Monday, May 21, 2007

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

I have been wanting to take a trip up to DeSoto for the last month. Everytime I had it in my "plans" something else came up. Plans are, afterall, what you make until you know what you have done. The headquarters for DeSoto is in Iowa, but as you traverse the refuge you go back and forth between Iowa and Nebraska. DeSoto is probably best known for it's fall migration of Snow Geese and Eagles, but it is a good birding spot year round. During spring migration there are lots of shorebirds, and that was what I was hoping to see. Alas, the shorebird migration seems to have passed by.

I saw a Horned Lark which, according to the birds list, is uncommon. I have never understood the bird listings for wildlife refuges. They note a bird as uncommon, but next to uncommmon they say "present but not certain to be seen". Except for the most ubiquitous of birds, such as robins, that could apply to almost any bird.

Photographs of birds were hard to come by. They all seemed very busy flitting about and chasing each other. Did see lots of Red-headed Woodpeckers and did succeed in getting one fairly decent shot.

Long before I saw him, I heard this Dickcissel.

And my prize of the day wasn't a bird, it was a skipper. Just south of the entrance to DeSoto, I saw some wild Irises on the edge of a little lake. But there were several Canada Geese and a bunch of goslings between the road and the irises. So I opted not to incur the honking of the Geese. On my way out of the refuge, they were on the other side of the road, so I proceded to get my pictures of the irises. I noticed a Peck's Skipper, but wasn't sure of the other guy. I'm a total neophyte to Butterfly ID's so I just take pictures of whatever presents itself and figure I will ID it when I get home. Well it turns out that the Skipper on the right is a Zabulon Skipper. He's slightly north of his range, so he is the prize of my day!

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