In about a month, on the wide open prairie of central North Dakota, one of the most charming and wonderful birding festivals will be in full swing. Carrington, North Dakota will be invaded by bands of excited birders for the annual Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival, one of my favorite events every year.
If one or more of the bird species listed below sounds appealing to you (or remains unchecked on your life list) you should consider coming to Carrington for the 2010 festival, which runs from June 9 to 13. Among the target/highlight species: Chestnut-collared longspur, Sprague's pipit, Nelson's (sharp-tailed) sparrow, LeConte's sparrow, Baird's sparrow, gray partridge, sharp-tailed grouse, ferruginous hawk, white-rumped sandpiper, plus large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds.
There are reasons other than the birds to come to this festival:
- The P&PBF is a relatively small event, so field trip groups are small too, with expert local leaders.
- It's hard to get lost in a place where all the roads run at right angles to one another.
- You can stop to look at birds along most of these roads and rarely have to worry about oncoming traffic.
- Spending time on the wide-open prairie does one's soul good.
- So does the delicious soup and pie at the local cafes where we often eat lunch.