It may have a generic title, but the birds I had the opportunity to watch for this post are anything but generic.
A couple reports of whooping cranes was all I needed to get my bags packed and head out at 4 a.m. on my quest to locate them at sunrise. It wasn't for lack of effort, but around noon, I still hadn't found what I was looking for. Instead I spent the morning watching a large group of Sandhills as they danced on South Dakota's hillsides.
I then decided then to switch gears and see what the rest of the spring migration had brought us. The weather had been so hit and miss this year: blizzard upon blizzard with intermittent heat waves.
A quick trip over the Missouri River and bluffs brought a large group of loons that were very photogenic as well as my first osprey, horned grebe, and peregrine falcon for the year.
A couple hours of photos and videos and another quick drive landed me in the flooded fields & proved to be where I would spend the remaining daylight hours as the waterfowl were abundant and had a sprinkling of early shorebirds along with them.
The oddball find for the weekend was definitely a long-tailed duck, and while I have had a chance to see them in South Dakota before, it is rare, and finding one in a flooded field even less common. He eventually gave me a quick flyby Sunday right at sunrise so I could get a proof shot of his presence and a new drive to get a better image of them in the future because they are quite remarkable birds.
Since there was an overwhelming amount of shots from the trip, stay tuned for part 2 of this post!