A Morning at Imperial Grasslands

Recently, a lot of good sightings have been coming in from Imperial Grasslands, a well known birding spot close to my house. So, my dad and I went down this weekend to see what we could find. The main thing that I was looking for were the snow buntings that have been in the area all winter. My dad and I had tried for them a few months back and hadn’t found them so we were hoping that this time we would have better luck. Also, the day before there had been a long-tailed duck at what has been dubbed the Main Pond. We were hoping to find that along with just generally bird the area.
The first interesting bird sighting came as we were driving to the grasslands. We kept on seeing small flocks of red-winged blackbirds along the side of the road. They are just starting to return to the area and I was excited to see them as it means spring migration is almost here. We also passed a leusistic red-tailed hawk along the side of the highway!
After paying the $.75 toll to,exit the highway, we pulled into the main pond and scanned to see what was there. We were greeted by 10 ring-necked ducks milling across the pond. There was also a female canvasback which is a pretty good bird for this location. Further scanning revealed a male red-breasted merganser (a bird that had been seen over the last few days). Besides that there were the usual mallards and Canada geese along with red-winged blackbirds and two killdeer (another sign that spring has sprung). After soaking in the scene, we moved on to the area where the snow buntings had been seen.
We drove along the road going through the area but didn’t find any snow buntings. It looks like they evaded me again. Oh well, we did see a raven and hear the first meadowlark of the year.
We then drove back to the main pond to check the ponds in the grassland area behind it. When we arrived we found a northern harrier hunting over the grassland. We then moved on to the other ponds where we found a hooded merganser as well as two belted kingfisher and a fly over common grackle.
All in all it was a good day of birding that made me remember that spring is on its way and the woods will soon be filled with the noise of warblers, tanagers, orioles, and buntings.

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