Mallards near the south lake outlet at sunset, 2/25/12 (Kevin Kane)
Little was found on the main lakes this morning. A small flock of Lesser Scaup left the north lake and headed off to the northwest. Mallards still outnumbered other ducks and geese. As I was riding down the Upland Trail, near the north trailhead, I heard a familiar call. I quickly stopped and looked skyward. Two Sandhill Cranes circled above before heading off to the east. (I have recorded this species here 4 times before [1998, 2004, 2007, & 2008], mostly in flight.) (I spent last Sunday and Monday in Nebraska, between Grand Island and Kearney, watching and listening to the wondrous spectacle that is the crane migration.) A Northern Shrike landed in a tree in the amphitheater woods (along the Upland Trail). One was also sighted yesterday, along the south side of the south lake's west bay. Northern Shrikes have been quite common this Winter season. It's quite possible that it is the same individual each time.
During the past week I observed the following: Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, and Hooded Merganser. On the 7th, I found a mixed flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, and European Starlings (in decreasing order of abundance) in the burn area, near the north Upland Trail trailhead.