At the peak of spring migration, 13 young birders, parents, and volunteers spent the morning searching the diverse habitats of Squaw Creek Park near Marion on May 7, 2016. After a brief lesson on migration and a drawing for two lucky winners of a “Sibley Guide to Birds, Eastern Region” provided by the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, we set off in search of new arrivals.
We started off the morning viewing shorebirds on a wetland area near the Red Cedar Lodge. We set up the spotting scope and were able to get great looks at five species of shorebirds including Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral, and Least Sandpipers. In addition, we saw Blue-winged Teal and a family of Mallards.
We then ventured down to a wooded area along a small stream. We were immediately greeted by views of White-crowned and Harris’s Sparrows in a mixed migrant flock, and we continued to chase this flock of birds around for the remainder of our hike. We also observed several other new arrivals including Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Eastern Towhee among many others. The keen-eyed young birders were quick to pick out many of the birds as they quickly flitted among the trees. It was a great morning to be in the woods, and we tallied 50 species on the morning!
We’re grateful to volunteer Bill Scheible for his leadership and local expertise and to Walt Wagner-Hecht for keeping our trip list, which you can view here. You can also view more photos from our trip here.