Monday, February 5, 2018

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

Nearly 20 people joined me this morning for the monthly group walk. We started on the west end of Lake Creek trail on a cold and extremely foggy morning. We started at 8:00 AM and by 9:00 the fog was nearly gone, but before it left we were treated to some beautiful scenes. Sometimes bright sun was shining through the fog and you could see the small droplets of water suspended in the air. Here's the view down Braes Valley before we got started, and that's Steven McDonald's truck arriving.

Foggy Morning

In the parking lot before 8:00 a few of us were treated to seeing 3 Eastern Bluebirds in the fog and a Cooper's Hawk fly in fast, landing in a nearby cottonwood tree.

Here's a cool photo Twyla Grace took of part of the group when we went down a side trail and found Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Song Sparrow:

Group on Side Trail

Back on the main trail on our way to the footbridge, bird activity quickly increased as the fog quickly dissipated. Since last month there was a dramatic increase in the number of birds singing. We heard Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, and Black-crested Titmouse. Near the bridge a Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraged in dense brush right over our heads. And we found three American Robins perched on a chinaberry tree against a clear blue sky. Here's one of them:

American Robin on Chinaberry Tree

From the bridge a few of us briefly saw a Brown Thrasher and a Swamp Sparrow. Field Sparrows and Song Sparrows were in the tall grass below us. Just across the bridge there was a flurry of activity. I realized that the lawn next to the Meadowheath parking lot was full of American Pipits; I estimated 40. As we were watching them I heard the fast and faint ticking of Dark-eyed Juncos, and turned to see at least 8 fly over my shoulder into the bushes by the bridge. In the creek bed we got great close looks at Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and this Yellow-rumped Warbler on a Chinese Tallow tree:

Yellow-rumped Warbler on Chinese Tallow Tree

We picked up the pace and walked to the most downstream low-water crossing by the Morris Lane parking lot to look for the female Rusty Blackbird that has been hanging around there since January 1. We didn't find the blackbird but looking into glittering reflections of sun on water, we picked out Least Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs. and American Wigeon downstream.

When we got back to the Braes Valley parking lot, maybe the same Cooper's Hawk flew in again and we were able to see it in the clear fogless light. Here's a partially blocked photo I took:

Cooper's Hawk

We ended up finding 46 species of birds. Here's our complete list on eBird.

And here are a couple more photos on Flickr.

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