Having the day off of work for President's Day we determined to make another Mortensen family day of adventure. The plan was to go find and explore the wind caves near the farming community of Oreana. It had been raining and the dirt roads were pretty muddy, so while in route we made a course change and decided to head toward the mining ghost town of Silver City. You'd think growing up in this area I would have known better, but Silver City is pretty much snowed in this time of year. We made it several miles up Silver Creek Road, but once we saw the snowmobile trailers we knew it was time to turn around. We saw dozens of my first-of-year(FOY) Horned Larks. Around Walter's Ferry at the Snake River I also saw my FOY Western Meadowlark.
Since we hadn't been able to get the kids out of the back seat of the cramped pick-up truck yet, they were getting pretty restless. We beelined it for the town of Marsing where we knew we would find food to calm the beasts. They were pacified by the pizza at "The Spot" restaurant and my promises to take them down to the river after lunch. My secret plot was to take them down the river park and let them play while I looked for the Green Heron which has been seen two years in a row at this location. We walked out on the the rickety boat dock which the kids found to be as fun as a carnival ride. I scanned the shorelines and tallied up some waterfowl species. From behind us I heard the "gronking" (did I just make up a word?) of a heron. There it was flying overhead and circling over the river, my first Idaho Green Heron! Its green and rusty colors looked gorgeous. In Arizona I had seen a few Green Herons, their stalky forms on the edge of ponds. But this was the first I had seen in flight. Certainly a bird I took for granted in my early days of birding which I now appreciate so much more.