Sunday, June 12, 2011

NASWC Bird Walk

Starting at the Parmer Village demo homes, 6 of us participated in the monthly NASWC Bird Walk this morning. Partial cloud cover and a light breeze made it a surprisingly pleasant morning and we found 31 species of birds. The bird of the morning was Red-winged Blackbird. They were everywhere along the creek, singing and foraging in the reeds. Here's one of them singing:

Red-winged Blackbird Singing

More highlights from this morning's walk:
We saw a doe White-tailed Deer and 2 fawns emerge from the reeds near the Parmer Lane bridge. The cattails here are recovering nicely from being decimated by tropical storm Hermine (9/7/2010). I'm hopeful I'll find marsh birds here again next winter.

At the last dam on the creek we saw lots of Killdeer in the shallow water and we were surprised to see an Eastern Cottontail come out for a drink. Several wading birds made appearances including 2 Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret, a Green Heron, and a distant Snowy Egret. Here's one of the Great Blue Herons that was watching us from behind a patch of tall grass. Its dark cap and streaks on the neck show that it's an immature bird.

Immature Great Blue Heron

In the woods along the creek we heard several Carolina Wrens and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. We got to see a Bewick's Wren which readily responded to some pishing. A little further upstream we were looking at a nice male Northern Cardinal at the edge of the creek when we realized that behind it were this large softshell turtle and 2 Red-eared Sliders. My guess is that it's a Spiny Softshell Turtle based on its habitat preference, but I'm not sure. Here's a photo I got before it slithered back into the creek!

Softshell Turtle and Red-eared Sliders

We saw some neat dragonflies and damselflies along the creek this morning, including several Common Whitetails, one brilliant shimmering female Widow Skimmer, and this Blue-ringed Dancer. The Blue-ringed Dancer was my favorite. It was a tiny brilliant jewel hidden in the plants along the creek. This photo I got came out better than I expected.


On our way back we watched Barn Swallows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a molting Northern Cardinal foraging under some trees by the soccer fields. The cardinal had lost most of the feather on its head and looked quite odd. Further downstream we got a distant look at 3 beautiful Western Kingbirds in an open area along the creek.

What a fun morning! Don't let the heat keep you inside all summer. If you get an early start it can be quite nice outside, and there's lots of neat stuff to see out there!

No comments: