Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Changes along the Trail

While I was birding Saturday morning I was surprised and disappointed to find that the big dead tree at the end of Meadowheath near the new foot bridge had been taken down. Dead trees can be important resources to birds for foraging and nesting cavities. Also dead trees make high, open perches that are much safer than power line poles or cell phone towers. Off the top of my head, here's a list of birds I've seen on this tree. (The picture links to a page with several other pictures I've taken of this tree over the years.)
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Osprey
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Northern Flicker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • American Robin
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • European Starling
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • House Finch
The creek had also been mowed. Last year I tried to find out how often the county mows the creek and I never did. My guess is every 2 years. Without the tall grass and reeds, Red-winged Blackbirds will probably be much less common this winter.

At the last dam on Lake Creek about a quarter mile east of the T&C playing fields, the people constructing the hike-and-bike trail have partially diverted the creek from flowing through the dense greenbelt on the east side. Water is now mostly flowing in the main creek bed. This usually only happens after heavy rains. I don't know if this is permanent or not, of if it's good or bad. But the creek is beautiful where it flows through the dense greenbelt. Even though it's only accessibly by wading, I'd hate to see it dry up.

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