Shorebirds in Idaho

View of Bruneau Arm from Jack’s Creek.

June 19 – 20, 2020.

It was a little disappointing that we didn’t get to kayak on the Snake River. When we were at Swan Falls the weather turned bad on the days we had lined up for kayaking and at Celebration Park, north of the Swan Falls dam, the current ran too fast for a leisurely paddle. So I pulled up the map on my phone and looked for a suitable spot of water where we could launch Pirogue Bleue (our inflatable kayak) at our next stop.

Further south on the river was another dam. At the dam was the CJ Strike Reservoir and a slim channel called the Narrows leading from the reservoir to a body of water called the Bruneau Arm. The Bruneau Arm looked calm and peaceful. And bonus, it had a free camping area, Jack’s Creek, on one small stretch of its banks. Perfect!

The campsites at Jack’s Creek were mostly just places you could pull off the dirt road that led along the water. Some pull-offs were big enough for a family outing with tents, a car, and a powerboat, and some like the one we pulled into just big enough for a small rig like ours and a place to set out some chairs.

As usual, the first thing we did on arrival was to walk around. We were pretty excited to see some birds right away – a red-tailed hawk, some American Avocets wading in the water, a red-winged blackbird. But the real bird haul would happen the next day.

What I didn’t realize when I saw Bruneau Arm on the map was that it was fed by Bruneau River Delta. River Delta? Are we still in Idaho? The delta was just the kind of kayaking I love – narrow meandering paths through dense vegetation. Up at the crack of dawn the next morning we put Pirogue Bleue in the water and paddled off into the Idaho reeds. There we found a variety of birds but the most surprising thing we found on our outing was all the “shorebirds.” I don’t think we have ever seen as many “shorebirds” on the actual seashore. Another Idaho surprise. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

* Click pics to enlarge and view in a slideshow. They’re better that way!

Our campsite at Jack’s Creek.

American Avocet.

Red-tailed Hawk. When we came upon this hawk he was being chased by a group of smaller birds. He had one of their kind firmly grasped in his talons. They chased him into a tree but soon scattered. Afterwards, he did a flyover of the area – perhaps a victory lap.

Cobalt Milkweed Beetle.

Red-winged Blackbird. I know, where are the red-wings on this non-black bird? Apparently the females of the species are a bit less showy.

Early morning launch on Bruneau Arm.

We spotted these American Avocets on the water before we entered the delta.

Entering the river delta.

Red-winged Blackbird.

Marsh Wren.

A trio of Eastern Spot-billed Ducklings.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck.

Song Sparrow.

Great Blue Heron. We “chased” this guy down the delta a ways until he finally decided to pose for a picture.

We kayaked as far as we could up the delta but eventually the current got too strong and we had to turn around and head back out into open water.

Once we left the delta we spotted a beaucoup of American white pelicans.

Lots of pelicans.

More pelicans.

And more “shorebirds,” California Gulls.

California Gull.

California Gull.

Also Forster’s Terns.

Forster’s Tern.

Double-crested Cormorants flying away. American White Pelican being chill.

Taking off. American White Pelican.

We were almost done kayaking for the day when we decided to turn back into a little corner of the delta. This where we spotted a black-necked stilt.

More black-necked stilt.

More of what we are used to – mallards flying away.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck paddling away.

Double-crested Cormorants.

The cormorants hanging with the pelicans.


Have you ever visited anywhere where you were surprised by the wildlife? Did you know there were shorebirds in Idaho?

10 thoughts on “Shorebirds in Idaho

  1. I don’t notice birds much but they seem to be gravitating to the trees in my backyard, noisily! I find myself watching them, wondering what they’re doing flying from one tree to the other, resting, and then moving on.

    • Duwan said:

      Birds are busy creatures. Oftentimes by the time I see a bird, turn my camera on, lift it to my eye, and zoom out they are gone. A friend just sent us a book called the Genius of Birds so maybe soon we will find out what they are doing.

  2. I mentioned my surprise at the shorebirds in Idaho in one of your previous blogs. Weird phenomenon… So nice that you were surrounded by birds on this kayaking adventure. It might not have worked out on the Snake River, but maybe this trip on the delta made up for that. ūüôā

    • Duwan said:

      It was definitely better. We scouted out our potential Snake River kayak when we were hiking – it looked like it would be nice but not as nearly interesting as the Bruneau Delta ended up being.

  3. Meredith said:

    Just wonderful photos! We love your blog; always brightens our day. Your photos are stunning. So very glad you are having such a wonderful sojourn. We are good; settled in upstate NY and glad to be here.ūüėė‚̧ԳŹ Meredith and Ed

    • Duwan said:

      Thank you! So glad you got to NY and out of Arizona. I hope the weather is lovely and you are enjoying your place!

  4. Ernestine Killian said:

    Wow!! What beautiful pictures!! Thanks for sharing your many adventures.

    • Duwan said:

      You are so welcome Teen! I hope you are enjoying your beautiful new home!

  5. It’s a pretty area. I passed through there in September 2013, but I didn’t know about camping options. I was new at the game. However, I discovered Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl. They make it with milk from their own dairy cows.

    • Duwan said:

      There were actually lots of different camping options but of course we went for the free one which really worked out. We passed right by the Creamery, if we ever go back we will have to stop.

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