Monday, April 9, 2012

North Dakota

Wilson's Snipe
Yesterday we parked the truck at the yard in Mapleton, North Dakota and hopped in our Cadillac and headed north of Grand Forks. There was supposed to be some Greater Prairie Chickens at the Greater Prairie Chicken Management Area; along with Sharp-tailed Grouse, but to our disappointment we found none of those only a Wilson's Snipe. The snipe was a great prize but was really searching for the game birds.

As we searched for the GPC we say a Western Meadowlark land on a fence post! Great photo opportunity!

Western Meadowlark
Killdeer laying on her three eggs
Then as we noticed we were about to run out of gas we made it back to a tiny little town to the gass station only to find the gas station closed. Simon heard some sparrows off in the distance where there was a ditch filled with cattails and water. So we went over there camera in hand and I though at first this bird was dead because it was so still, but in fact it was very much alive. The Killdeer was just laying there, at first I thought she was injured and that nature would take it's course and sadly a hawk or other preditor would take care of her, but no that wouldn't happen at all she was laying on her eggs we found out later and we walked around the ditch hoping to see something new, but only House Sparrows this time. We came back to where the Killdeer was and found her walking around her nest and then we spotted her eggs! Three of them! Wow, our first time spotting a nest with eggs! It was weird out out in the open she had decided to make her nest about two feet from the cattails and where the grass gets mowed also; that worried me and I wondered if the nest would survive.
Killdeer Eggs!

We decided to find a gas station and then head back to look for GPC again. We decided to take a drive through Kelley Slough NWR but didn't see anything different; Tundra Swans, Mallards, Northern Pintails, Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, American Coot, Green-winged Teal, and Blue-winged Teals. So we headed back to the GPCMA but still no luck. So we decided to call it quits for the day and before heading back and since it was on the way we would stop at the gas station again to see if she had went back to laying on her eggs, but sadly she wasn't and I was worried that she may have abandoned her eggs because we got to close. Any ideas? But she was about 15-20 feet away when we came back and making quiet a bit of noise too. Really hope we didn't scare her off.

Here are a few pictures from Kelley Slough NWR.
Northern Pintail
Tundra Swans
Happy Birding....

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