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S&G Materials sandpit

Potential IBA

Johnson County  

Directions:  Out of Iowa City, south on Sand Rd. about one mile, on west side of road.

Description:  The S&G Materials sandpit probably falls short of supporting 1,000 waterfowl specimens in migration or 500 in winter. However, in terms of variety of species on any given day in season, I maintain it is the most productive waterfowl spot in Johnson County. In five years I have had 27 species of waterfowl including all four geese, Tundra Swan, and 22 duck species, these latter including American Black Duck, Greater Scaup (16 in five incidents), White-winged Scoter, and Long-tailed Duck (3 in two incidents). All others are annual visitors, albeit some only in handfuls. Also notable on or about the water have been Pacific Loon (summer record, 2001), Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, American and Least Bittern, Cattle Egret, Yellow Rail, 20 species of shorebird (though recent changes have virtually eliminated these visitors), Black-legged Kittiwake, and Black Tern (every year, though usually briefly). Osprey is an annual migration visitor, usually in both seasons, and at least a few Bald Eagles are winter mainstays each year. Lastly, for its size the sandpit holds an uncanny attraction for American Coots, with October peaks of 2500 birds in 1998 and 2100 in 2001. In all, 83 species have been recorded that were present due directly to the main body of water and its shoreline habitat. S&G Materials is a business and allows no trespassing due to insurance concerns. I obtained permission to trespass the property for the sake of birding in 1997; in exchange they asked for reports of sightings there for use in their meetings with DNR representatives. The one request I have made of them in my history with S&G was to leave off mowing the fields around the main water, in 2000, and they have indeed gone along with this. As a result Dickcissel and Eastern Meadowlark have become noticeable residents. The great hope is for Henslow’s Sparrow, which I believe the field tract is large enough to support.

Criteria for this site
Significant species concentrations


Habitats found in this site
Wetland
Grassland


Ownership
Private


S&G Materials sandpit





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