Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Quiet Morning

I spent about 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning. Walking down Stillforest between 7:00 and 7:30 was a rare treat. The birds were just the summer residents that I expected. But it was so quiet! Not one car drove down the street and no one was out mowing or edging their lawn. No dogs barked at me and I met only one other person out walking. My footsteps were quite audible, and more than once I stopped and just enjoyed hearing the mix of birdsong from White-winged Dove, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Bewick's Wren, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, and Carolina Chickadee.  For only a few minutes, right in our own suburban neighborhood, nothing but these natural sounds filled my ears and cleared my mind.

The birds got a little more interesting when I got to Lake Creek Trail. There were 2 juvenile Red-bellied Woodpeckers following an adult around. One of the juveniles was making a sound I rarely hear this species make. You can listen to it on the Audubon Guides web site here. It's call #6, labelled "woika-woika (interaction call)".  (It's similar to the sound Northern Flickers make that gives them their name.) I got this photo of one of the juveniles. You can see that it doesn't have any red on its head or belly yet.

Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker

The only herons or egrets I saw on the creek were Green Herons until I checked the water's edge just downstream of the playing fields. In a single tree were 1 Great Egret, 1 Great Blue Heron, and 7 Snowy Egrets. Here they are. (If you click on the photo you can see the Flickr Notes I added to label each species.)

Egrets and Heron

A little further downstream I found 3 Softshell Turtles hauled out on a rock in the creek bed. The largest was probably 1.5 feet long. These turtles are usually quite wary and slide into the water as soon as they see me. But they let me get close enough to take the photo below. I'm guessing these are Spiny Softshell Turtles but I don't know.

Softshell Turtles

Just like last weekend, I heard the constant cry of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that was perched on a dead tree near the last dam. But today it let me get close enough for this photo. Shortly after I took it the bird was joined by another juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. I assume they are siblings.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk


Austin Eavesdropper said...

Mikael! Thank you so much for coming to the Bleet-Up tonight. I wish we got to chat a little more.

And, I'm serious about reading your blog with breakfast. I've started going through the archives!

Mikael Behrens said...

Cool, I'm glad you like it. And thanks for hosting the Bleet-up -- what a fun event!