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.

Kingbird & Shorebirds

While the afternoon at Reifel started off overcast with the odd light shower, the weather did improve slightly. While fairly quiet on the visitor front, there were a couple of interesting birds around. There is still a pair of Eastern Kingbird frequenting the trees along the island as you head out towards the west dyke.

Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird

No confirmation if they are actually nesting in the area yet though.

Meanwhile in the outside ponds on the high tide were some Dowitchers, Yellowlegs …

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

… and mixed in with them was this female Wilson’s Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope
Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

I managed to get it with both a Dowitcher and Greater Yellowlegs for comparison.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

Then this solo shot to finish my time with it.

On my way back and while watching the Kingbirds for a little longer,

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

… this Dragonfly alighted on the tall grass and posed nicely for me.

To finish the day off,

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper

… was this Spotted Sandpiper in the slough adjacent to the parking lot.

Sora, Rail, Yellowlegs & Phalarope

While it was quiet on the visitor front at Reifel this afternoon, there were a couple of interesting birds around. There have been a couple of Sora this week frequenting the northwest marsh across from the tower.

Sora
Sora

Fortunately for us birders and photographers,

Sora
Sora

… they have been crossing in the open when moving between patches of reeds.

Sora
Sora

Sometimes passing right below the new viewing platform on the outside dyke.

Sora
Sora

At one point the two Sora even got into a bit of spat with each other. The Sora, like the Virginia Rail, are usually fairly secretive sticking to the reeds.

Virginia Rail
Virginia Rail

Speaking of Virginia Rail, there was also one of them in the area. Unfortunately it was not quite as cooperative as the Sora had been, but fun to see both at the same time.

In between takes on the Sora, I was also watching a mixed flock of Yellowlegs.

Lesser & Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser & Greater Yellowlegs

One thing I will try for in situations like this is to get both the Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs together for comparison purposes. On the topic comparisons,

Wilson's Phalarope & Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope & Yellowlegs

… this mixed flock of Yellowlegs also had a couple of Wilson’s Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope & Yellowlegs
Wilson’s Phalarope & Yellowlegs

So the northwest pond/marsh was the place to be this afternoon.