April 23 Sunnyside Wildlife Area
Field Trip Summary
On April 23, five birders joined me for a tour of the headquarters unit of the Sunnyside Wildlife Area. The marshes around Giffen Lake host wonderful spring habitat for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, plus breeding habitat for many species. Late April is a great time to see these migrating birds and the returning breeding birds that inhabit the marshes. The day of the trip, the weather was a wonderful morning for a walk around the marshes. In total, 54 species were found during the morning walk.
Breeding birds such as Marsh Wren and Yellow-headed Blackbirds were abundant, and their songs were constant. Waterfowl did not disappoint with many Cinnamon Teal and a pair of its rarer relative, the Blue-winged Teal. A few lingering Bufflehead were mixed in with the Northern Shoveler and Redheads. In early April the marshes had an amazing number of Black-necked Stilt with counts exceeding 150. On this field trip 59 remained, along with 7 American Avocet. Other shorebird species seen included Dunlin, Least Sandpiper and the always entertaining displaying Wilson’s Snipe.
The trip was rounded out with hearing some of the more secretive birds of the marsh including Virginia Rail, Sora and American Bittern. A wonderful morning walk enjoyed by all.