Sunday, November 2, 2008

NASWC Bird Walk

There were 7 of us for the November NASWC bird walk this morning and we did pretty well, finding 43 species of birds. We met at the Parmer Village development, the eastern end of the new county-built Lake Creek Trail. Before the walk started I took the above picture of a Great Blue Heron flying up the creek in front of the rising sun. We saw a nice variety of wintering native sparrows this morning -- 6 different species. And we had good luck with hawks too. Here are some highlights:
  • First off we checked a patch of marsh on the creek and found Swamp Sparrows. The looks we got were brief but I estimated there were at least 4 birds in the reeds.
  • Downstream we found a single Song Sparrow and 3 Vesper Sparrows.
  • Near the last dam on the creek we saw an Osprey fly over, which we later found perched, and then later saw flying away with a fish in its claws. We also had a close flyover by a Red-shouldered Hawk.
  • In the woods nearby we all got great looks at a Spotted Towhee. For me this was the bird of the morning. It's a large sparrow that is usually very shy and difficult to see. It's a winter resident here, but I only see one every 5 or 6 times I bird the neighborhood so it was great to show one to the group. It's also one of the most dramatically colored sparrows.
  • On our way back we found 3 Chipping Sparrows in a patch of trees, and then this White-crowned Sparrow right on the hike-and-bike trail.

  • At the beginning of the walk an accipiter (either a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk) flew by us low after another bird and briefly landed on the ground before continuing through the trees. And at the end of the walk we watched a Sharp-shinned Hawk soaring overhead.
  • Back at the meeting spot we briefly saw the same B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that flew over the neighborhood yesterday!

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