Christmas in April

If you are a bird watcher or maybe a bird lister it is notable when you spot you “first of the year” bird (FOY).  The anticipation of finding a “new” bird is similar to a child’s anticipation of Christmas morning.  April is full of birds showing up for the first time or showing up on their way to somewhere further north.  It is also a month when we say good-bye to some of our winter visitors, but you don’t know they are gone until you just haven’t seen them for too long.  Most of my observations this year have been from the West Bank Park area in the early morning or after 6 in the evening.  A few exceptions were a couple trips to Benton Lake NWR.  A quick look at my April 2021 list shows quite a few FOY’s (all from West Bank Park area unless noted).  April 1 – Short-eared Owl, Sharp-tailed Grouse (Benton Lake); April 4 – Tree Swallow (Giant Springs); April 6 – Franklin’s Gull; April 8 – Marsh Wren, American Avocet; April 10 – American White Pelican; April 11 – Black-necked Stilt; April 16 – Wood Duck, Horned Grebe; April 17 – Yellow-headed Blackbird, Long-billed Curlew, Cinnamon Teal, Ross’s Goose (Benton Lake); April 18 – Red-tailed Hawk; April 20 – Swainson’s Hawk; April 21 – Osprey; April 22 – Grackle, Marbled Godwit; April 23 – Willet, Mourning Dove; April 23 – Wilson’s Snipe, Common Loon; April 25 – Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-tailed Duck (although not a FOY – it was in late April plumage and quite remarkable); April 26 – Blue-winged Teal, Common Tern; Turkey Vulture; April 27 – Northern-rough-winged Swallow.

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