Sunday, October 19, 2008

Returning Sparrows, a Neat Warbler

I birded the neighborhood yesterday (Saturday) morning and today. Yesterday all I had time to post was a quick note about that black rabbit. (What an interesting experience that was!) So this post covers the birds I found both days. Yesterday I birded Lake Creek Trail and the surrounding woods from the new parking lot at the end of Braes Valley to the last creek crossing on the T&C playing fields. (I got this picture of a couple White-tailed Deer not far from the parking lot.) Between the parking lot and the footbridge the most interesting birds were:
  • 2 Brown Thrashers
  • I found my first White-throated Sparrow of the season. Soon their faint call notes will be common in the low dense brush.
  • A Wilson's Snipe flew overhead near the end of Braeburn Glen. This was also a first-of-season neighborhood sighting for me. During the winter Wilson's Snipe are a common but very well hidden resident of the creek bed.
  • 2 Hermit Thrushes were in the woods near the footbridge. This bird is another returning winter resident of our area.
  • I got this decent picture of a Lincoln's Sparrow near the end of Briar Hollow. This is our most common native sparrow in the winter.

Along the trail through the T&C playing fields I found 2 more native sparrows for the first time this fall: 2 Savannah Sparrows in the creek bed near the Meadowheath parking lot and a single Vesper Sparrow foraging in a patch of grass near the last creek crossing. The entire time I walked through the playing fields I heard Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in one of the huge cottonwood trees along the creek. But they stayed hidden in the tree's large leaves, so I thought there were just 2 or 3 individuals. Finally I looked up to see 8 flycatchers flying over the creek at once, chasing each other around and flashing black, white, and pink before returning to the cottonwood. I love seeing these large groups of migrating Scissortails this time of year.

This morning I got up late and birded some neighborhood streets that I usually don't visit like Longvale, Shasta, and Newberry. It was a beautiful, peaceful, cool morning, and I got to meet a couple more neighbors. The birding highlight was finding a large mixed species foraging flock of songbirds in the trees on Sherbourne that included Carolina Chickadees, Black-crested Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Blue-headed Vireo, and a Black-throated Green Warbler. I was most excited to see the warbler, which is an uncommon south-bound migrant through the area right now. Plus, it's a sharp-looking bird with a bright yellow face contrasting its black throat and upper breast. I managed to get this mediocre picture:
Interestingly, the last time I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler was on September 21, also on Sherbourne.

No comments: