Central South Dakota - April 2018 - Part 1

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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!



Pheasant flight
Pheasant Incoming Flight

Pintail courtship photo south dakota
Pintails Courtship Flight

Incoming pheasant south dakota
Pheasant Head On Attack Mode

Blue winged teal south dakota
Blue winged Teal heading in for a landing
Long tailed duck south dakota
Distant Long Tailed Duck in South Dakota

Eared grebe south dakota
Horned Grebe - South DakotaIt

Bill Van der Hagen

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