Great Nebraska

Naturalists and Scientists





May 27
Thedford to Brownlee
prairie horned lark Wilson’s phalarope
wn meadowlark Bartranian sandpiper
killdeer blue-winged teal
Sennett’s nighthawk burrowing owl
yellowlegs curlew
dove mallard
grasshopper sparrow spoonbill
lark bunting widgeon
barn swallow Arkansas kingbird
kingbird long-billed marsh wren
prairie chicken red-winged blackbird
yellowthroat kingfisher
cliff swallow American bittern
wn field sparrow goldfinch
wn vesper sparrow sharp-tailed grouse
Baird’s sandpiper —31 spp.
Saw also: jackrabbit
prairie dog
pocket gopher
13-striped spermophile
tracks of deer (white-tailed fairly common here)
Brownlee to Kennedy
Sennet’s nighthark wn vesper sparrow
lark bunting blue-winged teal
red-winged blackbird curlew
wn meadowlark cowbird
prairie horned lark Harris’ sparrow
kingbird sharp-tailed grouse
dove bluebird
savanna sparrow coot
Arkansas kingbird killdeer
black tern yellow-headed blackbird
grasshopper sparrow mallard
barn swallow wn lark s
Bartramian sandpiper —25 spp.

We are informed that skunks are faily common here; that 3 bobcats were killed last
year; that a raccoon was taken two years ago.



May 27 — continued
Kennedy to Stilwell Ranch
mallard red-winged blackbird
American bittern Wilson’s phalarope
wn meadowlark blue-winged teal
Arkansas kingbird solitary sandpiper
horned grebe prairie horned lark
dove gadwall
wn lark sparrow grasshopper sparrow
marsh hawk sharp-tailed grouse
killdeer prairie chicken
barn swallow Sennett’s nighthark —20 spp.
About Hackberry Lark, during few minutes before drak
jacksnipe yellowthroat pied-billed grebe —3 spp.



May 27
Thedford to Brownlee Kennedy to Stilwell Ranch
prairie horned lark horned grebe
wn meadowlark marsh hawk
killdeer solitary sandpiper
Sennett’s nighthawk gadwall
dove Hackberry, few minuted Before dark
grasshopper sparrow
lark bunting jacksnipe
barn swallow pied-billed grebe
prairie chicken May 28
cliff swallow Hackberry and Dewey Lakes
wn field sparrow
wn vesper sparrow red-headed wood pecker
Baird’s sandpiper white pelican
Wilson’s phalarope Forster’s tern
Bartramian sandpiper least bittern
blue-winged teal red-breasted merganser
burrowing owl redhead
mallard May 29
widgeon Dewey Lake
Arkansas kingbird
long-billed marsh wren Franklin’s gull
red-winged blackbird
kingfisher May 30
American bittern
goldfinch Clear Lake
sharp-tailed grouse
turkey vulture
Brownlee to Kennedy black-crowned night heron
savanna sparrow spotted sandpiper
black tern pectoral sandpiper
Harris’ Sparrow Trout lake & valley
coot Virginia rail
yellow-headed blackbird swamp sparrow
western lark sparrow ring-billed gull



Cherry county, Nebraska
May 28 To Dewey Lake and back to Stilwell Ranch on Hackberry
barn swallow Morning clear. Rain at 2 p.m. Windy later.
wn meadowlark Nests of black tern in water 18 to 24 inches
killdeer deep, 50 feet to 50 yards from shore; noted
red-headed woodpecker sets 1/3 and 1/2 and about 12 nests completed or
kingbird building.
prairie horned lark Photographed nests with eggs, of black tern
red-winged blackbird and pied-billed grebe.
black tern Young mallards.
white pelican (3) A group of Wilson’s phalaropes
Forster’s tern Nests observed
Am. bittern Coot 1/2 1/3 2/5 2/9; one nest 5 deserted.
blue-winged teal Black tern — cited above.
least bittern Pied-billed grebe 1/8 1/7.
yellowthroat Yellow-headed blackbird — number of eggs
yellow-headed blackbird listed as observed: 3 2 1 2 2 4 3 2 4 3
Sennett’s nighthawk 2 4 3 2 4 4 0 0 0 2 2 2 4. Sets of 4 are
lark bunting probably complete.
coot Red-winged blackbird 3 2 and several building
Wilson’s phalarope or just completed.
dove Had privilege of watching a coot on her nest
gadwall at close range.
pied-billed grebe Many dead turtles alon gshore. Caught one
red-breasted merganser live snapper with 12-inch shell; examined and
redhead released it.
mallard —25 spp. Saw one musrat.

Innumerable flies and bees observed about flowers of Antennaria campestris.

Noted several of the light-colored blue racers peculiar to this area. Found a dead
bullsnake with many beetles working on it. I dug out a small lycosid spider carrying
a cocoon. The tunnel, straight down, was 8 inches deep, only 2 inches above water
level in the sand.

May 29

Rain last night, and steadily all day; cold north wind.

In the afternoon we went to Dewey Lake, and returning spent some time about the shore
of Hackberry lake; collected plankton with Birge net at various points, also flowers
and cacti.

Franklin’s gulls were seen at Dewey Lake.

Found n/5 of western meadowlark.



May 30

Clearing. Chill north wind, not strong, rest of the day. We enjoyed our first fairly
extended trip.

At Clear Lake

western meadowlark Clear Lake. circular and small, is one of
black tern the most alkaline of the lakes in this Cherry
killdeer county group. This is remarkable since only
wn vesper sparrow a mile to the west, lies Hackberry Lake, with
turkey vulture fresher water than any other.
dove Had my first, and therefore most impressive,
Forster’s tern opportunity to sense the depth of investive
yellow-headed blackbird expressed by Forster’s terns in welcoming
field sparrow visiters; never a syllable except downright
barn sparrow profanity. They are lovely and graceful birds —
red-winged blackbird but, such language!
blue-winged teal Found n/4 of the killdeer, deserted for some
pied-billed grebe rason beyond knowledge. Dr. Wolcott too the
Sennett’s nighthawk set, which proved to be unincubated.
black-crowned night heron A nest of the western vesper sparrow with
prairie chicken very young birds, on a vegetated sand slope
pintail 50 feet above the lake level.
spotted sandpiper Barn swallows are beginning to build about
pectoral sandpiper deserted shacks, which are too common in this
Am. bittern —20 spp. country cruel to agricultural effort; each is
an emblem of human despair

Found and excavated another lycosid tunnel in sand near the shore of the lake; 8 inches
deep, which is near water level.

At Willow Lake

black tern A nest of the pied-billed grebe, with 7 eggs
yellow-headed blackbird nearly hatched
Sennett’s nighthark Rare Forster’s terns again put on a show,
prairie horned lark affording me several cuss-words not before
lark bunting noted.
blue-winged teal
red-winged blackbird Across to Trout Lake
Forster’s tern
coot grasshopper sparrow Nest of wn meadowlark;
killdeer wn meadowlark 5 half-fledged young.
wn meadowlark —2 spp. Another lycosid tunnel.
barn swallow 200 feet above water, 9 inches deep.
pied-bill grebe —12 spp.


May 30 – continued

In Trout Lake valley

grasshopper sparrow Nests found;
Forster’s tern Red-winged blackbird in sequence as
red-winged blackbird found —4 2 4 0 3 1 4,
yellow-headed blackbird yellow-headed blackbird — 4 4
blue-winged teal Virginia rail —9 fresh, 7 incubated
wn meadowlark gadwall — 9.
Sennett’s nighthawk black tern — 1.
marsh hawk Am. bittern — 4.
long-billed marsh wren Forster’s tern and pied-billed grebe also
black tern nesting, but not examined.
yellowthroat A nest of the American bittern with 4 eggs
black tern was just above water level, lined with fine
Virginia rail grasses
Am. bittern Nest of gaswall also was lined with grass.
swamp sparrow The nests of Virginia rail were lined with
gadwall coarser grasses.
pied-billed grebe We flushed a flock of 13 prairie chickens
mallard and were able to note carefully here, as at Clear
ring-billed gull Lake earlier in the day, that the species is defi-
prairie chicken —20 spp. nitely the prairie chicken; not the sharp-tailed
grouse, which also occurs in this area.

On the way back to Stilwell’s Ranch on Hackberry Lake

Bartramian sandpiper dove
kingbird wn vesper n/5 —4 spp.

May 31

Clear; air cold; north wind.

Hackberry Lake in the morning, using a boat. No list of birds made. A visit to a nesting
colony of Forster’s terns near the north shore, afforded the following data, number
of eggs recorded in sequence as found: 2 1 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 pipped 3 1 3 on old house
of muskrat. Nests of rushes, placed 4 to 6 inches above water; cup [sic] 1 inch deep,
5 inches across. Black tern — 1 1; nests of similar construction and placement, shallower.
Yellowheaded blackbirds’ nests numerous.

Saw ruddy ducks on Hackberry.

Monahan’s Lake in afternoon; no bird list. Found completed nest of western lark sparrow.


May 21 June 2 — continued
Hackberry Lake At Frederick’s Peak
ruddy duck rock wren
western warbling vireo
June 1 Baltimore oriole
bronzed greckle
Big Alkali Lake
June 3
eared grebe
white-rumped sandpiper At Valentine
rough-winged swallow
black-and-white creeper
Simeon to Valentine
Valentine to Stilwell Ranch
blue grosbeak Say’s pheobe
long-tailed chat indigo bunting
Bell’s vireo red-tailed hawk
Schlegel’s Canyon June 5
arctic towhee At Marsh Lake
long-tailed chickadee
marbled godwit
Along the Niobrara green-winged teal
bluejay June 8
orchard oriole
yellow warbler At Dewey Lake
At Valentine
At Little Alkali
house wren
desert horned lark bluebill
western robin
bluebird(dupl) June 8
kingfisher Approaching Thedford
cuckoo sp.
black-headed grosbeak Swainson’s hawk
red-eyed vireo rough-legged hawk
chipping sparrow
brown thrasher


June 1

Rainy; cold. Started on long trip in light wagon, with Stilwell driving. Noted at
ranch, before starting:

wn vesper sparrow And on the way across fields:
wn meadowlark wn meadowlark prairie horned lark
killdeer wn vesper sparrow cliff swallow
barn swallow —4 spp. grasshopper sparrow barn swallow —7 spp.
Sennett’s nighthawk

We passed Monahan’s and Trout lakes without stopping.

At Big Alkali lake:

redhead western meadowlark
blue-winged teal coot
killdeer pintail
prairie horned lark black tern
eared grebe spoonbill
white-rumped sandpiper mallard
Wilson’s phalarope Franklin’s gull
rough-winged swallow yellow-headed blackbird
wn vesper sparrow grasshopper sparrow
dove Arkansas kingbird —20 spp.

Killdeer nests building, and young birds about.

At Simeon:

Bartramian sandpiper pintail turkey vulture
Simeon to Valentine:
bobwhite western field sparrow
lark bunting long-tailed chat
blue grosbeak sharp-tailed grouse
goldfinch Bell’s vireo —8 spp.

In Schegel’s Canyon:

arctic towhee long-tailed chickadee —2 spp.

On the Niobrara: (in the rain)

bluejay arctic towhee
orchard oriole long-tailed chat
yellow warbler yellowthroat
vireo sp.? rough-winged swallow
dickcissel —9 spp.

June 2

At Valentine. Cloudy and cold.

house wren wn meadowlark wn robin
desert horned lark dove bluebird
lark bunting wn field sparrow grasshopper sparrow
Arkansas kingbird arctic towhee yellow warbler
bluejay cowbird long-tailed chat
(list continued)


June 2 — continued

At Valentine — bird list continued

yellowthroat Bell’s vireo chipping sparrow
kingbird orchard oriole brown thrasher
catbird cuckoo sp. red-winged blackbird
kingfisher black-headed grosbeak rough-winged sparrow
spotted sandpiper red-eyed vireo goldfinch
killdeer bobwhite wn lark sparrow —33 spp.

A nest of eastern kingbird building. — A nest of brown thrasher with 4 eggs. — A nest
of black-headed grosbeak, 4 eggs, 30 feet up in elm over creek; nest made of dead
fines, weedstems and rootlets, much like that of rose-breasted grosbeak. — A nest
of yellow warbler.

At Frederick’s Peak:

rock wren blue grosbeak Sennett’s nighthawk
Bartramian sandpiper Baltimore oriole barn swallow
wn warbling vireo bronzed grackle —8 spp. Found a nest of the morning dove, with 2 incubated eggs.

June 3

At Valentine:

western lark sparrow long-tailed chickadee wn field sparrow
yellow-shafted flicker black-and-whtie creeper —5 spp.

On the drive south:

desert horned lark; nest by road, lined with grasses; 3 eggs.
western lark sparrow; nest under rose bush, made of grasses, weedstems,
red-headed woodpecker (lined with rootlets and horsehair
wn lark sparrow; a nest with 3 eggs
bank swallows: a colony
turkey vulture
rock wren
Say’s phoebe
Cliff swallow colony near Gordon
indigo bunting
red-tailed hawk, carrying a snake
Bartramian sandpiper
blue grosbeak (near Simeon)
wn vesper sparrow —13 spp.


June 4

Warm and sunny. We followed first the north shore of Hackberry, where I took photographs
of a young sharp-tailed grouse. — Then we collected plankton with the Birge net, in
a pond north of the lake. Afterward, we cut across to

Watt’s Lake
killdeer pied-billed grebe
black tern yellow-headed blackbird
prairie horned lark red-winged blackbird
spoonbill gadwall
blue-winged teal coot
mallard —11 spp.
Nests found:
pied-bill grebe — 414
coot — 8
killdeer — 2 0
June 5
A lovely day, after our hectic weather.
At Dewey Lake:
ringed-billled gull
At Willow Lake:
We watched a red-breaster merganser flutter across it.
At Marsh Lake:
black tern Forster’s tern
red-winged blackbird yellow-headed blackbird
yellowthroat coot
black-crowned night heron mallard
pintail Am. bittern
long-billed marsh wren green-winged teal
Wilson’s phalarope long-tailed chat
killdeer prairie chicken
redhead —19 spp.


June 5 – continued
Nests examined:
red-winged blackbird — 4 4 1 4 4 5 4 4 4 5 0 4 ygs bds
Virginia rail — 5 8
coot — 10 7 10 13 9 7 8 8
Forster’s terns nesting; nests not examined with i (sic) egg
blue-winged teal6; took photograph. Also found nest with young; and one
pied-billed grebe — 4 5
long-billed marsh wren — 6 2
yellow-headed blackbird
black-crowned night heron; not examined
Am. bittern — 2
Species to be added for June 5
ruddy duck
marbled godwit
black-crowned night heron
—making total for Marsh Lake for this date,
24 instead of 19
Also various undetermined sandpipers were seen.
June 6
At Little Alkali Lake:
horned grebe
several unidentified ducks
We were interested in the red crustaceans, almost microscopic,
found there.
At Whitewater Lake:
Observations made, but data missing
June 7
Spent the morning at Watt’s Lake; data missing.

In the afternoon we examined the area north of Clear lake. We were very much interested
in teh peculiar attitudes assumed by hog-nosed snakes when disturbed. — Examined many
of the small land tortoises common here. —

long-billed marsh wren coot
black tern black-crowned night heron
Forster’s tern red-winged blackbird
yellow-headed blackbird —7 spp.


June 8
In the morning to Dewey Lake
wn meadowlark Forster’s tern
mallard pied-billed grebe
bobolink Wilson’s phalarope
yellow-headed blackbird Bertramian sandpiper
red-winged blackbird blue-winged teal
lark bunting killdeer
Arkansas kingbird —13 14 spp.
—completed nest of wn vesper sparrow, no eggs.

In the afternoon

At Little Alkali:
prairie horned lark prairie chicken
Wilson’s phalarope bluebill
green-winged teal grasshopper sparrow
barn swallow blue-winged teal
Sennett’s nighthawk wn meadowlark
yellow-headed blackbird lark bunting
red-winged blackbird widgeon
sparrow hawk
—15 spp.

kangaroo mice seen as we disturbed pile of dead tules.

At Dad’s Lake
red-winged blackbird Wilson’s phalarope
wn meadowlark mallard
yellow-heded blackbird killdeer
bluebill black-crowned night heron
prairie horned lark blue-winged teal
grasshopper sparrow
In sandhills south of Dad’s Lake:
wn meadowlark grasshopper sparrow
wn vesper sparrow prairie chicken —15 spp.

salamanders — “alkali dogs” — common in shallows of alkaline water at Dad’s Lake


June 9

North of Thedford: list of birds missing, except two first observed here:

Swainson’s hawk rough-legged hawk —2 spp.

Found a nest of sharp-tailed grouse with 6 eggs; set evidently not completed

June 10
In Thedford area:
kingfisher wn meadowlark
yellow-headed blackbird yellowthroat
dove prairie horned lark
wn lark sparrow bell’s vireo
long-tailed chat killdeer
dickcissel goldfinch
bronzed grackle bank swallow
red-winged blackbird cowbird
coot bluejay
bobwhite —19 spp.

As viewed from the railroad, the sandhills seem to end at about Merna.