Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Continues

I enjoyed a cool morning today birding the Lake Creek Trail, from the new parking lot at the end of Braes Valley, downstream to the last dam on the creek. I found 48 species, but not a single Baltimore Oriole. I guess the peak of their fall migration through our area is over. But I did find some other interesting birds. This White-eyed Vireo was singing and actively foraging near the end of Briar Hollow. I was pleased to get this picture of it. (This is about as sharp a picture of a small bird as my compact camera can take.) A few of these birds breed in our neighborhood over the summer. They only get their white eyes as adults. So because this bird's eyes are not as bright white as others I've seen, I wonder if this bird hatched this summer.

I counted 3 Ladder-backed Woodpeckers this morning. I'm usually lucky to see even one. It's a very common woodpecker, but in my experience it's rare in the neighborhood. I think this is because it prefers more open and drier habitat than we have here. But besides this morning, in the past few months I have been seeing and hearing them in the neighborhood more often. So maybe more are using our neighborhood than before. (Or maybe I'm just getting better at finding them!) I found a male and a female in a patch of woods by the creek just downstream of the T&C playing fields. I got this picture of the male:

This pair of woodpeckers was in loose association with a few fall migrants including a male Wilson's Warbler (the only warbler I saw this morning), a Least Flycatcher, and the first House Wren I've seen this season. Nearby I was excited to see an Olive-sided Flycatcher hawking insects from the top of a dead tree. This bird breeds in the coniferous forests of the Rocky Mountains and the boreal forest in Canada, and it winters in Panama and the Andes of South America. We only get to see them in the spring and the fall as a few pass through. Here's the picture I got:

In the woods between the last dam and Anderson Mill Road I found a Carolina Chickadee, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraging together in the upper tree canopy. The Kinglet was also a first-of-season sighting for me. Ruby-crowned Kinglets and House Wrens are winter residents here and south into Mexico and Central America. The kinglets are especially common in the trees of our neighborhood during the winter. So it was great to finally see one again after the long hot summer!

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