Nebraska, May 2015—passerines
Least Flycatcher – Common migrant and by far the most common
Cliff Swallows – gathering mud for their nests.
Horned Lark – nicely demonstrating why it's called “horned”
Bell's Vireo – this was the very first species that I ever identified by hearing its song on a recording, back in 1962. The bird had been such a mystery and I'll never forget how electrifying it was to hear that exact sound coming out of the record player!
Warbling Vireo – very common in eastern Nebraska
Louisiana Waterthrush. There are several southeastern species that reach their northwestern limit of distribution along the Missouri River in Nebraska. Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-throated Vireo were two of them, but they have extended their range westward since I left Nebraska. They were county firsts for me in my home county on this trip.
Yellow Warbler – probably the most common warbler.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – very common in eastern Nebraska, but not too photogenic.
Black-headed Grosbeak – replaces Rose-breasted in western Nebraska.
Eastern Towhee – in Nebraska, you have to distinguish Eastern from Spotted Towhees. This one has fairly large white patches in the wing, but you can see that the back and scapulars are solid black.
Spotted Towhee – you can just make out the white spots on back and scapulars.
Lark Sparrow – a pretty common sparrow.
Lincoln's Sparrow – I saw several, but none too photogenic.
Harris's Sparrow – I was there just in time to see a single late straggler of one of my favorite winter birds. I first saw these on my very first real birding outing in 1961. Wish this one had been more cooperative.
Great-tailed Grackle – This species has invaded the state since I left. I only encountered it once on this trip though.