Monday, December 1, 2014

Cold November...


Before the extreme cold hit  NE Iowa I came across  four Trumpeter Swans . They were roosting in a local private pond and feeding on the picked corn fields around the pond,  the pond was  close to highway 93, not far from Sumner. The Swans I believe were reported by someone to the Iowa Ornithology Union the beginning of November.  I don't know if  they are a family or two separate pairs migrating together. This years young would have a grey plumage.
They were sure cool to see and especially when they would fly from the fields around dusk what a Beautiful Regal bird.
Lapland Longspur
 Now when the extreme cold hit , I came across these curios little birds, always in a medium to large sized flock along the roads edge, these Lap Land Longspurs were fun to watch as they frantically looked for spilled grain or wind blown seeds along the roads. What I noticed with this particular flock was that they were picking up spilled corn along the highway . Horned Larks and Snow Buntings also do this . I read that non breeding birds will become a resident  South of there breeding range which is North of Canada. This bird I believe could be a second year female. The flock was made up of mostly first year birds  non breeders.

Immature Golden Eagle

This huge wing span belongs to a Golden Eagle my first sighting in NE Iowa. At first I thought it to be just a first year Bald Eagle but when it got closer I saw the  under neath white feather patterns and the gold or blond nap (behind the head) Wow my first Golden Eagle . Cool, there are sightings  of Golden Eagles in Iowa, but since the Golden is primarily a western Raptor it is something to see here in NE Iowa. Golden Eagles escaped  the DDT contamination  because they mostly feed on grass eating Mammals, but  they were shot , poisoned and trapped out west because of suspected livestock kills . The Golden Eagle is more widely distributed then the Bald Eagle , they are in Europe, Scotland and even the Himalayas.

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