Sunday, October 21, 2007


I spent about 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning and saw some of the best birds right in my yard. The trees by the garage had the largest mixed species foraging flock I saw all morning. It included year-round residents Black-crested Titmice and Carolina Chickadees, winter residents Oranged-crowned Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and fall migrants Nashville Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler.

Things were pretty slow the rest of the morning. I was afraid it was going to be one of those mornings when I walk 4 or 5 miles and don't find any birds more interesting than the birds right outside my house. But I found this Osprey by the last dam on Lake Creek downstream from the T&C playing fields. I first saw it near Parmer but it flew upstream until it was right over my head. It circled a few times (probably looking for fish in the dammed water there) and then continued upstream. Earlier I saw a bass that was at least 15 inches long in the creek, so hopefully the Osprey will have some luck!

Osprey are large hawks that eat fish. They are common on the coast this time of year, and I often see them on the Colorado River when doing bird surveys at Hornsby Bend. But this is the first one I've seen this fall in our neighborhood. This last pictures shows how you can recognize an Osprey from a distance. They often hold their wings in a shallow "M" shape. Other hawks usually hold their wings flatter, or in a shallow "V" shape up from the body. The Osprey's "M" shape is similar to the slightly bowed wing shapes of many water birds like gulls and terns.
On my way back home I found a single American Pipit in the creek bed, another first-of-season sighting of a winter resident bird species.

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