Sunday, March 6, 2016

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

16 folks met me this morning for the monthly group walk on Lake Creek Trail. It was cool and overcast when we met at 7:30 at the end of Braes Valley. By the time we finished two and a half hours later, the sun was peeking out and it was beautiful. Changing seasons were evident in bird behavior. Many more birds were singing, including two winter resident species that we rarely get to hear before they leave Texas for northern breeding grounds. Before everyone arrived a Spotted Towhee was singing from just east of the parking lot. (We later got to see probably this same bird from the side trail that goes to Briar Hollow Drive.) The other winter resident we got to hear was a Song Sparrow, singing from the creek bed a little further up the trail. Other species we got to hear singing were Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Cardinal, Bewick's Wren, Carolina Wren, and Carolina Chickadee. I briefly saw my first north-bound migrating bird of the season -- a fast flying Barn Swallow that was headed upstream over the creek bed.

Yellow-rumped Warblers and Cedar Waxwings were plentiful. I think waxwing numbers have been augmented by birds that wintered further south starting to head north. I estimated we saw at least 350 waxwings this morning.

We got to see two species of hawks this morning. Near the trailhead we saw one of the nesting Red-shouldered Hawks and its nest in the willow trees right by the creek. This pair has nested here for the past few summers. We saw another Red-shouldered Hawk by the footbridge. It was a juvenile hunting from one of the wires over the creek bed. We got to see it fly down and come up with what I guessed was a mouse in its claws. here's a distant photo of it perched:

Red-shouldered Hawk

The other species of hawk we got to see was Sharp-shinned Hawk that was hunting on the Town and Country playing fields. It briefly perched near the top of the cottonwood next to the Meadowheath parking lot before continuing its low hunting flight that scared up many grackles and starlings and doves in its path.

Other highlights included close looks at an Eastern Phoebe from the footbridge, a beautiful Great Egret and several Killdeers both in the creek bed, and two female Ladder-backed Woodpeckers chasing each other right in front of us. Here are a few more photos:

Eastern Phoebe


Ladder-backed Woodpecker

And here is our complete bird list. What a fun morning!

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