Sunday, May 2, 2010

NASWC Bird Walk

7 people participated in this month's NASWC Bird Walk this morning. May is usually the most exciting month of the walk, since so many migrating birds are moving through the area right now. We started at the Braes Valley parking lot and ended up staying on Lake Creek Trail for almost 4 hours. We found 52 species of birds. The morning started out overcast with just a tiny bit of rain, but by 11:00 the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Here are some highlights.
  • Throughout the morning we saw at least 20 Baltimore Orioles and a few Orchard Orioles. It's a real treat to see these colorful birds since we only get to see them in the neighborhood during migration.
  • We found these 6 species of migrating warblers: Yellow, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Common Yellowthroat, and American Redstart. My favorite was the Chestnut-sided Warbler, which we found near the footbridge.
  • Also near the footbridge we found this Great Crested Flycatcher singing across the creek. These breed here in the neighborhood and it was a great chance to learn its song, which is common here in the summer.
  • From the footbridge we saw 4 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons on the creek, another neighborhood summer resident species.
  • We decided to walk through the T&C playing fields and found this interesting sandpiper among 25 Least Sandpipers. At the time I thought it was a Semipalmated Sandpiper but after looking closely at the photos I took I now think it's a Baird's Sandpiper. One thing that finally convinced me is that its wings are slightly longer than its tail.
  • While we were looking at more shorebirds in the creek bed near the downstream edge of the playing fields, a flock of at least 35 Mississippi Kites flew by, headed north. They were flying low enough that I think they must have roosted nearby and just taken off.
  • At the same spot we briefly saw a Gray Catbird as well, another species we only see here during migration, and a skulking species that can be quite hard to find.

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