Sightings

 What are you observing?  Send your reports to praudubon@gmail.com

NEW! Sightings in Iowa- a lot of PRAS birders post their observations on this listserv and it is automatically updated. 

Curious about a bird that someone has seen? Consult the "Links" page for links to birding ID sites. Scroll down to see other local observations. Thanks.

June 30, 2022: The robins and Mourning Doves along the Cedar Valley Bike Trail witnessed me logging my final 110th mile for the Trevor Project 51 mile challenge. While we were on vacation in MN, I hiked new and familiar sections of the Superior Hiking Trail and had exceptional looks at singing Canada and Mourning Warblers--I didn't log a lot of miles for the Trevor Project with my hikes (only about 6.5 miles), but I loved the cool air, the uncrowded trails and the great wildflowers-19 new species on my lifelist...and I finally found Blue-eyed Grass! The best thing was, my sister said that my $110 donation to the Trevor Project ($1 per mile I logged) was tripled by an anonymous donor. That made me feel great and made me wish I had biked/hiked twice the distance! Participating in the Trevor Project challenge while birding, hiking and enjoying nature was a great way to spend June. - C. Havely

June 22, 2022: I have been enjoying hearing the Bell's Vireos singing along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail as I have been biking to rack up miles for the Trevor Project's 51 Mile Challenge held during Pride Month.  I have rode 101 miles so far this month and hope to finish the month by birding and hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail and seeing how many more miles I can add to my total. It will be slower going as birding and hiking will not tally a lot more miles, but I am donating $1 for every mile I complete. I think it is a very worthy cause and I am participating on my twin sister Crystal's, Trevor Project Team. - Candace Havely


Note from Kris Rash:

Hey, PRAS members,
Here is a great summer opportunity offered by our friends fromTrees
 Forever. These online webinars will help you become more familiar with 
 our native ecosystems in Iowa and why they are important to us. That 
 also means that they are important to the birds that we are so fond of.  
 Fields trips are included in the program so traveling to some cool places
 in Bremer County is part of the learning process.  There is a $25 fee for the 
 entire course. Craig and I participated in this course several years ago and 
thoroughly enjoyed it.  The first class is next week.  Don't delay.

Kris Rash


 
Register for Stewards of the Beautiful Land courses
 
Tuesday Webinars - June 14, July 12, August 9, and September 13. 6:30 to 8:00pm
 
 
Join Trees Forever this summer for our popular Stewards of the Beautiful Land course! This four-part webinar series will teach you about native plant communities, the benefits and uses of local flora, species identification, establishment and planting practices, and resources available to you and your community

 
 
In-person field days are held each month throughout the summer in Audubon, Bremer, Palo Alto, and Scott Counties.



Grundy County Report:
A Grundy County resident reported watching for the last two days, a pair of Catbirds working on a nest. The two would take turns bringing in the sticks, grass and leaves, then disappear into the raspberry brambles. Once in awhile, each bird would get a snack from the nearest ant hill and return to their work. The resident is waiting at the window with camera to watch the babies grow up!



Wednesday Morning Birding May 25, 2022 CANCELED 

We could be wrong.  It has certainly happened before, but the weather really looks to be a soggy one for tomorrow.  The area we have chosen has plenty of tall grass and a tick or two waiting for a warm body to pass by on a cool, breezy and damp day so with that in mind we have decided to cancel our last spring WMB field trip.  We were hoping to find the yellow-breasted chats again in the same location as last year, but you may have to go out and search for them yourself.  Migration is winding down for spring, 2022 but we have enjoyed spending time with all of you and look forward to our WMB when it begins again in the fall.  Keep watching for those resident nesters and become familiar with their habits as you all become better birders.

Check the web site for additional birding opportunities throughout the summer.  gopras.org

Kris and Craig Rash
 








WMB Hickory Hills Park May 18, 2022

     Twelve birders did some debating in the parking lot of Hickory Hills Park as to how many layers of clothing were necessary on this cool cloudy morning as we set out to see which migrants were still around. It turned out to be one of our best counts as we spotted 66 species in the thickening canopy with 10 of them being new for our spring WMB list which now totals 108 avian species. We got to test our birding by ear as a number of them were singing in their finest voices. The song of the wood thrush was especially music to our ears.
Join us next Wednesday at Washington-Union Access for our last scheduled Wednesday Morning Birding for spring, 2022.  See the gopras.org web site for details.
Kris and Craig Rash

Hickory Hills Park, Tama, Iowa, US
May 18, 2022 8:32 AM - 12:11 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.769 mile(s)
66 species
 
Canada Goose  9
Wood Duck  4
Blue-winged Teal  6
Mallard  2
Wild Turkey  1
Ring-necked Pheasant  1
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  5
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Turkey Vulture  5
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Barred Owl  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  1
Least Flycatcher  3
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  5
Philadelphia Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  4
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  5
House Wren  4
Gray Catbird  8
Brown Thrasher  1
Eastern Bluebird  2
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  2
House Sparrow  1
American Goldfinch  4
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Eastern Towhee  1
Eastern Meadowlark  2
Baltimore Oriole  2
Red-winged Blackbird  11
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Tennessee Warbler  6
Nashville Warbler  3
Mourning Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  3
American Redstart  5
Magnolia Warbler  9
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  6
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Blackpoll Warbler  4
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Canada Warbler  5
Wilson's Warbler  2
Scarlet Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  5
Indigo Bunting  1
Dickcissel  2
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 




Black Hawk Mitigation Field Trip May 15, 2022

     A pleasant Sunday afternoon greeted the 8 birders who met at the Black Hawk Mitigation area for our last Bird-a-thon field trip of 2022.  We've walked many miles and lifted our binoculars to our eyes numerous times in search of one more new species or just seeing something familiar once again during the week.  Warbler neck was suffered by a number of our participants.  Our Bird-a-thon grand total was one bird shy of 200 with no new species added today but we did see 53 different birds on our walk along with profuse sweet Williams (phlox) in bloom.  
We hope you enjoyed the total lunar eclipse last night. Our view was accompanied by the sounds of northern leopard frogs and barred owls.
Kris and Craig Rash

Black Hawk Mitigation - Private - restricted access, Black Hawk, Iowa, US
May 15, 2022 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.3 mile(s)
53 species
 
Canada Goose  13
Wood Duck  2
Blue-winged Teal  4
Mallard  3
Ring-necked Pheasant  1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Killdeer  1
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Turkey Vulture  4
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  2
Yellow-throated Vireo  2
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Philadelphia Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  5
Cliff Swallow  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
House Wren  5
Gray Catbird  5
Eastern Bluebird  1
Swainson's Thrush  3
American Robin  3
American Goldfinch  2
Song Sparrow  3
Eastern Towhee  1
Orchard Oriole  1
Baltimore Oriole  7
Red-winged Blackbird  12
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Common Grackle  2
Northern Waterthrush  3
Tennessee Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  8
American Redstart  5
Magnolia Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  3
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Blackpoll Warbler  2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  12
Indigo Bunting  3
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 








May 15, 2022: Digiscoped w/cellphone. CH











May 14th 2022 is World Migratory Bird Day!


Since 1993, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) has been educating the public about the importance of migratory bird conservation. Over 100 species of birds that nest in the Midwest, and many more that fly through during migration, are considered Neotropical migrants, meaning they breed in North America and spend the winter in Mexico, Central America, or South America. WMBD is a chance to celebrate our shared migratory birds across countries and continents. Each year WMBD focuses on a single theme of migratory bird conservation and in 2022 the theme is “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night”.

Black Crowned Heron

Over 80% of North America’s migratory birds migrate at night, and artificial light can impact their journey. Migrating at night has many advantages for a bird. Night skies are calmer and cooler than daytime skies which makes their very long journeys easier and lowers their risk of overheating. Nocturnal migrants are also better able to avoid predators. Many birds navigate using the stars and moon as a compass, but light pollution can interrupt this navigation. Light pollution from homes, business, sports complexes, and industrial areas often disorients birds or attracts them to the light, slowing their migration and threatening their survival. Light pollution is especially dangerous because it causes many birds to collide with buildings during migration, resulting in hundreds of millions of bird fatalities in North America each year. Light pollution is increasing by 2% each year, but citizens and their communities can help reduce light pollution and in turn protect migrating birds.


Here are a few actions you can take to reduce light pollution and protect migratory birds:

  1. Turn off non-essential nighttime lights and use timers or motion detectors on essential lights to keep the usage to a minimum. (This helps save energy and money too!)
  2. Changing the color of your lights from cool (green and blue) to warm (red and yellow) has been shown to reduce disturbances to migrating birds. (Tip: Light color is measured in kelvins- the lower the number, the warmer the light.)
  3. Diverting lights downwards using lighting shields can help stop excess light from leaking into the night sky.
  4. Talk with your local government officials and community organizations and businesses about light ordinances or ways to reduce light pollution as a community, especially during spring and fall migration times.
  5. Visit https://www.audubon.org/lights-out-program to learn more!

This year (2022), World Migratory Bird Day takes place in the U.S. and Canada on May 14th during the peak of spring migration and is celebrated in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean on October 8th during fall migration. To learn more about World Migratory Bird Day and associated events visit www.migratorybirdday.org

Light Pollution Poster
Bird-a-Thon Field Trip May 14, 2022

Fifteen birders representing Prairie Rapids Audubon Society participated in World Migratory Bird Day as we set out for our day long birding at Sweet Marsh in Bremer County.  Nearly perfect weather provided us with a great experience as we saw and heard a total of 106 species.

Sweet Marsh WMA, Bremer, Iowa, US
May 14, 2022 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:    PRAS birding for World Migration Day: Francis Moore leader
106 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose  6
Trumpeter Swan  3
Wood Duck  1
Blue-winged Teal  4
Northern Shoveler  1
Gadwall  1
Mallard  8
Green-winged Teal  2
Hooded Merganser  1
Wild Turkey  3
Ring-necked Pheasant  4    heard
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Mourning Dove  2
Chimney Swift  6
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Sora  6    saw 2
American Coot  25
Sandhill Crane  7
Semipalmated Plover  1
Killdeer  6
Hudsonian Godwit  2
Dunlin  2
Least Sandpiper  1
White-rumped Sandpiper  10    in flight
Pectoral Sandpiper  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  1
Spotted Sandpiper  8
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Lesser Yellowlegs  6
Forster's Tern  2
Double-crested Cormorant  1
American White Pelican  20
Great Blue Heron  3
Green Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  5
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  2
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Barred Owl  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
American Kestrel  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Willow Flycatcher  1
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill's Flycatcher)  2
Least Flycatcher  3
Empidonax sp.  6
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  4
Eastern Kingbird  2
Yellow-throated Vireo  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  5
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  5
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
House Wren  6
Sedge Wren  1
Marsh Wren  1
European Starling  3
Gray Catbird  5
Brown Thrasher  2
Veery  1    at Diane Newman's home
Swainson's Thrush  1
American Robin  3
Cedar Waxwing  1
House Sparrow  3
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  4
Chipping Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  3
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  2
Bobolink  4
Eastern Meadowlark  1
Orchard Oriole  1
Baltimore Oriole  6
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
Common Grackle  1
Northern Waterthrush  2
Tennessee Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  4
American Redstart  6
Cape May Warbler  1
Bay-breasted Warbler  2
Blackburnian Warbler  4
Yellow Warbler  8
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Blackpoll Warbler  10
Wilson's Warbler  1
Scarlet Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  6
Indigo Bunting  4


Friday afternoon May 13, 2002  field trip at Riverview Park, Waterloo

     An afternoon field trip for Bird-a-Thon week took place at Riverview Park in Waterloo with eight birders in attendance. A highlight was spotting an adult Barred Owl and then locating her two fledglings perched in separate trees. They seemed to enjoy watching us as much as we did them.

Riverview RA, Black Hawk, Iowa, US
May 13, 2022 4:00-6:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:  PRAS Bird-A-Thon Field Trip
54 Species
Canada Goose  2
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  4
Killdeer  2
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Barred Owl  3
Red-headed Woodpecker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Willow Flycatcher  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Yellow-throated Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  4
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  5
Bank Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
House Wren  1
European Starling  6
Gray Catbird  1
Brown Thrasher  1
Swainson's Thrush  2
American Robin  2
Cedar Waxwing  1
House Sparrow  1
American Goldfinch  5
Song Sparrow  2
Baltimore Oriole  4
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Common Grackle  1
Tennessee Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  2
American Redstart  4
Blackburnian Warbler  4
Yellow Warbler  1
Blackpoll Warbler  2
Northern Cardinal  1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Indigo Bunting  3
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 

Wednesday Morning Birding, May 11  8:30 AM Lower Hartman Reserve, Waterloo

     The weather decided to take an abrupt turn and head directly into summer as 14 birders braved heat and humidity for our May 11th birding of Lower Hartman Reserve. Fortunately, the birds were out foraging for breakfast in large numbers as we counted 53 species along the trails. Our spring total has reached 98 species with 29 new birds to our checklist on this day. Several birders added new birds to their life lists with migrants being prominent on our count. Check the gopras.org website for more field trip opportunities for the remainder of the week. 

Hartman Reserve Shirey Way trail, Black Hawk, Iowa, US

May 11, 2022, 8:30-11:00 AM
Protocol:  Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:  PRAS Wednesday Morning Field Trip Birding
53 species

Canada Goose 6
Mallard 2
Wild Turkey 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 8
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downey Woodpecker 4
Peregrine Falcon 1
Least Flycatcher 2
Great-crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 3
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
House Wren 4
Gray Catbird 2
Eastern Bluebird 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 3
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Baltimore Oriole 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Common Grackle 1
Ovenbird 2
Northern Waterthrush 1
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Tennessee Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 3
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3
Indigo Bunting 3

Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip.


PRAS Participation in Bremer County Field Day,  Tuesday May 10, 2022

Alcock County Park, Bremer, Iowa, US
May 10, 2022 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
Protocol:  Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:  Bremer County 5th Grade Field Day:  PRAS Supported
42 Species

Mallard 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Common Nighthawk 1
Chimney Swift 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Sandhill Crane 1
American White Pelican 120   Flying overhead: 4 groups
Turkey Vulture 5
Cooper's Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 4
Gray Catbird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
American Robin 2
American Goldfinch 12
Chipping Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 2
Baltimore Oriole 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 4
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3




Monday, May 9:  4:00 PM.  PRAS birding at Greenbelt Lake, Waterloo.
Fifteen birders came out for this Monday afternoon field trip to support our Bird-a-Thon week at Martin Lake in Waterloo. Our group sighted 49 species of which 9 were new to our checklist for the week:

Martin Lake (Greenbelt Lake), Black Hawk, Iowa, US
May 9, 2022 4:00-6:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments: PRAS Bird-a-Thon
Field Trip
49 species

Canada Goose 3
Wood Duck 2
Mallard 2
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
American Coot 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 3
Green Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Great Horned Owl 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downey Woodpecker 5
Willow Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Tree Swallow 10
Barn Swallow 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 12
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
Gray Catbird 2
Brown Thrasher 3
American Robin 5
House Sparrow 1
American Goldfinch 1
Chipping Sparrow 6
White-throated Sparrow 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Red-winged Blackbird 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
Black-and-white Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 2
Cape May Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip!

April 27, 2022: Wednesday Morning Birding: Fourteen birders were eager to bird Martin Lake today after two weeks of cancelled field trips.  While the wind was still bringing in cool temperatures the sun helped brighten our moods.  We sighted 44 species today bringing our total spring count to 53 birds.  We added 23 new birds to that count on today's hike with a young great horned owl in its nest being a highlight.  An unusual sighting was a flock of migrating pelicans flying overhead with a lone sandhill crane tagging along. Join us next Wednesday on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail at the Gilbertville Depot.  Check the web site for details. -- Kris and Craig Rash

Martin Lake (Greenbelt Lake), Black Hawk, Iowa, US
Apr 27, 2022 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning Birding
44 species
 
Canada Goose  6
Wood Duck  2
Blue-winged Teal  12
Mallard  4
Wild Turkey  3
Mourning Dove  2
American Coot  1
Sandhill Crane  1
Solitary Sandpiper  2
Lesser Yellowlegs  3
American White Pelican  36
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  2
Bald Eagle  2
Great Horned Owl  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  10
Tree Swallow  50
Barn Swallow  10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  5
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Wren  1
Gray Catbird  1
Brown Thrasher  1
American Robin  9
Purple Finch  8
White-throated Sparrow  15
Song Sparrow  4
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Common Grackle  1
Northern Waterthrush  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  3
Palm Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  8
Northern Cardinal  2

Soaring American White Pelicans - Greenbelt Lake    Photo by John McCormick


April 6, 2022:  Wednesday Morning Birding:  Our first outing of Spring 2022 attracted 13 people to Big Woods Lake in Cedar Falls. We stayed on wooded trails to get some protection from the ever-present April winds. Many of the birds we saw were year-round residents but others were making their presence known as they make their way North after spending the Winter in warmer climates. 

Join us next week, April 13, at Riverview Recreation Area (Mitchell Ave. sand pits) and Harold Getty Lake on East Mitchell Ave. in Waterloo. Kris and Craig Rash

Big Woods Lake, Black Hawk, Iowa, US
April 6, 2022 8:30-10:30 AM
Protocol:  Traveling
1.9 miles
Checklist Comments:  PRAS Wednesday morning birding field trip
30 species

Canada Goose  6
Wood Duck  7
Mallard  4
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Wild Turkey  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Mourning Dove  1
Double-crested Cormorant  27
American White Pelican  16
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  2
Barred Owl  1 
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tree Swallow  8
Golden-crowned Kinglet  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Brown Creeper  1
European Starling  8
American Robin  10
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Common Grackle  4
Northern Cardinal  1

Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip.

March 1, 2022: A Long-eared Owl was seen at a private residence in Cedar Falls. Chip Schmidt is graciously willing to have folks come by to get a glimpse of the owl, but please call if you would like to see this bird. Mr. Schmidt may be reached at 319-four04-five60seven. As always, please be respectful of private property when visiting a location.

February 23, 2022: At 11:00 this morning a flock of about 15 White-winged Crossbills were working over cones in Norway Spruce trees a short way NE of the Bison parking lot at Hickory Hills Park in Tama Co. (managed by Black Hawk Co. Conservation).

It was a life bird for my walking companion Chuck and bird number 206 for the park.  Only 9 other birds seen during our cold but pleasant easy walk on the dry and quiet roads. 

Also 3 young bald eagles at a carcass in the yard of the first house (blue) north of the park entrance.

Eye cups on Binoculars work well to catch snot when you don’t have a hanky.  (Murphy’s law when you are looking at crossbills during the winter).

Tom Schilke - Waterloo

January 30, 2022: A Short-eared Owl being mobbed by a small group of crows was the bird of the day on our winter raptor survey route east of Gilbertville. The owl was seen in the area just 1/2 mile or so south of Brandon Road on Garling Rd. We saw the bird around 12:30 p.m.  We did three winter raptor surveys over the weekend and the Bald Eagle was the species most recorded. A Rough-legged Hawk, Red-tails that look to be pairing up and kestrels were also observed. Plus, we saw 19 Ring-necked Pheasants in the field adjacent to Irvine Prairie. If you have not visited Irvine Prairie it is on 55th St, accessed off 11th or 13th Avenue in Benton County. It is managed by the Tallgrass Prairie Center and has this beautiful silo that is on the farmstead across the road from the prairie. - CH

Silo at farmstead across from Irvine Prairie. Photo by C. Havely



January 24, 2022: Yesterday I observed a HOARY REDPOLL feeling in a white birch tree , with 3 REDPOLLS. It was a very pale frosty individual. Key field marks were, clean undertail coverts and rump. It really stood out like a sore thumb! This is in Laporte City on right side of 2nd St, between highway 218 and Locust St.  - Tommy S.

Common Redpolls are also being seen in the Cedar Valley, so check out all the birds at your feeder and maybe you'll discover you have a visitor from the north to!


Mid-January, 2022: Common Redpolls are being seen at local feeders, so be on the lookout for these great little birds.

Also a single Yellow Rumped Warbler (yes, you read that correctly!) is being seen foraging in the cedar trees that are near the ski hill at Hickory Hills in Tama County. (Hint: Park at the archery shelter parking lot and walk north following the trail and you will come to the very evident ski hill.)

January 19, 2022: A first-year White Crowned Sparrow was an unfortunate window strike victim today. A good samaritan colleague tried to rescue the bird and called me; however, unfortunately the bird succumbed to its injuries. I did get to examine this bird up close and was able to see the striping on the bird's back and the buffy stripe on the crown, field marks that are not always easy to see. CH

January 18, 2022: Four males and 1 female Eastern Bluebirds were seen during our members semi-annual Climate Watch bird surveys. The Climate Watch survey protocol has one do a 5 minute stationary survey at 12 different points/locations on your route. All birds are recorded, but target species are bluebirds, goldfinch and nuthatches. Citizen scientists survey the same 12 points twice per year (in Jan/Feb and May/June). Photos by Tom Moon.






January 9, 2022: A Snowy Owl was seen by Becky Manship today in Grundy County North of Beaman.  One or two Snowy Owls have been in this area for around two weeks.  From L Ave. and 290th which is north of Beaman, go South about 1/2 mile.  The Snowy Owl was along the South side of a fenceline to the East. 

January 8, 2022: A few Snow Buntings were spotted in rural Benton County (south of 56th Ave on 13th Ave (V40) during a Winter Raptor Survey. Raptors were few and far between, but the buntings were cool. - CH

December 26, 2021: A Snowy Owl was seen again today by PRAS member Lyle Neher on a fence post on the same highway as earlier this week at 26505 K Ave. in Grundy County.  It has been seen only twice this week.  Plenty of bag birds, too.  Tom Schilke - Waterloo

Here is a newspaper article printed about Lyle's sighting: https://www.sun-courier.com/news/local-news/2022/01/06/owl-of-a-sudden-its-an-irruption/

Snowy Owls have been sighted in Buchanan County in the last couple weeks as well; see information below. Click on the "Sightings in Iowa" link above to see postings throughout the state for Snowy Owls; several have been seen in Story, Tama, Marshall, & Allamakee counties. Other bird sightings of possible interest can also been seen on this link; these are observations that are submitted to the Iowa Ornithologists' Union listserv.


December 11, 2021: Snowy Owl - Buchanan County - From e-bird: (Links may not work). 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
- Reported Dec 11, 2021 11:55 by Wendy VanDeWalle 🦩
- 1207 First St W, Independence US-IA 42.46689, -91.90839, Buchanan, Iowa
- Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=42.466887,-91.908389&ll=42.466887,-91.908389
- Checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S98759227
- Media: 2 Photos
- Comments: "Large white owl with black marks on top of  building.  First seen by Dan Cohen"


November 27, 2021: Those of you with binoculars can see the Pleiades in the eastern sky and often you can see Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons pretty well via binoculars. Through your spotting scope you get great looks at these, plus see Venus which is in a crescent stage right now--beautiful! Saturn is also still visible via the spotting scope. You can also just enjoy the night sky sans optics; let your eyes adjust to the dark and you may also spy some lingering Leonid meteors. - C.H.

November 26, 2021: This afternoon, my son and I located a SAW-WHET OWL about 25 feet up in a pine tree, at Cedar River Natural Resource area, near Washburn. The agitated Chickadees, Cardinals and Blue Jay's, alerted us to the location. Yesterday I saw a GOLDEN EAGLE at George Wyth SP. And I had a GRAY CATBIRD in my crab apple tree. T. S., Waterloo

November 19, 2021: My walk around Big Woods Lake was delayed this afternoon when I saw 12 Trumpeter Swans in the lake.  Certainly a beautiful sight on a cold November day! - S.G. 

Trumpeter Swans - Big Woods Lake  Photo by Scott Garrett


The 3 a.m. November 19, 2021 nearly full lunar eclipse was pretty cool to see. The reddish hue of the moon and the slight brightness was viewable with the naked eye, but it was pretty spectacular viewed through binoculars and the spotting scope!  It was cold, but clear and worth setting the alarm clock for! The Pleiades was just to the upper right of the moon and beautiful to witness via optics as well. - CH


November 7, 2021: This is not a sighting in our service area, nor even Iowa, but yet is apropos if you have already read PRAS President, Tom Schilke's column in the RedTail newsletter, titled, "The Most Ever". I was in Wyoming for the last week and I had a "most ever" experience yesterday when I was driving home to Iowa. I stayed in Kearney, Nebraska Saturday night and my sister sent me an Instagram post saying to be on the watch for Whooping Cranes traveling through Nebraska for fall migration. So Sunday morning I decided to stop at a sight west of Grand Island where we have seen a Whooping Crane who regularly hangs out with the Sandhills, but there was not one Whooping Crane....there were 40-45 Whooping Cranes on the sandbar in the river. I counted 39-43 in the video I digiscoped; I had seen 2 WHCR fly to the field behind the river, so they are not visible in the video. It was unbelievable!! There was a family on the bridge who said a DNR person was there earlier in the morning and had counted 45 WHCR as well. Seeing this many (5 were juveniles!!) is about equivalent to me witnessing 9% of the wild flock which now numbers around 504. The total population of Whooping Cranes on the earth is roughly 800 (including the wild, reintroduced and non-migratory flocks as well as captive birds). Experiencing this brought me to tears actually...I will never likely witness such a sight again! It made me appreciate the conservation of this species, as in 1941 there were just 15 Whooping Cranes on this planet. I didn't get great photos/video as the light was not in my favor and the birds were quite a distance away, but the video is good enough to show the spectacle. As the birds started to disperse to the surrounding fields, they started calling...best morning of birding ever! I just had to share...it is not every day you get to see an endangered species, let alone such a significant number of these magnificent birds. - CH




November 3, 2021: Not a bird sighting per se, but like birding, you can enjoy stargazing no matter where you are in the world. My Mom and I found a dark corner in the wide open space of SE Wyoming and I got the Pleiades in the spotting scope and my Mom said, "Oh wow!"... Wow indeed! David's In the Sky columns have been a perennial favorite of PRAS members, but for me and my sister, sharing the sights of the night sky with our Mom has become a special routine for us and we look forward to David's column each month. - CH

October 6, 2021: A cloudy but pleasant morning was enjoyed by 10 PRAS birders along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail beginning at the Gilbertville Depot.  A variety of species were sited with migrant and resident birds among the mix.  We also observed several interesting plants and fungi currently in their prime.  Since future WMB have not been planned, the group decided that we would bird George Wyth State Park next Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 8:30.  Meet at the kiosk at the park entrance.  

Cedar Valley Nature Trail off Washburn, Black Hawk, Iowa, US

Oct 6, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2.0 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning birding

33 species


Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2

Mourning Dove  2

Killdeer  1

Great Blue Heron  1

Sharp-shinned Hawk  2

Belted Kingfisher  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  11

Downy Woodpecker  9

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted x Red-shafted)  5

Blue Jay  2

American Crow  2

Black-capped Chickadee  3

Tree Swallow  31

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  5

Golden-crowned Kinglet  2

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

House Wren  1

Gray Catbird  2

American Robin  16

House Sparrow  5

House Finch  1

American Goldfinch  19

Lark Sparrow  1

American Tree Sparrow  2

Dark-eyed Junco  1

Song Sparrow 1

White-crowned Sparrow  2

White-throated Sparrow  11

Orange-crowned Warbler  2

Yellow-rumped Warbler  2

Northern Cardinal  7
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 

September 26, 2021: I received information about a Varied Thrush - female, that showed up today at Calkins Nature Area on 135th Street about three miles west of Iowa Falls in Hardin County.  A photo and record of it has been recorded on e-bird. 

It can be viewed from the nature center building looking from windows facing west.  It has been seen on the ground at the bird feeding area.

The building is open 8 to 4 daily.  The grounds are open sunrise to sunset.  A number of years ago the IOU held one of our meetings there.  Since that time a major addition and other improvements have been added.  The center houses  extensive Native American and fossil exhibits, a clam display, large aquarium, and plenty of interpretation.  Trails wind through prairie and woodlands down to the Iowa River.  It is a nice place to visit.  A snowy Owl has just been added to the live animal area. -- Tom Schilke - Waterloo

September 15, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding - 34 species seen at lower Hartman Reserve.

September 11, 2021: All the Chimney Swifts seem to be at this site in Waterloo! Park in the lot at the Boys & Girls Club and look at the chimney across the street at Walnut Court Apartments, off E. 3rd street. At least 1000+ swifts started entering the chimney about 7:15 p.m. 

September 8, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding

Sep 8, 2021 8:45 AM - 11:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.1 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning birding
46 species
 
Canada Goose  2
Wood Duck  1
Blue-winged Teal  2
Wild Turkey  1
Mourning Dove  6
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Killdeer  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Merlin  1
Olive-sided Flycatcher  3
Eastern Wood-Pewee  8
Least Flycatcher  4
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Wren  1
European Starling  200
Gray Catbird  6
Eastern Bluebird  1
Swainson's Thrush  1
American Robin  6
Cedar Waxwing  2
American Goldfinch  5
Song Sparrow  1
Baltimore Oriole  1
Ovenbird  2
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  2
American Redstart  2
Northern Cardinal  2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2

PRAS Birders   Photo by Charlene Heiar



September 3, 2021: At 7:20 p.m. Sep. 3rd in the misty rain, chimney swifts were already pouring into a large chimney at Walnut court Apartments in downtown Waterloo off E. 3rd street a block or so from Two Scoops Ice Cream shop.  I counted about 460 in less than a half hour.  There could be twice that many.  A good view can be had from the parking lot at the Boys and Girls Club across the street. -Tom Schilke

September 1, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding Returns! 51 species seen plus a Red-eyed Vireo, see photo below by John McCormick, plus bonus photo of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, also by John McCormick.





August 31, 2021: A Philadelphia Vireo, Osprey and 2 Green Herons were the notable birds at Hickory Hills, Tama County.

August 30, 2021: This evening just before sunset I found 2 buff-breasted sandpipers at Oleson Sod Farm just west of Cedar Falls along Hearst Rd. just north of Ridgeway.  Although I have checked this location often in July and August for many years, this is only the second time that I have found this species at this location. -A.B.

The best find on a hike tonight was this small group of Orange Mycena. The Indian Pipes are also out in force. - CH





August 29, 2021: My best bird of the day was a Veery, which I ID'd by its "Veer" call note. The Merlin Sound ID corroborated my identification. The other great sightings of the day were not avian in nature. Being out in nature makes me happy...there is so much to learn and observe! - CH

White-banded Crab Spider sitting on Common Sneezeweed just waiting for a pollinator to come by. 

Super cool fungi are out because of the recent rain- Coral-pink Merulius.


August 21, 2021: A juvenile Great Horned Howl was doing its begging call while I was out star gazing. The night air was cool and you could clearly see all 4 moons of Jupiter's moons and the stripes on Jupiter through a spotting scope. The full moon was lovely and bright as well. I also found Saturn through the scope and you could see its rings--so cool! (I used trees on the horizon to guide me to locate it). These planets should continue to be visible for a while longer. Look low in the eastern sky about 45 minutes after sunset--Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky. Saturn is usually to the right of Jupiter - I look for a star that looks a bit elongated to find Saturn. - C.H.

August 18, 2021: We are in Cedar County near the cedar River and I80. We frequently have geese, heron, egrets, blue winged teal, and wood ducks on our pond.  However this week we have had two cormorants visiting! - L.G.




August 4, 2021: A Blue Grosbeak was seen at  Geo. Wyth SP; east of the playground by the brush piles. It was very cooperative.

August 1, 2021: An early morning bike ride on the Cedar Valley Trail yielded a Barred Owl sighting. Plus, there are beautiful Indigo Buntings that often fly alongside you over the trail. One bunting had a noticeable patch of white on its back; it reminds me of the leucistic Indigo Bunting that was sighted along the trail a number of years ago.

July 21, 2021: Butler County Rare Bird: Western Grebe seen on the Allison sewer ponds (private property). Bird is visible from the cemetery side. Bird was also seen on the morning of July 24th, so it has been sticking around.

July 20, 2021: Summer Tanager observed on private property in the vicinity near the Cedar Valley Nature Trail between Gilbertville and LaPorte City.

June 2, 2021: Our spring birding ended on a great note with a spectacular day on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail at Gilbertville.  Fifteen birders identified 46 species.  Two of these, the Sandhill Crane and the Bell's Vireo, were new to our Wednesday birding list bringing our total to 119 species for our nine field trips.  Migration has been completed for our area and summer resident birds are now busy nesting. 

Fields trips will begin again in September with the fall migration. Thanks to everyone that attended.  
Craig and Kris Rash

Cedar Valley Nature Trail off Washburn, Black Hawk, Iowa, US

Jun 2, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Our spring birding ended on a great note with a spectacular day on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail at Gilbertville.  Fifteen birders identified 46 species.  Two of these, the Sandhill Crane and the Bell's Vireo, were new to our Wednesday birding list bringing our total to 119 species for our nine field trips.  Migration has been completed for our area and summer resident birds are now busy nesting.
Fields trips will begin again in September with the fall migration. Thanks to everyone that attended.  
Craig and Kris Rash

Cedar Valley Nature Trail off Washburn, Black Hawk, Iowa, US

Jun 2, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2.0 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesdaymorning birding

46 species


Mallard  1

Mourning Dove  2

Yellow-billed Cuckoo  6

Black-billed Cuckoo  2

Sandhill Crane  2    heard

Killdeer  2

Turkey Vulture  4

Red-tailed Hawk  1

Red-headed Woodpecker  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  2

Eastern Wood-Pewee  1

Eastern Phoebe  1

Eastern Kingbird  2

Bell's Vireo  5    3 at Gazebo  2 along trail

Warbling Vireo  2

Blue Jay  2

American Crow  1

Black-capped Chickadee  1

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2

Tree Swallow  8

Barn Swallow  2

Cliff Swallow  2

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

House Wren  3

Gray Catbird  5

Brown Thrasher  1

American Robin  1

Cedar Waxwing  5

House Sparrow  1

American Goldfinch  1

Chipping Sparrow  1

Field Sparrow  1

Song Sparrow  1

Eastern Meadowlark  1

Orchard Oriole  2

Baltimore Oriole  3

Red-winged Blackbird  4

Brown-headed Cowbird  2

Common Grackle  1

Common Yellowthroat  6

American Redstart  1

Yellow Warbler  2

Northern Cardinal  2

Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1

Indigo Bunting  3

Dickcissel 5

May 31, 2021: Singing Bell's Vireo just about 1/2 mile south of Gilbertville Depot on the right side of the trail. Look for the area on the east side of the trail with the little metal huts for the cows are and then there is a freshly planted cornfield...in the area where the cornfield ends as you go south is where the Bell's Vireo was seen and heard in the shrubs along west side of the trail. Time was about 7:00 p.m. last night. - CH

May 26, 2021: A beautiful morning for birding greeted 16 PRAS members at Washington Union Access in Black Hawk County.  We added 6 new species to our Wednesday count for a running total of 117 species.  A couple of yellow-breasted chats really made our hike worthwhile.   

Join us next week at the Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Gilbertville at the Depot (E. Washburn Rd.) for our last spring birding field trip.  Note the change of location!

Washington Access Trail , Black Hawk, Iowa, US

May 26, 2021 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2.3 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning Birding at Washington Union Access

50 species


Canada Goose  4

Ring-necked Pheasant  1

Wild Turkey  1

Mourning Dove  1

Yellow-billed Cuckoo  5

Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1

Great Blue Heron  1

Turkey Vulture  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  1

Red-tailed Hawk  1

Barred Owl  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  2

Downy Woodpecker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  1

Eastern Wood-Pewee  2

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  1

Alder Flycatcher  4

Willow Flycatcher  2

Least Flycatcher  1

Eastern Phoebe  1

Great Crested Flycatcher  2

Eastern Kingbird  2

Yellow-throated Vireo  1

Red-eyed Vireo  2

Blue Jay  1

American Crow  6

Black-capped Chickadee  3

Cliff Swallow  5

White-breasted Nuthatch  1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1

House Wren  1

European Starling  1

Gray Catbird  1

American Robin  1

Cedar Waxwing  1

American Goldfinch  3

Field Sparrow  2

Lark Sparrow  1

Song Sparrow  2

Yellow-breasted Chat  2

Baltimore Oriole  3

Red-winged Blackbird  3

Brown-headed Cowbird  3

Common Grackle  2

Common Yellowthroat  7

Yellow Warbler  1

Chestnut-sided Warbler  1

Northern Cardinal  1

Indigo Bunting  2

Dickcissel  1

May 19, 2021: Although rain was in the forecast we were fortunate to avoid the showers for our entire event but the weather may have played a part in bringing good birding to our group of 14 birders.  We sighted 70 species on this day.  Twenty-four of those birds were new to our list of Wednesday morning birds bringing our total thus far to 111 species in our first seven weeks.  Great job, birders!

We'll see you next week at Washington/Union Access on Cedar Wapsi Rd.  Check the website for directions: gopras.org

Hickory Hills Park Tama County, Tama, Iowa, US


May 19, 2021 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM


Protocol: Traveling


1.75 mile(s)


Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning birding of Hickory Hills Park


70 species

Canada Goose  4


Blue-winged Teal  1


Mallard  2


Pied-billed Grebe  1    heard


Mourning Dove  1


Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2


Black-billed Cuckoo  2    heard


Common Nighthawk  1


Chimney Swift  4


Killdeer  1


Spotted Sandpiper  1


Great Blue Heron  1


Green Heron  1


Turkey Vulture  6


Broad-winged Hawk  1


Red-tailed Hawk  1


Barred Owl  1


Red-bellied Woodpecker  2


Pileated Woodpecker  1


Eastern Wood-Pewee  6


Alder Flycatcher  1


Willow Flycatcher  1


Least Flycatcher  1


Eastern Phoebe  2


Great Crested Flycatcher  3


Eastern Kingbird  2


Warbling Vireo  1


Red-eyed Vireo  2


Blue Jay  2


American Crow  2


Black-capped Chickadee  1


Tree Swallow  3


Barn Swallow  2


Cliff Swallow  1


White-breasted Nuthatch  1


House Wren  3


Sedge Wren  1


Gray Catbird  2


Brown Thrasher  2


Swainson's Thrush  2


Wood Thrush  1


American Robin  1


House Sparrow  1


American Goldfinch  1


Song Sparrow  1


Eastern Meadowlark  2


Orchard Oriole  1


Baltimore Oriole  4


Red-winged Blackbird  6


Common Grackle  6


Ovenbird  1


Northern Waterthrush  2


Golden-winged Warbler  2


Tennessee Warbler  2


Mourning Warbler  1


Common Yellowthroat  4


American Redstart  14


Northern Parula  2


Magnolia Warbler  1


Bay-breasted Warbler  2


Blackburnian Warbler  1


Yellow Warbler  3


Chestnut-sided Warbler  3


Canada Warbler  2


Wilson's Warbler  1


Scarlet Tanager  1


Northern Cardinal  3


Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4


Indigo Bunting  1


Dickcissel  1



May 12, 2021: Three new species were added to our total count of 90 birds for our Wednesday morning birding as 22 birders enjoyed a beautiful day at Robertson Bird Sanctuary in Waterloo. We'll see you next week at Hickory Hills Park in Tama County.

Robertson Bird Sanctuary, Black Hawk, Iowa, US

May 12, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.2 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning birding

31 species


Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1

Turkey Vulture  2

Bald Eagle  1

Red-headed Woodpecker  2

Red-bellied Woodpecker  2

Great Crested Flycatcher  4

Yellow-throated Vireo  1

Blue Jay  2

Black-capped Chickadee  2

Red-breasted Nuthatch  1    heard and seen

White-breasted Nuthatch  1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3

House Wren  4

Gray-cheeked Thrush  1

Swainson's Thrush  2

American Robin  3

House Sparrow  1

American Goldfinch  1

White-throated Sparrow  1

Baltimore Oriole  1

Red-winged Blackbird  2

Brown-headed Cowbird  2

Black-and-white Warbler  2

Tennessee Warbler  1

Nashville Warbler  1

American Redstart  5

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  2

Scarlet Tanager  1    in parking lot

Northern Cardinal  2

Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4

Indigo Bunting  4

May 8, 2021: GLOBAL BIG DAY 
Eleven rugged individuals braved cold winds blowing across Sweet Marsh on World Migratory Bird Day as we tallied 92 species for our Birdathon count.  The winds probably kept bird numbers down a bit compared to previous years but highlights included a Golden Eagle and excellent looks of a Sora and comparative views of a Lesser Yellowlegs and a Solitary Sandpiper.  Joining our fellow birders in person over an actual meal after this year of Covid was a welcome gathering for all of us.
Today is the final day of Birdathon.  Check the master list on the gopras.org (currently our count stands at 176 species) web site to see if you have sighted anything to add.  Thank you to all who have participated.
Sweet Marsh WMA, Bremer, Iowa, US

May 8, 2021 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Protocol: Traveling

6.8 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS annual Sweet Marsh field trip for World Bird Migration Day led by Francis Moore

92 species


Canada Goose  6

Trumpeter Swan  2

Wood Duck  6

Blue-winged Teal  20

Northern Shoveler  8

Gadwall  2

Mallard  6

Green-winged Teal  1

Ruddy Duck  1

Ring-necked Pheasant  6    all heard

Pied-billed Grebe  6

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2

Eurasian Collared-Dove  1

Mourning Dove  1

Sora  3

American Coot  40

Sandhill Crane  1

Killdeer  5

Dunlin  4

Least Sandpiper  6

Pectoral Sandpiper  2

Spotted Sandpiper  6

Solitary Sandpiper  1

Greater Yellowlegs  5

Willet  1

Lesser Yellowlegs  8

Ring-billed Gull  11

American White Pelican  1

Least Bittern  1    heard  east side of lower lake

Great Blue Heron  1

Great Egret  13

Green Heron  3

Turkey Vulture  2

Golden Eagle  1

Bald Eagle  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  1

Red-tailed Hawk  2

Barred Owl  1

Belted Kingfisher  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  3

Downy Woodpecker  1

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1

Least Flycatcher  2

Eastern Phoebe  1

Great Crested Flycatcher  2

Warbling Vireo  1

Blue Jay  2

American Crow  1

Black-capped Chickadee  2

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1

Tree Swallow  8

Barn Swallow  6

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1

House Wren  1

Sedge Wren  2

Marsh Wren  1

European Starling  1

Gray Catbird  1

Brown Thrasher  1

Swainson's Thrush  1

American Robin  5

House Sparrow  2

American Goldfinch  4

Chipping Sparrow  5

Clay-colored Sparrow  1

Lark Sparrow  1

Harris's Sparrow  1

White-throated Sparrow  12

Song Sparrow  4

Lincoln's Sparrow  2

Swamp Sparrow  8

Eastern Towhee  1

Baltimore Oriole  2

Red-winged Blackbird  30

Brown-headed Cowbird  8

Common Grackle  2

Northern Waterthrush  2

Golden-winged Warbler  1

Black-and-white Warbler  1

Tennessee Warbler  1

Common Yellowthroat  4

American Redstart  1

Yellow Warbler  2

Palm Warbler  12

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  20

Black-throated Green Warbler  1

Northern Cardinal  2

Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 

May 7, 2021: In support of Birdathon week we scheduled a field trip to the North Cedar Resource Project in Cedar Falls, one of three Bird Friendly Communities in our service area, at 4:00 p.m.  Five birders sighted 24 species on this cool, windy afternoon.  Our next event will be tomorrow morning at Sweet Marsh beginning at 7:30 in celebration of  World Migratory Bird Day.  Hope to see you there.

North Cedar Natural Resource Project, Black Hawk, Iowa, US


May 7, 2021 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM


Protocol: Traveling


1.0 mile(s)


Checklist Comments:    PRAS field supporting Bird-A-Thon


24 species



Canada Goose  2


Wood Duck  1


Mourning Dove  2


Turkey Vulture  1


Red-shouldered Hawk  1


Broad-winged Hawk  1


Least Flycatcher  1


Eastern Phoebe  2


Black-capped Chickadee  6


White-breasted Nuthatch  3


European Starling  5


Gray Catbird  1


American Robin  2


House Sparrow  1


House Finch  1


White-throated Sparrow  1


Baltimore Oriole  1


Red-winged Blackbird  6


Black-and-white Warbler  2


Palm Warbler  3


Yellow-rumped Warbler  4


Northern Cardinal  2


Rose-breasted Grosbeak  5


House Wren  1



May 5, 2021: It was beautiful weather for the 19 birders that joined our group this day as we identified 47 species by sight and song.  As this event occurs during our annual Birdathon fundraising event which began on May 3rd, three of these birds will be added to our ongoing tally bringing our total to date of 127 species.  Please join us Friday at North Cedar Resource Project at 4:00 in Cedar Falls and Saturday at 7:30 at Sweet Marsh, Tripoli, for more great birding during Birdathon!  See the web site for details.  gopras.org

Next Wednesday we'll see you at Robinson(Robertson?) Bird Sanctuary in Waterloo.


Hartman Reserve:Shirey way trail, Black Hawk, Iowa, US


May 5, 2021 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM


Protocol: Traveling


1.8 mile(s)


Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning Birding for May 5


47 species


Canada Goose  4


Wood Duck  2


Blue-winged Teal  6


Mallard  4


Wild Turkey  2


Spotted Sandpiper  2


Turkey Vulture  1


Cooper's Hawk  1


Broad-winged Hawk  1


Red-bellied Woodpecker  2


Downy Woodpecker  4


Least Flycatcher  1


Great Crested Flycatcher  6


Yellow-throated Vireo  1


Blue-headed Vireo  2


Warbling Vireo  4


Red-eyed Vireo  1


Blue Jay  2


American Crow  1


Black-capped Chickadee  6


Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1


Golden-crowned Kinglet  1


Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1


White-breasted Nuthatch  4


House Wren  2


European Starling  4


Gray Catbird  2


Gray-cheeked Thrush  1


Swainson's Thrush  2


American Robin  1


White-throated Sparrow  9


Song Sparrow  2


Baltimore Oriole  4


Brown-headed Cowbird  4


Ovenbird  2


Golden-winged Warbler  1


Black-and-white Warbler  6


Tennessee Warbler  1


Nashville Warbler  1


Common Yellowthroat  1


American Redstart  4


Northern Parula  4


Palm Warbler  2


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  16


Northern Cardinal  2


Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1


Indigo Bunting  1



May 1, 2021: Black Hawk County:  At Waterloo's Riverview Recreation Area Lake an Avocet was seen May 3rd along with a pair of nesting Ospreys,  Caspian Tern, Warbling Vireos and Yellow Warblers. Forty species were seen.

A Waterloo resident has had the privilege to have a Crow named "Pork Chop" soak its dinner in his birdbath and then eat it. 

April 28, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding:  Twenty-three birders joined our PRAS Wednesday Morning Birding at Riverview Recreation Area in Waterloo.  We continue to welcome new faces each week to our growing group.  Today we observed 41 species as we circled Harold Getty Lake with many being first-of-year sightings.  See you next week at Lower Hartman Reserve.  

Riverview RA, Black Hawk, Iowa, US


Apr 28, 2021 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM


Protocol: Traveling


2.1 mile(s)


Checklist Comments:    Wednesday Morning PRAS birding


41 species 


Canada Goose  2


Blue-winged Teal  5


Mallard  2


Mourning Dove  2


Killdeer  1


Spotted Sandpiper  1


Green Heron  1


Turkey Vulture  2


Osprey  2


Bald Eagle  1


Belted Kingfisher  1


Red-bellied Woodpecker  1


Downy Woodpecker  1


Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1


Eastern Phoebe  1


Blue-headed Vireo  1


American Crow  4


Black-capped Chickadee  2


Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1


Tree Swallow  1


Ruby-crowned Kinglet  18


Red-breasted Nuthatch  2


White-breasted Nuthatch  2


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  8


House Wren  2


European Starling  15


Eastern Bluebird  6


Swainson's Thrush  4


American Robin  6


House Sparrow  2


American Goldfinch  5


Field Sparrow  1


Fox Sparrow  1


White-throated Sparrow  5


Song Sparrow  2


Eastern Towhee  1


Brown-headed Cowbird  9


Common Grackle  15


Palm Warbler  3


Yellow-rumped Warbler  2


Northern Cardinal  4


Red-winged Blackbird 3


Osprey - Riverview Park - Photo by John McCormick




Palm Warbler-notice yellow on vent and eye stripe. Bobs its tail while foraging. Photo by John McCormick

On April 21, Tom Schilke saw an adult Brant at Pintail Wetlands in Hardin County on R Ave.,  South of D15.


*********************************************

Here is an Eagle we spotted in Butler County after eating on a deer carcass on the 19th.
Stephanie and Ed Kleiner



eBird Alert Iowa Rare Bird Alert:
Greater Scaup (1 Black Hawk)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (1 Buchanan)
Lapland Longspur (1 Hardin)
American Tree Sparrow (1 Hardin)
Fox Sparrow (1 Black Hawk)


April 21, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding: On this record cold morning 17 faithful birders reported to the bird blind at George Wyth State Park in search of spring migrants and year round inhabitants.  Forty-one species were eventually sighted with Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets being the dominant birds for the morning.  We wondered how they must feel after having flown so far expecting to find 60 degree weather only to be greeted by temps in the 20's this AM.  They looked to be very energetic as our photographers will attest to. Hope to see you next week at Riverview Recreation Area in Waterloo. 

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday morning field trip

41 species


Canada Goose  10

Trumpeter Swan  3

Wood Duck  6

Blue-winged Teal  8

Mallard  1

Lesser Scaup  5

Wild Turkey  1

Pied-billed Grebe  5

American Coot  4

Greater Yellowlegs  1

Double-crested Cormorant  12

Great Blue Heron  1

Turkey Vulture  1

Bald Eagle  3

Broad-winged Hawk  1

Great Horned Owl  1

Belted Kingfisher  2

Red-bellied Woodpecker  3

Downy Woodpecker  5

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4

Eastern Phoebe  1

Blue Jay  3

American Crow  4

Black-capped Chickadee  1

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  3

Tree Swallow  30

Golden-crowned Kinglet  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  15

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

Brown Creeper  1

European Starling  1

Hermit Thrush  1

American Robin  5

Fox Sparrow  1

Dark-eyed Junco  5

Song Sparrow  3

Red-winged Blackbird  2

Common Grackle  1

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  30

Northern Cardinal  4

April 14, 2021: Wednesday Morning Birding: Twenty PRAS members were bundled up to face the breezy winds blowing across Martin Lake as they searched for spring migrants.  Forty species were seen and heard by the sharp eyes and ears of the group in their two and one half hour trek. Join us next week as we wander through George Wyth State Park.  Meet at the kiosk at 8:30 on the 21st.  See you then.  All are welcome.  And bring warmer weather!

Martin Lake (Greenbelt Lake), Black Hawk, Iowa, US

Apr 14, 2021 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Protocol: Traveling

1.5 mile(s)

Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday Morning birding

44 species


Canada Goose  2

Wood Duck  4

Blue-winged Teal  6

Northern Shoveler  2

Mallard  2

Green-winged Teal  3

Lesser Scaup  1

Pied-billed Grebe  1

Mourning Dove  1

American Coot  4

Killdeer  1

Lesser Yellowlegs  1

Turkey Vulture  1

Osprey  1

Belted Kingfisher  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker  1

Downy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1

Eastern Phoebe  2

Blue Jay  1

American Crow  2

Black-capped Chickadee  2

Tree Swallow  40

Barn Swallow  2

Golden-crowned Kinglet  4

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8

White-breasted Nuthatch  1

Brown Creeper  1

Brown Thrasher  2

Hermit Thrush  2

American Robin  2

Pine Siskin  12

American Goldfinch  2

Chipping Sparrow  1

American Tree Sparrow  2

Fox Sparrow  1

Dark-eyed Junco  2

White-throated Sparrow  1

Song Sparrow  1

Red-winged Blackbird  3

Brown-headed Cowbird  7

Common Grackle  1

Yellow-rumped Warbler  3

Northern Cardinal  2 

Barn Swallow-Greenbelt Lake  Photo by John McCormick


April 10, 2021: A Green Heron was an early arrival at Prairie Lakes Park.

April 7, 2021: The Osprey are back at their nest behind the Cattle Congress! We watched one bring in a small stick, then enjoyed watching the pair perched or on the nest or flying. Woohoo! -J.H.

I am excited that colleagues at my workplace seem to be noticing birds more...one aptly described the field marks for a Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted, of course) that they observed while walking across campus. She even mentioned its call that resembled a laugh, kind of like Woody Woodpecker. Makes me pleased that others have been inspired to take a closer look at the birds they encounter. - C.H.

April 7, 2021: Our first Wednesday Morning Birding Field Trip
Thanks to all who joined us for our field trip. 
We resumed our PRAS Wednesday morning birding after a long delay for the Covid pandemic with 17 people in attendance at Big Woods Lake in Cedar Falls with rain showers threatening.  It was great to see so many of our friends and a few new faces, as well.  See you next  Wednesday at Martin Lake in Waterloo.  Check out future field trips on the web site.

Apr 7, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:    PRAS Wednesday morning birding with 17 attendees
25 species
Canada Goose  6
Wood Duck  6
Blue-winged Teal  6
Mallard  4
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  18
American White Pelican  8
Turkey Vulture  1
Bald Eagle  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tree Swallow  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
European Starling  1
American Robin  3
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Song Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  6
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Common Grackle  6
Northern Cardinal  4
April 5, 2021: A hybrid duck, thought to be perhaps a Cinnamon teal x shoveler has been seen at the wetlands at Dunkerton and Wagner Road in Black Hawk County. The bird is hanging with a small flock of shovelers.  

April 4, 2021: I just listened to the podcast of Talk of Iowa with Dr. Jim Pease (one of PRAS's favorite speakers!) about all of the wildlife and birds starting to appear now that it is spring and Dr. Pease said that now is a great time to put wren houses out. I bought a lovely ceramic wren house at one of our PRAS silent auctions and put it out yesterday. And...you know the saying, "build it and they will come", well, I noticed, for the first time a House Wren in my backyard this a.m. I am hoping that it will discover my wren house and take up residence!  C. Havely

Great Egrets were seen at Sweet Marsh today.

April 3, 2021: First of the year (FOY) Song Sparrows, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and Fox Sparrow were seen at Hickory Hills. A bike ride later on the Cedar Valley Trail south towards LaPorte City yielded a Sandhill Crane sighting in a location that this species has not been seen. Plus, on the way to the Gilbertville Depot, on the backwaters at the first bridge east of Washburn were approximately a gathering of 200 American White Pelicans. Pretty cool...
The photo below is merely to illustrate part of the flock that was visible from the road. 



A circuitous route between some of our PRAS counties yielded an abundance of wildflowers and birds, including Snow Trilliums at Eagle City Park and Pasque Flowers at Blackmun Prairie in Butler County. Photos by Kris Rash.  Check out the Iowa Prairie Network's webpage or Instagram account to see events, such as the Spring Prairie & Pasque Flower Walk, April 25, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.






March 31, 2021: A pinkish Snow Trillium was spotted at Hickory Hills Park in Tama County. Photo by Candace Havely



February 24, 2021: The Eurasian Tree Sparrow continues in Buchanan County. 

Pine Siskins are back at my feeders in the backyard. C.H.

February 23, 2021: 5 Bald Eagles (4 mature, 1 juvenile) were seen in a tree along Dysart Road.  Flushed 5 different Ring-necked Pheasants at Hickory Hills. Found this lovely pheasant feather perfectly nestled in a track in the snow. 


February 14, 2021: Over this weekend I have seen one blue jay and a pair of juncos.  One squirrel and one rabbit have dashed across the backyard. Last month … My snow crab tree has been picked clean by the robins and the cedar waxwings, none of whom are around anymore. - S.F.

February 11, 2021: A Rusty Blackbird appeared at a Waterloo feeder along with a continuing Spotted Towhee (a western species), a Carolina Wren and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

February 9, 2021: Northern Shrike was seen around 2300 Timber Ave, north of Aldo Leopold WMA in Bremer Co. Flocks of Horned Larks seemed particularly plentiful. No longspurs or snow buntings were seen. A. B.

February 8, 2021: Gray Partridge have been observed in various locations in Black Hawk County. 

Continuing Eurasian Tree Sparrow is being seen at a feeder in Buchanan County. 

February 6, 2021: Eurasian Tree Sparrow seen in Buchanan County.

January 30, 2021: Spotted Towhee was seen at a Waterloo feeder. Bird has been observed throughout the fall and winter. 

January 25, 2021: Barred Owl at George Wyth S.P. 

Photo by Stephanie Kleiner


January 17, 2021: Swans and other waterfowl at Brinker Lake at George Wyth State Park.

Swans at Brinker Lake, George Wyth State Park. Photo by Stephanie Kleiner


January 16, 2021: There are Currently 4 Tundra Swans among about a 100 or so Trumpeter S. at Brinker Lake. Tommy Stone

January 2, 2021: It was a good day for raptors here. At home I had 3 different Cooper's
Hawks and a Sharp-shinned H. hoping for an easy meal at the feeders. In the afternoon, I did some road birding and saw and photographed 3 Merlins at different locations. I also saw a RLHA, 5 RTHA, 1 AMKE, and 2 Bald E. all within an hour and 10 miles from our house. Tommy Stone, Waterloo

American Robin - Buchanan County: I know, I know, some can overwinter. I had one show up late this afternoon in the crabapple, loudly announcing his presence and saying it was spring. Wendy VanDeWalle

What was your first bird seen in the new year?
 

Dec 4, 2020: Two Bald Eagles must be pair bonding as they are sitting so close together on the same branch. Wonderful to see! Thanks for sharing your observation.

 



November 29, 2020: Sandhill Cranes were seen at Big Woods Lake, 2 adults marked with red crowns and 2 juvenile birds. Rarely do a pair raise both crane colts, so this is a great sighting! - D.E.

November 26, 2020: A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found at Greenbelt Lake at the north end of the the conifer stand. Take the main path by the lake till you see an "x" that was marked in the path. Then take a left and walk on the small path about 30 ft. Then take a riht and look for the white wash under the Red Pine. The owl was perched about 3-4 feet above the ground. T. Stone

I tried to relocate the Saw-whet early this afternoon, but did not see it. A couple of other PRAS birders came along and we found the spot where the white wash was, but we couldn't spy the owl. That is often how my luck goes! I looked in neighboring trees and in the other "usual" spots at Greenbelt, but no owl for me. I did enjoy the blue sky, a nice walk and saw two Red-breasted Nuthatches who were foraging together, so all was not lost. C. Havely 

November 25, 2020: A Spotted Towhee has been seen at a local feeder in Waterloo. TS

November 19, 2020: An Evening Grosbeak fly over and a mature Golden Eagle soaring near Greenbelt Lake were the observations from Waterloo today.

November 18, 2020: No less than 5 different Brown Creepers were foraging in the woods around Casey Lake at Hickory Hills. Lots of Canada Geese, but no other special waterfowl were present. A calling Barred Owl was heard and on the drive back to Waterloo, a Great Horned Owl was seen perched on the top of a telephone pole.

November 12 & 13, 2020:  The beautiful crescent moon with Venus, Spica and the not often seen Mercury in the pre-dawn eastern sky (about 5:45 a.m.). Gorgeous! Thank you David Voigts for your "In the Sky" column that teaches us about astronomy.  I have so enjoyed the skies this year. From the comet visible this summer to the glorious showing of our planets, it has been one positive thing about 2020! Hope I get a peek at some of the Leonid meteor showers. C Havely

November 8, 2020: A Greater Yellowlegs was observed at Bonser's Wildlife Refuge. D. E. 

November 7, 2020: A Spotted Towhee was observed at a feeder in Waterloo. T. S. 

November 5, 2020: Male Evening Grosbeak observed at feeder in Bremer County. The grosbeak dwarfed the House Finch that was feeding alongside it. M.W.

November 1, 2020: A Swainson's Thrush was seen at Greenbelt Lake. Alan Orr. and a female Evening Grosbeak was seen at a feeder near Hartman Reserve. B.R.

October 30 & 31, 2020: Evening Grosbeaks made an appearance at the feeders of a family in Dike, Iowa! Thanks Mark & Amy for sharing your sighting and for joining our presentation at our November program.

Male & two female Evening Grosbeaks. Photo by Mark Dutton


October 30, 2020: A pair of Common Redpolls were also foraging in the parking lot at Greenbelt Lake.  Scott Garrett 

This morning I found two Common Redpolls at one of my favorite places to bird- only a couple miles from my house! They were in the parking lot of the Mt Auburn Bridge access to the Cedar River on Benton/Buchanan Ave.This is the corner of Buchanan, Benton & Black Hawk counties.  They were next to the boat ramp and hung out for quite some time feeding. Iowa bird #300! - Wendy VanDeWalle

October 29, 2020: Red-bellied, Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers, a pair of Purple Finch, Am. Goldfinch, House Finch, WB Nuthatch, chickadees, starlings, juncos and White-throated and House Sparrows are among the yard birds coming to my feeders and heated bird bath. C.H.

October 28, 2020: A Horned Grebe can be viewed on the east end of Brinker Lake at George Wyth State Park. Observable from the bike path. A.O. 

October 23, 2020:
When leaving my favorite new bookstore (Soul Book Nook) in downtown Waterloo, I saw a Cooper's Hawk dive into the hedge across the street in pursuit of Rock Pigeons. It wasn't successful, but I got a good look at this handsome bird when it flew up and perched in a nearby tree. - CH 

October 17, 2020:
I participated in the eBird October Big Day today. (At this moment 6,298 species of birds have been seen across the world by 22,797 participants.) As part of my effort I visited the Black Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in Grundy County. It has been greatly affected by the Derecho and the trails have not been cleared, so I had to bushwhack quite a bit. I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler at eye level. This is a small place, so I went back to my car to get my camera and returned to the area where I had seen the warbler. I never saw warbler again, but waiting around quietly I added Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch. That's a lot of neat birds for such a small place.

Linda Rudolph
Coralville

October 8, 2020: A small flock of Rusty Blackbirds were seen at Diagonal Street Marsh.  J.M.

October 7, 2020: An adult light morph Ferruginous Hawk was seen in Black Hawk County today. A cell phone photo was shared with Tommy Stone who confirmed the identification.

October 1, 2020:  I still have hummingbird at my feeder and four juncos below it.  Had a palm and orange crowned during my daily walk at Riverview this morning. - T.S.

A rather unfortunate bird sighting happened today at work; a Sharp-shinned Hawk and American Robin were victims of a window collision. At home the feeder is busy with seemingly every House Sparrow and House Finch in the neighborhood. An occasional N. Cardinal and White-throated Sparrow, Chickadee and Downy Woodpecker joins the mix. So far, no juncos at my feeder yet. - C.H.

September 18, 2020: A flight of Broad-winged Hawks were seen flying over Waterloo.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch, a White-throated Sparrow and three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were visitors to backyard feeders in Waterloo.

September 15, 2020: Migrating warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Scarlet Tanagers were visitors to the backyard near Denver. Nearby, a group of four Red-shouldered Hawks were observed. 

September 14, 2020: A Female Black-throated Blue Warbler was seen at Riverview Park (old Mitchell Sandpits).

September 13, 2020: Red-breasted Nuthatches have been moving into all parts of Iowa, including Cedar Falls. Click on the "Photos" link to take a look at the PRAS Flickr account to see some great photos of this bird. 

September 12, 2020: Numerous Broad-winged Hawks and groups of Northern Flickers were seen along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

September 8, 2020: The previous couple of nights, birders in Denver, IA, Iowa's 3rd Bird Friendly City, were witness to the amazing spectacle of 200+ Chimney Swifts swooping into roost in chimneys in the downtown area. Every year there is a citizen science project titled, Swift Night Out, that asks citizens to record the number of swifts they see and share the data. 

Sept 8, 2020: A Mourning Warbler found it's way to our PRAS President's backyard! Other birds seen at Riverview Park in Waterloo (old Mitchell Sand Pits) included: Philadelphia Vireo, Blackpoll Warbler, Osprey, Nashville, Tennessee Warblers, etc. 

Hummingbirds were at seen at a backyard bird feeder in Waterloo.

Sept 5, 2020: Purple Finch seen at feed in Buchanan County.

Sept 2, 2020: I just refilled our hummingbird feeders!  It is like Grand Central Station. We also have had red-breasted nuthatches. They are one of my favorites. We didn’t have any in the 2029/2020 fall/ winter season. The year before they were here from September-May. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather! -S.L.

Sept 1, 2020:
Three American Avocets were seen at Riverview Park (old Mitchell Sand Pits) right across from the boat ramp on the beach. An Osprey feeding young was also observed.

A Barred Owl was seen along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

August 23, 2020: An Osprey was seen over the Cedar River in Waverly and a Blue-grey gnatcatcher was also seen among a small flock of birds. - J. Q. 

August 22, 2020: A Least Tern was seen by two PRAS members in the morning at the Wagner Rd wetlands outside of Waterloo.  Later in the afternoon, Sandhill Cranes, several Great Blue Heron, lots of Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs,Blue-winged Teal, Red-winged Blackbirds and a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a lone Cormorant, a Ring-necked Pheasant, and an immature eagle were observed. 
At the nearby private wetlands, a Sora and three chicks were observed. Virginia Rail, Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Eastern Kingbird, American Goldfinch, were among the birds seen. The highlight being the Sora chicks!

August 16, 2020: Pileated Woodpecker at Babcock Woods.- J. Q. 

August 7, 2020: Northern Waterthrush  Greenbelt Lake Photo by Scott Garrett



August 5, 2020: I saw a Gray Partridge with several chicks and I had a Bluebird nest with 8 eggs.  It was lost to predation.  - David V. 


The merlins left the nest on Liberty Ave.on July 30th and have been flying around the neighborhood ever since, and chasing each other at times.  All 5, the adults and 3 young exploded from the trees to chase a crow this morning.  Bird carnage (house sparrows) is much more evident now with whole birds, half eaten ones, and pieces strewn on lawns.  My neighbor had what we think was a gizzard fall on his shoulder.  His baby daughter had a feather land on her.  They have been active throughout the day calling, flying, and practicing being merlins -  mostly hanging out near the sycamore nest tree.    This has been a rare opportunity to watch merlin behaviors in a way we we usually don’t see. 

The birds seen on Kimball in Waterloo are from a different nest.  At least four have been seen over there.  Not sure where the nest had been over there - maybe in the ponderosa pines next to the Subway. 

Tom Schilke - Waterloo


July 22, 2020: Big Woods Lake - Male Blue Grosbeak singing from treetop observed from approx 50' away for several minutes. He was still singing when I left.  Location on NW side of lake near bench marked as Bob & Kathy Braun bench.

July 19, 2020: The merlin nest across the street from my house at 1432 Liberty Ave. has three mostly downy young as best that I can tell.  The parents have been on guard and are quite vocal when feeding time is near or crows, vultures, etc. come too close.  Viewers that have come to see the nest have been rewarded with views of the birds in usually short order, often seeing them on open favored branches plucking apart prey (house sparrows ) or standing watch. 

Francis Moore reports the likelihood of another merlin nest on south Kimball in Waterloo by or in large ponderosa pines next to the Subway parking lot.  Merlins have been seen in that spot multiple times and carrying food.  Haven’t spotted the nest yet.

The merlins that nested in Waterloo in 2016 were fledged and flying about by July 12th.  Here we are on July 19 and the young are just now beginning to get some feathers.  Also in 2016 the merlins decapitated their prey.  I have yet to find heads or see them rip a head off while feeding.  From about 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. has been a pretty consistent time to watch them in good light.

Merlins have been spotted during the summer months each year since 2016,  I think it is safe to assume that we have a continual breeding population, one that is perhaps expanding through the metro area.

Tom Schilke - Waterloo


July 18, 2020: Multiple Wood Thrushes were singing at McFarlane Park Saturday morning. It was quite lovely.

July 15, 2020: An Upland Sandpiper was heard flying overhead while observing the Neowise comet.

July 14, 2020: An early morning bike ride on the Cedar Valley Trail can present various wildlife encounters. Luckily the Striped Skunk did not feel threatened when I rode passed it. 

June 29, 2020: The merlins that have occupied a nest across the street north from my house for the last two months in Waterloo have begun to actively feed nestlings.  During the first month they came to and from the nest, straightened it up, mated, stashed food, etc.  The next month she, and occasionally he, incubated eggs.  There has been  on occasion a second male.  I still have a clear view of the nest in the tall sycamore which is now beginning to leave out after a bout with anthracnose.  The neighbors are cool with visitors watching the merlins. I usually have a scope on the nest by my garage door at 1432 Liberty Ave.  Visitors are welcome.  Evening light is best from my angle.

It will be about another month before the young fledge during which time the male could bring up to nine birds a day to the nest - mostly house sparrows.  Vocalizations have been interesting - more to it than a simple call.  I haven’t seen little heads yet.  The nest survived 50 mph straight line winds and torrential rain.  They defend the nest from any raptor that gets anywhere near calling at length during the attack.  Soft little chinks mixed in with the calls generally seem to mean some kind of interaction between the merlins - either food is here or it is time to switch places for a while. 

Also of interest near by are nesting black billed cuckoo, flicker, bells vireos and maybe red-headed woodpecker on the bike trail at Gilbertville.  Go north from the depot towards Evansdale until you get almost get to the Schaefer Natural area bench, almost a half mile walk. 

Bank Swallows are nesting in the private quarry south of the road to the water treatment plant which is along the south border of of Riverview Park in Waterloo 1.5 miles from my house.   Stand by the gate and watch - also YB cuckoo hanging out there. 

Best Wishes,  Tom Schilke - Waterloo