Sunday, April 1, 2018

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

About 15 people joined me on Easter morning today, to find birds and enjoy the beautiful weather on Lake Creek Trail. At 7:50 AM there were only 4 of us, but in the last 10 minutes everyone else showed up! Despite bird songs all around us, the birds were hard to see at first, partly because so many trees and shrubs have started to producing new leaves. We heard a song I didn't recognize and spent some frustrating time on the side trail to Holbrook Street trying to see a few small birds that mostly kept hidden in the dense vegetation. One turned out to be a Nashville Warbler, a north-bound migrant.

With the warming weather the dragonflies and damselflies are returning! It was fun to see a few Eastern Pondhawks, American Rubyspots, and a Common Whitetail on the trail. They will become very common in the coming weeks. Here's one of the pond hawks we saw:

Eastern Pondhawk male

Further down the trail we finally got a look at one of the White-eyed Vireos singing in the dense brush. And from the footbridge we saw even more. Helen Mastrangelo spotted a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Three Red-shouldered Hawks were vocalizing and flying back and forth over the creek tributary, one carrying a tree branch. We watched this first-year bird through a window in the trees, perched in a blooming Chinaberry tree:

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

All morning flocks of Cedar Waxwings flew by, a winter resident that will soon be gone for the summer. One flock briefly landed in another Chinaberry tree near the bridge and I got these photos of one of them eating the berries:

Cedar Waxwing eating Chinaberries

Cedar Waxwing eating Chinaberries

Cedar Waxwing eating Chinaberries

We kept seeing two Cooper's Hawks flying high over the trees, and at first I thought they were migrating north, but I think we saw the same pair overhead three times. So it might have been a couple birds summering here. Here's one that flew over us in nice light:

Cooper's Hawk in Flight

We didn't see any shorebirds on the creek, maybe because the water level is still relatively high from last week's rain. On our way back to the Braes Valley parking lot we saw a few more dragonflies and damselflies, including this American Rubyspot, named for the bright red color at the base of its wings. When it flies it really does look like a spot of ruby in the air!

American Rubyspot

We ended up finding 39 species of birds. Here's our complete list on eBird.

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