Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Great Start to 2009

I spent the entire first morning of 2009 birding the neighborhood. I left the house just after dawn and returned at noon having found 57 species, 2 of which I hadn't seen here since 2006! I spent about 45 minutes walking down Stillforest and Meadowheath to the Lake Creek Trail footbridge, and those streets were quieter than they have ever been. Just a few cars passed by and there was no one else on foot. As usual, the footbridge was alive with birds, including many Yellow-rumped Warblers, a few Song Sparrows, an Eastern Phoebe, a Lincoln's Sparrow, Northern Cardinals, and about 15 Dark-eyed Juncos. Just across the bridge I found 2 White-throated Sparrows and a Spotted Towhee. I got this picture of the Towhee, the best I've gotten so far of this species, although there's still room for improvement. (Spotted Towhees like to stay in the dense brush, so good photo opportunities of them are rare.)

Just downstream from the bridge there were 2 Killdeer, a few American Pipits, and 6 Greater Yellowlegs foraging on the creek. Ever since I've lived here there have been 10-15 Greater Yellowlegs that spend the winter on our creek and it was nice to see them again. I got this picture of one.

At the end of the trail near the new Parmer Village development, I was planning on checking the new drainage pond for ducks but some bicyclists beat me to it. Before I got there they rode past the pond and scared up a flock of about 35 ducks that I had to identify in the air. They were mostly Lesser Scaup, with a few Gadwall mixed in. This was exciting because I have not seen a Lesser Scaup in the NASWC area since February 2006! They flew downstream over Parmer Lane.

On my long walk back, I decided to take Sherbourne, a new favorite street of mine to find birds. (This was where I found the Red-naped Sapsucker a few weeks ago.) I wasn't disappointed. Near my house, in a small mixed species foraging flock I found a single very bright Pine Warbler. This is another bird I haven't seen in the neighborhood since February 2006. I got this poor picture, which does not do the bird justice.

What a great way to start the year!


Anonymous said...

We saw our first Yellow-rumped Warbler ever today walking along the Chattahoochee River a few miles from our house.

Congrats on a good start to the 2009 birding year!

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks Mark!