In the eight years that I have led this trip, this has been absolutely the best showing by the Upland Sandpipers. During the three hours we spent at the Drop Zone there were almost continuous flights of Uppies. We estimated there were at least three pairs. The weather was mild but breezy. This seemed to keep many of the other grassland birds down. We did see Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and Horned Larks, but the sightings were few and far between.
It was a good day for raptors too, with sightings of Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk and Kestrel. A total of 32 species were seen during this trip.
One “surprise” bird was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which was perched very conspicuously and in good light in a tree at the parking lot where we met initially. A total of 24 members and guests participated in this field trip.
Our thanks again to our great host, John Joyce, the Conservation Officer for the Base.
And a special thanks to JoAnn Raine, who started doing these field trips over 10 years ago.