nest,

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

… I continue trying to get shots of the adults arriving with food for the chicks. I managed to see three juveniles in the nest at once today.

Sparrows, Owl & Rail

With the winds subsiding somewhat today I headed out as the wind chill was not going to be as bad. It kept me indoors yesterday. The trails at Reifel afford a little protection from the breeze and I started out along the east dyke.

Golden-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow

First photo op was this Golden-crowned Sparrow. At the northeast corner,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… one of the Great Horned Owls was roosting a little lower than they have been of late. Still not as low as I would like, but it was an unobstructed view. Next stop was the tower to check for the Swamp Sparrows. While there was no sign of them,

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow

… the Song Sparrows were busy foraging everywhere including scampering around on the ice. Then the bonus bird for the day,

Virginia Rail
Virginia Rail

… was this Virginia Rail scurrying around the base of the tower. I was fortunate to get this shot as most of the time I was only getting partial views. A good end to the day.