Ankeny NWR.

After reading some interesting bird sightings I decided to head down to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge this morning.  I realized upon arrival that I had never visited in the summer before, and never without the dogs.  This meant I could walk trails!  And not worry the dogs were barking at bunnies or children! 

Hmm, but it was raining when I got there.  And the Pintail Marsh parking area was jam-packed with a fine assortment of trucks to assist with the paving of Wintel Road.  Argh.  I started walking the trail anyway...

The truck activity seemed to be keeping most of the shorebirds in the far ponds, but a few yellowlegs and peeps braved the racket.

I decided to head over to Eagle Marsh and see what was going on there.  Turns out, lots of brown ducks.  Pintails.  Shovelers.  Teals.  My brain hurt trying to pick them apart.  I turned to blackberries for solace.

Yummy.  A Cooper's Hawk gave me the stink eye as I walked past...

A Western Grebe was a nice surprise...

One duck had me scratching my head a bit- some kind of wacky eclipse plumaged something or other... Ring-necked?  Scaup?  Eh?

After a nice long walk at Eagle Marsh I went back to Pintail Marsh and walked the boardwalk trail to the blind.  I couldn't see any shorebirds due to the tall grass, but I did get excellent looks at a Red-shouldered Hawk flying by...

After that I went back to the main parking area for Pintail Marsh and met a very nice birder named Roy.  He showed me a Pectoral Sandpiper with his scope (lifer!) while we looked for the Stilt Sandpiper he had found a couple days ago.  I was not much help but eventually Roy found the bird right in the nearest pond!  Still a bit far for a good photo, but here ya go:

If only that leaf were not obscuring it's slightly drooping bill...  Ah well, another lifer!  And so hatches my new plan to follow around people with scopes and shorebird knowledge... Good times!!


  1. Well done! You keep racking them lifers up. You're going to be outta birds soon...serves you right for making the rest of us feel like failures.

  2. Hi Jen, looks like you found another great place to bird. It is nice to join up with the other birders. Congrats on your new lifers. Happy Birding!

  3. HEY I like your new plan...its amazing what we can find if we go looking for it!!
    WTG on 2 more lifers...I really like that Goldfinch shot. I think your duck is a ring neck...but it def has a different look about it. SO are you moved into your new place with backyard for pooches?


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