Sunday, February 3, 2013

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

We had a relatively small group meet at the Parmer Village pond this morning for the monthly group bird walk. 8 folks enjoyed a cool and clear morning and we ultimately found 50 species of birds. On the pond were Gadwalls, Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon, and a single Pied-billed Grebe. When we walked around the pond and had the sun behind us, it was a joy seeing the Ring-necked Ducks and American Wigeon. Here's a photo I got of a pair of wigeon. The male is on the left and look how the iridescent green stripe through the eye just lit up in the sun.

American Wigeons

Also around the pond were striking male Red-winged Blackbirds, Least Sandpipers, Killdeer, and Wilson's Snipe.
In the brush along the trail beside the pond were Savannah Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Lincoln's Sparrows, but it was difficult getting good looks at them. I took the group to the edge of the marshy area and tried to coax out a few swamp species but failed. I could hear Swamp Sparrows but they just didn't want to show themselves. We made our way to the last damn on the creek and enjoyed seeing a Great Blue Heron and Great Egret. A few of us got decent looks at a House Wren as well.

The bird of the morning was a Gray Catbird that Barry Noret found in the dense brush by the spot where the creek passes under the trail. This is a species we usually only see during spring and fall migration, and even then it's a skulking species that's hard to see. Gray Catbirds occasionally winter in the area and I don't know if this bird was an early migrant or one that has been here all season. Barry saw it last weekend as well. Here's the best photo I was able to get. Notice the overall gray color with a dark cap. You can also just barely see the reddish vent area under the tail.

Gray Catbird

On our way back we stopped to look at this tiny butterfly, a Checkered Skipper, as it briefly landed on a Sow-thistle flower.

Checkered Skipper on Sow-Thistle

Here's our complete bird list. It was a great way to spend a beautiful morning!

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