by Darcy Thomas

A small group of seven birders joined me on April 13 at Smith Lake in Kila. Although there was still a lot of ice on the lake, there was an adequate amount of open water and we saw a combined total of 39 taxa.

We were greeted by two busy Ruby-crowned Kinglets at the Kila Pub. We watched several Tree Swallows and Mountain Bluebirds checking out nesting boxes. There were eight Sandhill Cranes in various locations foraging in the wet areas. A variety of ducks, both dabbling and diving, as well as grebes and scaup were viewed through the spotting scope. Four Trumpeter Swans graced the far shore and four Bald Eagles were perched in trees around the lake. The group saw Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Goshawk, and a single Peregrine Falcon. There were more birds than I can mention here. We all felt we could have stayed all day had we had a camp chair, a sandwich, and a thermos of coffee.

Scanning for birds on frozen Smith Lake