American Falls Reservoir

Friday, May 31, 2019
Springfield Bottoms to Aberdeen’s Sportsmen’s Park, to Sterling Wildlife Management Area, to American Falls Dam, to American Falls Fish Hatchery, to American Falls Cemetery, to Willow Bay Marina, to home.

Eastern kingbird

Bullock’s oriole

I took this day off so that Melinda and I could have one more day of birding before she heads back to Texas. I had saved this last nearby birding spot for several reasons. The first is that it *is* close by. The second that it has a variety of birding habitats. And finally, if we skip it, that’s okay since most of the birds should have been spotted by us at our other birding activities. A final thought was that I find it hard to bird this area since I do it so infrequently. There is no straight forward auto tour route so it can quickly escalate from a couple of hours (just to get there and back uses that kind of time) to all day. Happily we did see birds we had not yet seen on our other adventures such as a Great egret and a Willow flycatcher. We also got Melinda another bird for her lifelist a Northern waterthrush.

Killdeer in cottonwood snow

I am oh so very allergic to this cottonwood fluff and it was very thick at the Sportsman’s Park. _JLS7724

Instead of starting at American Falls we drove to Blackfoot and took the backroads. There are a lot of great little birding stops. Check out the Idaho Birding Trail website’s Southeast Region for maps.

Willow flycatcher, I’ve never had one pose for me before. So very exciting!

And another Bullock’s oriole, I rarely see these birds so this was awesome.

The ever-present overcast skies and slight rainfall contributed to our success as did the birding by ear practice. We were looking for lunch in American Falls when the rain really started and by the time we were finished so was it. I’ve had success at the Dam, the Fish Hatchery, and the Willow Bay Marina but this year the water was either too high or the birds were hiding. Dave, our brother called us as we stopped at the cemetery. I pulled over because talking, and birding, and driving is one too many things for me. Because of this stop and the slight rain we got to see Dark eyed juncos, Chipping sparrows, and a Red breasted nuthatch. All of them were taking advantage of the Spruce trees. I like this cemetery it is on the cliff above the Snake River and occasionally you can find a Bald Eagle perched in the deciduous trees lining the cliff. We did not luck out this time.

American white pelican’s below the dam

We were back in Pocatello in the early afternoon. Another successful bird day for the team of Melinda & Jenny. I’m flying out to Texas for Christmas and I’m hoping we can get at least one good day of birding then. While driving we discussed another adventure to Alaska, and one to see Whooping cranes in Texas.

– Jenny


  1. House finches
  2. House sparrows
  3. Rock doves
  4. Mourning doves
  5. Eurasian collared doves
  6. Black billed magpies
  7. Killdeer
  8. European starlings
  9. Ring necked pheasants
  10. Canada geese
  11. Yelllow rumped warbler’s (audubons)
  12. Swainson’s hawks
  13. Red winged blackbirds
  14. American robins
  15. Western meadowlarks
  16. Cliff swallows
  17. Yellow warblers
  18. Great egret
  19. American crow
  20. Vesper sparrows
  21. American white pelicans
  22. Double crested cormorants
  23. Clark’s grebes
  24. Western grebes
  25. Lark sparrows
  26. Northern waterthrush
  27. Savannah sparrows
  28. Bullock’s orioles
  29. Common yellowthroat
  30. Western kingbirds
  31. Eastern kingbirds
  32. Bank swallows
  33. Caspian terns
  34. Gadwalls
  35. Ring necked ducks
  36. Redheads
  37. Mallards
  38. Brewer’s blackbirds
  39. Cinnamon teals
  40. Barn swallows
  41. American coots
  42. Yellow headed blacbirds
  43. California gulls
  44. Willow flycatcher
  45. Cassin’s finch
  46. Cedar waxwings
  47. American kestrel
  48. Lark sparrows
  49. Great blue heron
  50. Forster’s tern
  51. Osprey
  52. Lesser goldfinch
  53. Western tanager
  54. Yellow breasted chat
  55. Dark eyed junco (oregon)
  56. Chipping sparrow
  57. Red breasted nuthatch
  58. Black crowned night heron
  59. Black capped chickadee
  60. Common mergansers
  61. Peregrine falcon


  1. Ground squirrels
  2. Cotton tail bunnies
  3. Muskrat

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