Thursday, October 22

Lacreek Pheasants and Phalaropes

The following was cut/pasted from the refuge's website...Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located in Bennett County in southwestern South Dakota. The refuge lies in the shallow Lake Creek valley on the northern edge of the Nebraska Sandhills and includes 16,410 acres of native sandhills, sub-irrigated meadows, impounded fresh water marshes, and tall and mixed grass prairie uplands. The refuge serves as an important staging area for migrating Canada geese, other waterfowl, sandhill cranes, shorebirds, and neotropical migrants. Providing critical wintering habitat for the high plains trumpeter swan population is a primary goal. The refuge provides a variety of habitats for resident and migrant wildlife.

There were many pheasant hens and a few males along the road. Pheasant hunters were scattered around the borders of the refuge, which I expected. Pheasant hunting is a major sport in South Dakota. My bird book says that in 2004, pre-hunting season, there were an estimated 8.1 million pheasants in SD. The pheasant was introduced to SD in 1891, 1899, and 1903. Outside of the Black Hills, S Dakota is pretty much all high plains landscape. Perfect pheasant country. They're very skittish and very hard to get good photos of.

There were also plenty of phalaropes, in the water channel. While driving the loop at the refuge, I startled two owls out of a shrub. Couldn't get a photo and don't know what they were. But they were the size of a great horned owl.


  1. poor old pheasant. They are also only bred here to be shot :-(

    go find them Owls again!

  2. I have been wanting to find a wild pheasant in my area but they didn't follow me south when I left central Pa. :( I just love all the colors and patterns on the! Tis hard to deal with the thought that they are bred for hunting only.. ;0

  3. I love to watch the pheasant fight in the spring over the females. They are very colorful in the breeding time with large red wattles. Very nice pictures and a great post. Thanks.