Sunday, September 7, 2008

NASWC Bird Walk

12 people (including me) attended the bird walk this morning -- a new record! I think the most I've had previously was 7. Wow! Maybe the slightly cooler weather brought a few more people out. It was just below 70 degrees when we began at 7:30 AM. We spent almost 3 hours covering less than half a mile from the new Lake Creek Trail parking lot to the footbridge. We found 42 species of birds. Here are a few highlights:
  • Just a couple of us got a quick look at a male Blue Grosbeak near the end of Holbrook St.
  • Cave Swallows were almost constantly overhead. The most we saw at one time was about 20.
  • We got good looks at several Inca Doves, or smallest neighborhood-resident dove. We even got to see the reddish-brown wing patches when they flew. Here's a picture of one I got last weekend:
  • Lots of orioles are moving through the area. We saw a few female Orchard Orioles early in the walk and we ran into several small groups of Baltimore Orioles throughout the morning. It was very hard to see these sneaky birds hidden in the leaves, but most of us got at least one brief look at a brilliant male Baltimore Oriole before the walk was over.
  • We spent at least 30 minutes just standing on the footbridge watching birds. There was a brilliant male Yellow Warbler, 2 Great Crested Flycatchers, 5 or 6 black and yellow Lesser Goldfinches chasing each other around, a male Downy Woodpecker basking on a wire, a male Red-bellied Woodpecker across the creek, and an Eastern Phoebe. My favorite moment was when a first-year Red-shouldered Hawk flew over us clearly showing the light crescents under the ends of its wings. I'm probably leaving something out. This footbridge is a great birding spot!
  • On our way back ,near the parking lot there were several interesting birds in the willow trees by the creek including a first-year Mourning Warbler, the first I've seen this season. The other birds were a Least Flycatcher, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, 2 Wilson's Warblers, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a female Painted Bunting.
We usually cover more ground on these walks, but this morning the best strategy seemed to be to stay in one place and let the birds find us. It worked pretty well I think. And it makes me think about participating in The Big Sit this year, which is coming up on October 12.


Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog this afternoon. So glad I found it. New to birding and it is the best hobby. Saw a male Baltimore Oriole yesterday afternoon on a tree in my backyard. It was awesome. I live in Circle C in SW Austin. I will be reading your blog daily now---so much I can learn.


Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks Angela! I wish I could update my blog daily. Unfortunately I've been averaging only 1 or 2 updates per week. Check out my NASWC articles too.