Sunday, April 5, 2009

NASWC Bird Walk

10 of us participated in the April NASWC Bird Walk this morning. It was sunny and clear but there was a strong cold north wind blowing all morning that made finding birds a little harder than usual. Still we managed to find 30 species on the short stretch of Lake Creek Trail from the parking lot at the end of Braes Valley to the footbridge. We were out for almost 2 hours and here are the highlights:
  • We saw a Ladder-backed Woodpecker perched on a power pole near the parking lot. This is a common bird in the Austin area but I don't see them very often in the neighborhood.
  • We heard the very distinctive song of several White-eyed Vireos throughout the morning, and even got brief looks at one. Many of these birds are moving north through the neighborhood now, and just a few will stay here for the summer.
  • Near Holbrook St. we had 3 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers fly over us on their way north. This was a first-of-the-year sighting for me in the neighborhood. It's nice to see these beautiful summer-resident birds returning.
  • In a dense patch of woods near the footbridge some of us got a quick look at a Red-shouldered Hawk flying low and fast through the trees in front of us.
  • In this same area we encountered a small group of migrating songbirds that included several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and at least 2 Nashville Warblers.
  • We spent some time on the footbridge where the birding is almost always good, and we got good looks at a male Belted Kingfisher, a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds with the male displaying for the female, 2 American Robins in the creek bed, and 2 Mourning Doves on the wires. I got a picture of the doves (see the top of this post) that shows their long pointed tails and the dark spots on their backs -- 2 good ways to distinguish Mourning Doves from the more common neighborhood White-winged Doves.

1 comment:

Gracen Duffield said...

Thanks for the tour this morning, Mikael. As always, your knowledge and willingness to share are admirable.

I snapped a couple photos this morning that are part of my flickr set: