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? ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blue Creek

with school and IBO work going full blast over the past few weeks, Jay and I haven't had much time to do any 'serious' birding...so, at the first chance we got we decided to make a 'quick' run to Duck Valley reservoir (only a few hours drive from Boise, heehee :) near the Nevada border.
Fellow crazy-birder Harry K. had first told Jay about this spot, and after seeing how great it was when we made a trip there 2 weeks ago, we knew we had to go back! We set out around lunchtime after finishing with songbird banding and Entomology lecture :)

When we first arrived, we checked out the reservoir itself and found a Common Loon among all the ducks there...too bad it wasn't a Yellow-Billed!

Next we drove to the Blue Creek area past the reservoir, and found two Cackling Geese (likely the minima subspecies) hanging out with all the Canada's...I'd never seen the uber-cute minima subspecies before, so that was a special treat; especially seeing them in comparison to their giant cousins!

One of the cute Cackling Geese!

We drove along the water and stopped to check out the gazillions of shorebirds along the way. We couldnt believe the numbers of birds, including both Yellowlegs, almost 70 Pectoral Sandpipers, around 275 LB Dowitchers, a few Sanderlings, and a Dunlin! We also got to enjoy watching a Peregrine Falcon chase around many shorebirds and ducks...though he didn't ever catch one.

While we were scoping out all the shorebirds (still hoping for a Short-billed Dowitcher) we suddenly heard a different call-note. A "Big Plover"!!!! We scanned around frantically to find out where the call had come from, and soon Jay spotted it! I checked it out with binoculars, while Jay set up the scope. A few seconds after I scoped it, it took off. oh no!.....but actually it was perfect timing, because in flight we were able to see it's very black 'armpits' and white rump. It was a Black-bellied Plover! woohoo! A lifer, yearbird, and the species we had come searching for on this trip! sweet :)

We used the remaining sunlight to check out the shorebirds coming in to roost for the night, and had fun hearing their fighter-jet 'whooshing' noises as they came shooting down across the water. As we got ready to leave, a lone White-faced Ibis flew slowly overhead to check us out before heading to his grassy island to sleep.

A cool day of birding at a very cool spot!


  1. What an amazing and freakin' cool trip! AWESOME birds!!! Congrats! That's the kind of trip you can only hope for this time of year! How fun!

    Louie Quintana
    Boise, ID

  2. :)
    yup...you're gonna have to join us one of these days! post IBO...songbirds ends thursday, and hawks on the 30th, which means it's time for some crazy birding!

  3. It is about time to start hitting American Falls Res for the gulls, isn't it?? I hope to make it there. Let me know if you are headed there this fall.

  4. Bill - sounds good. I think we'll try to get there at least once or twice by the end of the year and we'll try to give you advanced notice if we can. Likewise, try us if you're heading there.