Sunday, January 9, 2011

NASWC Bird Walk Report

Bird Walk FolksDespite cold, gloomy, wet weather, 13 people participated in the NASWC Bird Walk this morning! I was worried that today's bird walk would be rained out but the storm passed through well before our meeting time. And the predicted wind was completely absent! So despite being cold and wet, it was still quite bearable and we were able to find about 30 species of birds. Here are the highlights...

We met in front of the Parmer Village drainage pond where a few of us who arrived early got to see 2 beautiful male Ring-necked Ducks that flew off a few minutes before everyone else got there. Fortunately there were also 3 American Wigeons, 1 Northern Shoveler, and 1 male Green-winged Teal in the pond that hung around for everyone to see. There were a few shorebirds around the edges of the pond too: several of our year-round resident Killdeer and Least Sandpipers, a few winter-resident Wilson's Snipe, and 1 winter resident Greater Yellowlegs. Here's a poor photo of the Yellowlegs and one of the Least Sandpipers.

Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper

From the pond we walked upstream along the hike-and-bike trail and saw several Vesper Sparrows in the tall grass. Here's a poor photo of one showing one of its main field marks: white outer tail feathers.

Vesper Sparrow

A deep puddle kept us from checking out the last dam on the creek which had quite a bit of water flowing over it from the recent rain. So we continued up the trail and watched a few flocks of ducks fly up from the creek. The flocks were mostly Northern Shovelers, and you could see their wide spoon-shaped bills as they flew overhead. There were also a few Gadwalls, American Wigeons, and Green-winged Teal mixed in.

Near where the trail enters the T&C playing fields most of us got to see a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a few of us got a good look at a Song Sparrow. We got to see the heavy marks on either side of its throat that I think are its best distinguishing field marks. A little further down the trail we encountered at least 3 Carolina Wrens that were singing and chasing each other around. They were joined by several Northern Cardinals and 3 Orange-crowned Warblers. A few minutes later all 3 Orange-crowned Warblers crossed the trail and foraged in an isolated Possumhaw bush covered in red berries. The lime-green birds and bright red berries were quite a combination that brightened up such a dark and dreary morning.

When we got past the strip of woods along the trail, we watched the unusually high water in the creek for a few minutes. We saw a Great Blue Heron upstream, and we watched a Red-tailed Hawk fly by and land on a nearby cell tower. Then we started back, but I guess we started back a little too late since the threatening skies finally started raining again. But despite the cold and the rain I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Hot coffee and brunch afterwards were especially satisfying!

1 comment:

Gracen Duffield said...

Thanks again, Mikael, for leading our group! Here is the link to my pictures:

Gracen Duffield