Lincoln — The bird identification app Merlin heard the following birds during the early mornings of July 23-29 on the north half of our tallgrass prairie and riparian woods at 5840 West Superior.
The property is in the process of receiving a conservation easement, but two neighboring properties to the north and east, currently grasslands, may soon be developed. If that happens, how many of these species will disappear? Likely a majority of them.
July 23. Red-eyed Vireo, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, Field Sparrow, American Crow, House Wren, Red-headed Woodpecker, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay
24. (additional) Vesper Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper, Eastern Kingbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Yellowthroat, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Gray Catbird, Grasshopper Sparrow, House Finch, Red-tailed Hawk
25. (additional) Cooper's Hawk, Great-tailed Grackle, Eastern Meadowlark
26. (additional) Dickcissel
27. (additional) Yellow-throated Vireo
28. (additional) Great-crested Flycatcher, Brown Thrasher
29. (additional) Killdeer
Total July 23-29: 34 species
Unexpectedly absent from the Merlin list (heard or seen at other times): Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Red-winged Blackbird, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Orchard Oriole.
And what about butterflies and other pollinators? Monarchs were spotted frequently during the last week of July, especially on Whorled milkweed, Common milkweed, and Butterfly milkweed. Wachiska Audubon reports in its August newsletter that the 17-acre aforementioned grassland to the east, owned by the City, "was hayed a few weeks ago, and by the end of July the native grasses and forbs had really taken off. There were dozens of common milkweed plants that were over two feet tall after the haying and some timely rains...." Wachiska deserves credit for clearing invasives from this parcel to give grassland birds and pollinators a chance.