Only two intrepid birders joined me on this cold and wet morning to see what birds we could find on the east half of Lake Creek Trail. We met at 8:00 AM by the Parmer Village pond. Despite the weather predictions, I didn't cancel this morning's monthly group walk and I'm glad I didn't, since rain stayed south of us until we got back to the cars at around 10:00. While I waited and wondered if anyone would show up this morning, I watched a Great Egret in the pond and this Red-tailed Hawk up on a cell phone tower:
Before we left the pond we saw the first wild ducks I've seen in the neighborhood this season. A couple small groups of Gadwall and then a larger group of Northern Shovelers flew over. Some of them landed in the pond for a brief stay. They took flight again before we started walking. On our way up the creek bed to the last dam, we heard and saw House Wrens, Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and an Orange-crowned Warbler, all recently returned winter residents.
The highlight of the morning was birding the patch of woods just north of the last dam.
Not too far in we flushed two large birds out of a tree almost over our heads that I suspected were a pair of Great Horned Owls. (I confirmed this when later one flew back over us, towards its original perch.) A little farther into the woods we enjoyed finding Eastern Bluebirds, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Flicker, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, House Finches, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Carolina Chickadee, and a Black-crested Titmouse.
But the most fun was hearing and then seeing White-throated Sparrows. These winter-residents prefer woods with dense undergrowth. Soon after hearing their "peep" contact calls we started hearing their distinctive song. At one point we had 4 or 5 all around us singing and calling. What a treat! I didn't get a photo, but here's a photo of a White-throated Sparrow I took from a little further down the trail way back in 2010:
Though the photo above is from way back in 2010, this morning I did manage to make this short audio recording of one of the sparrows singing:
It's attached to an iNaturalist observation here.
We ended up following the trail out through the playing fields to the first low creek crossing. On our way back we got to see a distant Osprey flying northeast, and we got a closer look at the Red-tailed Hawk that was originally on the tower.
What a morning! Here's our complete bird list.