Saturday, June 4

Around the Pond

So much for spring...we had a whole month of colder-than-usual, wetter-than-usual spring weather for the month of May and this weekend we've jumped right into summer with temps some days in the higher 80's F. Not that this is unusual here in S Dakota (at least not in the past seven years)! The plains winds are as wiley as usual so it makes it hard to get out w/ the camera despite the nice temp. I'm having issues with my Blog right now, but hopefully it'll resolve itself soon...anyway, thank you for the recent comments, I do really enjoy and appreciate them!

I was asked if the mariposa lily grows in the Badlands...not that I've seen, but the gumbo lily does.

This is the final photos from my recent drive E of the Hills, out around the farms/ranches...I left off near 'the pond' that I was heading for via the backroads..... 

Another bird commonly seen in the grasslands, in summer, is the lark bunting...they're always seen in groups, paired up on the wires (below)...the male is black, female light brown...these birds will follow you down the road if you're driving slow trying to get photos....they keep flying away, landing, flying away...

The upland sandpiper is a lot less skittish; it's hell-bent on doing its head-bobbing ritual (mating display?), like a robot moving in slow-mo...I still can't get over how out-of-place this bird looks, far from any shoreline...

At the pond, the yellow-headed blackbirds are back for the summer as well...they nest in the tall pond grasses along the water's edge...

The same goes for the eared grebes...last yr they built nests on top of the marsh grasses near the shore by the road but this year the dead reeds were all chopped down...but nice to see them anyway (see side bar for last yr photo of nesting grebe).....

Both sexes look the same but I'd guess the more pronounced crest belongs to the courting males...

Esp. looking at this photo (above), it looked like a really popular female (2nd from rt.) got to pick from a trio of suitors..... 

Also seen on the pond, a blue-winged teal pair.

Happy early summer, everyone! Hopefully I'll get out w/ the camera again soon...I've got a mental list of places I want to go this summer...gotta pick and choose due to these gas prices...


  1. Hi Jann.
    I think my favourite photo is the Upland Sandpiper. Like you say, it is strange the way certain waders breed way inland.
    it's a pity the male Blue Winged Teal isn't more side ways on, there a pretty bird. Nice blog.
    PS. It seems lots of us are having probs with our blogs at the moment.

  2. I'm starting to recognize grebes, because of your blog Jann, my knowledge of ducks was very faint! I love the little Bunting!

  3. Nice blog and awesome photos! I can almost feel the water moving!

  4. Just wondering where the pond is? Elk Creek Road? If you dont mind my asking, how do you get to it? Have never seen Eared Grebes so thought we might check it out on our next trip.
    Enjoying your photos btw.

  5. Yes the pond is on Elk Creek Rd, about a mile east of Haines Ave, it's the dirt road part of EC Rd. The grebes are there all summer, hatching and raising their chicks.

  6. Been looking at the maps...Is this Elk Creek Rd going east out of Piedmont? If so, any idea of miles from Piedmont? Thanks so much!

  7. Hi Jann, I just found your have some outstanding photos here and great bird finds!! Congratulations! I'm a native South Dakotan living in SC Kansas. You are living in my dream location :-))

  8. Anonymous, yes this is Elk Creek Road E out of Piedmont. The pond is about 5 miles from I-90. You cross over N Haines Ave., where the road becomes unpaved. From Haines it's just about one mile down the road. The grebes are there until Sept. when the chicks are old enough to leave, I'm guessing.