Sunday, October 18, 2009

Influx of Winter Birds

I spent over 4 hours birding the neighborhood this morning and it was wonderful. For the past few weeks I've either been out of town or I've been involved in group birding activities. So I've been aching to just get out by myself and bird my own familiar turf. I didn't have to worry about maintaining schedules or giving driving directions or showing other people the birds that I spotted. This morning I treated myself to the basics. I just looked and listened for birds and forgot about the clock.

I was pleased to find 50 species of birds this morning, including a few south-bound migrants. And was was most exciting was finding the first substantial numbers of winter-resident species. Right on Broadmeade I found 2 large mixed-species foraging flocks of songbirds in the trees that included many of our winter resident Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Orange-crowned Warblers, and a few of the south-bound Nashville Warblers and a single Black-throated Green Warbler. The Ruby-crowned Kinglets were all over the place, and here's one I found by the footbridge on Lake Creek Trail.

In our neighborhood, most native sparrows are only here in the winter. (Our year-round resident House Sparrows were introduced here from the old world many years ago.) I was pleased to find a few Lincoln's Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, and one Savannah Sparrow along the creek. I also saw a few meadowlarks long our hike and bike trail. One of them flushed and flew up onto a Rattlebush plant and allowed me to get this photo. (I cannot tell if this bird is an Eastern or Western Meadowlark. The easiest way is by their song, and all the meadowlarks I saw this morning were quiet.)

I found 5 species of woodpeckers this morning, which is the most I've ever seen in one outing in our neighborhood. 3 of these were year-round residents -- Downy, Red-bellied, and Ladder-backed. But the other 2 were newly arrived winter residents. I counted 6 Northern Flickers and got this picture of one along the creek.

And I was excited to find just 1 first-year Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the woods by the last dam on the creek. Here's a picture I got of it.

I had pretty good luck seeing hawks too. I found 2 American Kestrels (a winter resident species), 2 Swainson's Hawks (on their way south), and heard 1 Broad-winged Hawk (probably on its way south too). What a morning!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you saw an amazing variety of birds and captured some fabulous pictures! I still need to see a Flicker. Thanks for the great post.