Fall Migration Finale

Since the last blog, several new species for the season were observed during the last weeks of fall migration bird surveys at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie and Linscomb Wildlife Area. Harris’s Sparrows and Smith’s Longspurs arrived at about the same time and were first observed on Oct. 25.


In November, large Vs of Snow Geese started flying over in the thousands and Mallards in the hundreds. The second week of November saw colder temperatures than experienced during fall surveys in 2016. North winds and temperatures falling into the mid 20s brought American Tree Sparrows and Rough-legged Hawks, two species that were not observed in 2016. The first Rough-legged Hawk was observed on Nov. 8 and since then several continue to hunt over the high-cut areas of Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie, along with Northern Harriers. Several Short-eared owls were flushed up in the past week, with as many as three observed together.


Other species that were not observed in 2016 include several waterfowl species including three Trumpeter Swans flying over and Hooded and Common Mergansers, Ruddy Duck and Gadwall in some of the small ponds at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie.

Hooded Mergansers


On the final days of surveys, the various calls of LeConte’s Sparrows continued to be heard throughout the tall grasses or in shrubbier vegetation in the draws at both sites, Song Sparrows were still numerous and Fox, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos were mainly heard from the brushy areas.

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