Sunday, July 3, 2011

NASWC Bird Walk

NASWC Bird Walk Folks
Despite warm temperatures 11 folks met for the monthly NASWC Bird Walk this morning! Starting at the Lake Creek Trail parking lot near the end of Braes Valley, we covered about 0.75 miles in 2 hours. We observed 30 species of birds and here are some highlights.

Not too far down the trail we heard a cicada buzzing and looked up to see an immature Red-bellied Woodpecker fly over carrying it. The woodpecker landed on a nearby utility pole and we watched it eat the cicada. Often when you hear one of these insects start to buzz loudly and abruptly, it's because a bird just grabbed it!

Barn Swallows, Purple Martins, and Chimney Swifts were in the air, and we got some good opportunities to learn how to distinguish them by sight and sound. Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, and Northern Mockingbirds were all along the trail. We could almost always hear one of these species and we got some good looks at them too. Here's one of the male cardinals.

Northern Cardinal

In and over the creek bed we got great looks at Red-winged Blackbirds (and got to listen to the males singing), a Western Kingbird, a Great Blue Heron, and 3 or 4 immature Green Herons. Here's one of the Green Herons.

Immature Green Heron - 1

As usual, we spent some time watching and listening on the footbridge. It's usually a great spot to find birds since it's at the edge of the woods and overlooks two branches of the creek. We watched several Lesser Goldfinches in the tall sunflowers and other plants down in the creek bed. And a few of us saw a female Painted Bunting with them. Gracen Duffield got this great photo of the bunting later on.

NASWC Bird Walk 145

On our way back we found a large Red-eared Slider turtle walking across one of the playing fields. This time of year the females can often be found away from water. They're walking around looking for a place to dig a hole and lay eggs.

A little later we got to see and hear 2 or 3 Great Crested Flycatchers making their wheeep! call. The color on these birds was a little more washed out than I'm used to seeing on Great Crested Flycatchers. I didn't realize until I got home that's because they were immature birds, probably from a nest nearby.

Don't let the warm weather keep you inside this summer -- there's still plenty to see out there!


la_florecita said...

OMG that Great Crested Flycatcher has been taunting me in my neighborhood but I had no idea what it was. Thanks! Just now reading your blog...

Mikael Behrens said...

You're welcome, glad you could ID that flycatcher! In my experience they're more often heard than seen.