Mary Riley Road - Westville

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This road typifies the best of birding along the Border. Just after turning onto Mary Riley Road, check the drainage ditch across from the barn and scan the adjacent cornfields for waterfowl - a pair of Northern Pintail may be mixed in with flocks of American Black Duck and Mallard. Muddy edges here, or at a pond across the road from the second farm, often have migrant shorebirds from early July into fall, the mix of species and numbers changing daily: perhaps Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, or Least Sandpiper, plus nesting Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, and Wilson's Snipe. The open fields along the northbound stretch often have Wild Turkey and Northern Harrier, and singing Savannah Sparrow is regular in summer. Check the powerline cut across the more forested westbound leg for Eastern Towhee. Mary Riley Road had singing male Clay-colored Sparrow in the 1980s and 90s, but not during 2000-05, perhaps due to habitat changes- birders should still be on the alert for the low, insect-like bzzz-bzzz-bzzz of this western rarity in early summer. Excellent camping facilities on the banks of the Salmon River at nearby Pine Ridge Park in Westville Center.

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