17 folks met at the Parmer Village pond for the monthly bird walk today. We enjoyed a relatively quiet and overcast morning of birding. In the pond we got to watch a Great Egret and a Snowy Egret hunting. These similar species have surprisingly different hunting styles. The Great Egret stays still or walks very slowly as it looks for prey. The Snowy Egret walks much faster and sometimes runs after prey, changing directions often. In the pond we also got good looks at a Greater Yellowlegs and a Wilson's Snipe.
Songbirds were present but difficult to see. I don't know why, but in my experience when it's overcast, songbirds don't come out in the open as much. We heard mostly and sometimes saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows, a Field Sparrow, a Hermit Thrush, Lincoln's and Song Sparrows, House Wrens, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Barry Noret dropped behind the group for awhile and got this amazing photo of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I love these little green winter-resident birds and Barry's photo is one of the best I've ever seen:
Besides the obvious field marks of wing-bars and and a big white eye-ring, this photo is close and sharp enough to show a lesser known attribute -- dark legs contrasting with orange feet!
Throughout the morning we saw several Red-shoulderd Hawks, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. The Sharp-shinned Hawk soared over us and we got good looks at its attributes that distinguish it from the very similar Cooper's Hawk -- a squared-off tail and relatively smaller head. In the soccer fields we saw a Loggerhead Shrike, a songbird similar to Northern Mockingbirds in size and colors that actually prey on other small birds and other animals. We walked as far as the eastern-most creek crossing in the playing fields. From the creek bed there we got another look at a Greater Yellowlegs and a Wilson's Snipe. I digi-scoped this image of the snipe with my iPhone:
Even though it didn't feel like it, we actually recorded a high number of species: 49! Here's our complete bird list from the morning.