by Darcy Thomas

Smith Lake Field Trip courtesy Niusha Hadizomerooic

Eleven hardy birders braved the cold, windy morning on April 10th to go bird watching around Smith Lake. We were rewarded for our discomfort by spending a morning in great company and seeing many beautiful birds.

We saw a total of 31 species. Our highlights included Sandhill Cranes which we saw at our first stop by Kila Pub and again at our last stop on the south side of the lake. We also saw the Grey Ghost or male Northern Harrier along with his mate. A male American Kestrel posed on a fence post for a long time so everyone got a good look at this through the spotting scope. Several Great Blue Heron flew in from the West over the trees to forage along the lake which was filled with many coots, geese and ducks. We had both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck, American Wigeon, Mallard and a Pied-billed Grebe.

To top these off we got to see brilliant blue Mountain Bluebirds. Three girls ages 9, 13 and 15 were along and it is always nice to see young people interested in the natural world. 

Sandhill Crane courtesy Linda Dulac