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NVBIRDS  March 2004

NVBIRDS March 2004

Subject:

Birds around Fort Churchill and the Carson River

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Date:

Sun, 7 Mar 2004 21:44:03 -0800

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NV Birders:

I spent a few days at the Ft. Churchill State Park
and saw these birds there, along the Carson River
and in the mountains southwest of the campground:

March 4th, afternoon:
American Robins, a flock feeding on the Russian Olives
California Quail, roosting in the tree at camp
European Starling
Coopers Hawk, hunting pass
Wild Turkey tracks at the river, no turkeys
   (a hunter said "tracks make awfully thin soup")

March 5th:
Canada Goose on the river
2 Mallards, up the river
2 Cinnamon Teal
  Green Winged Teal, a bunch
2 Redhead
1 Coopers Hawk
1 Golden Eagle
2 Bald Eagles, perched, then soaring toward Carson Valley
1 Hairy Woodpecker
  American Robins on the olives even before light
1 Meadow Lark
2 Killdeer
1 Belted Kingfisher

  At camp:
1 Spotted Towhee
1 Savannah Sparrow

March 6, 2004:
Canada Geese, flying up-river
20 +/- Green Winged Teal
3 Wood Ducks, on irrigation ditch
4 Common Merganser
4 Mountain Bluebirds, in mountains to SW
10 +/-Horned Lark, in mountains to SW
2 Western Bluebird, M&F, 2 miles up Adrian Valley
6 Bushtit, Adrian Valley
1 Red Tailed Hawk
1 Kestrel
 Black Billed Magpies, a bunch

March 7th:
20 +/- Green Winged Teal
3 Wood Ducks, 3 miles west of last night sighting
50 +/- Rock Pigeon, flying around Churchill Buttes,
          7 mi. west of park

Notes:
The Golden Eagle and 2 Bald Eagles were perched within 50
yards of each other. The Golden Eagle flew off when I drove by
but the 2 Bald Eagles just stayed put as I headed for camp,
 gnashing my teeth over forgetting my video camera.
When I returned the 2 Bald Eagles were soaring in a thermal.
They worked it up to equilibrium and headed west in the
direction of Carson Valley, although there were a lot of new
calves at the Break-A-Heart Ranch. Perhaps they have already
cleaned up after them.

At The Break-A-Heart Ranch there was a mule deer buck that
had just recently shed its antlers as evidenced by the little
vacant sockets in front of its ears. A single Black Billed Magpie
was perched in the center of its back. It stayed there for 5 minutes
doing nothing but apparently taking in the rising sun. The deer
flicked it off with a backward jerk of its head whereupon the
Magpie meandered amongst the occasionally shifting feet of the
deer for a few minutes. Then it went back to the center of the
deer's back for another 5 minutes pecking into the deer hair
just once before finally flying away.

The Adrian Valley where the Western Bluebirds were foraging
runs south from the south side of the Carson River across
the bridge from Weeks. It is lined with old cottonwood trees.
A note of Caution: I meandered around the dirt roads on the
south side of the river for about an hour and was glad to see
that finally one led back down to the river where I expected to
drive along it back to camp. That was not to be. There was a
locked gate on the road heading east. I turned around expecting
to follow the river west and back to Dayton. That too was not
to be; another locked gate. I had no choice but to go back over
the very same, very rocky roads over which I had just come.
I did not want to do that.

The Rock Pigeons were flying around the cliffs that Robert
Ridgeway, the naturalist with The U.S. Geological Exploration
of the 40th Parallel in 1867 mentioned being near where he saw
Black Swifts flying over the cottonwood trees along the river.
No swifts there now but it sure looks like the pigeons are there
for a long stay. (see GREAT BASIN BIRDS, Number 3, March
2000)

More Later;

Richard Brune
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