A (mostly) friendly competition between 2 avid birdwatchers that are also friends/co-workers. Who can observe more bird species in Idaho in 2009? Will they still be friends at year's end? ;-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camas Prairie-Centennial Marsh Fieldtrip

This Saturday, I went out on the last of my Ornithology class fieldtrips in hopes of finding some ‘charadriiformes’ at Centennial Marsh, and any other bodies of water we could find along the way. We were met in the morning with a downpour (okay, for Idaho standards at least-a record 0.5"!) so at least water was not hard to come by during our trip!
We tried Indian Creek reservoir first, but the roads were too sloppy for our 16 passenger vans. So next, we headed to Mountain Home reservoir, where there were plenty of our shorebird friends. One of the first birds we saw upon arriving was a couple of Black-necked Stilts….a Lifer! (It’s a good thing my classmates are also fellow bird geeks… since Heidi--ever the sucker for birdie cuteness--was getting just a little excited over these guys :) But, my nerdiness was well-matched within the group as there were quite a few mumbles of “hmmm, let’s see now, these are charadriiformes… charadrii…family….recurvirostridae?” yes, we have a lab test on Tuesday. Woohoo! At the reservoir we also saw some Cinnamon Teal, Shovelers, Bufflehead, 2 Western Grebes that were 'neck-bobbing', and 3 Eared Grebes.
At another spot on the reservoir, we saw some other cool birds, including some great views of Avocets and about 6 Long-billed Dowitchers! Another lifer!
At some ponds on a dirt road off the highway, we spotted a Swainson's Hawk pair, and lots of waterfowl including: Redheads, Shovelers, Scaup, Ring-neck Ducks, Canvasbacks, Pintail, and Cinnamon Teal. Oh, and it was still raining at this stop as well, and here’s a photo of the result:

Contrary to appearances, this is NOT a BSU van and it is NOT stuck horribly in the mud :D
This photo was taken by Ornithology class member and fellow blogger Rob Miller. Thanks Rob!

At another stop along the highway, we were able to spot some spinning Wilson’s Phalaropes in what else, but a sewage pond! :) Another cute Lifer!
We continued our trip, and ended up at Centennial Marsh (yes, these roads actually weren’t that bad! Except when a certain van #2 tried to go over a hill…but that’s another story) We saw tons of Shovelers here, as well as some beautiful Cinnamon Teal and gazillions of Red-wing, Brewer’s, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

Some Shovelers and Teal: out on a double-date
Another photo by
Rob Miller

At one of the super puddles in the marsh, we saw TONS of Avocets, a few Stilts, and more (10+) Phalaropes! It was awesome, and overwhelming with so many of my new lifer species! At that spot we also saw tons of Kestrels (a pair in almost every box!) and a mixed flock with 4 swallow species: Tree, Cliff, Barn, and Rough-winged! perfectly posed for great comparison looks on the fence wires.

A cute Avocet and a cute and super-teeny female phalarope
another Rob photo

On the sloppy road out, we also saw two more lifers: a Willet and two Marbled Godwits! Here’s some pics of them by Rob! Dude, the Charadriiformes at Centennial Marsh are awesome!

One of the Marbled Godwits

A Willet…does their name make them even more full of cuteness? I think so.
Photo taken on Rob’s camera (after being handed to the ‘good’ side of the van) by classmate/photographer/van-driver John :)


  1. Ok, you gave me enough references to boost my google ranking!

    The good side of the van???

    And why didn't you point out the Northern Rough-wing to me???? I'll have to look back through my photos...

  2. I'm sorry Rob, I'm sorry! :)
    there was only one of the rough-wing's