Monday, March 4, 2019

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

Despite temperatures in the low 40s and a string wet north wind, 10 people joined me yesterday morning for the monthly group walk. We met at the Parmer Village end of Lake Creek Trail where there were more birds in the drainage pond there than I've seen in a long time: Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, a few Gadwall, an American Wigeon, and a single sleeping Pied-billed Grebe. After that strong start things slowed down and we really didn't see much on our way upstream to the last dam. At the dam we watched about 6 Barn Swallows catching insects over the water. I hope these early spring migrants are keeping warm!

We found a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers by the dam as well, winter resident species that will soon return north. In fact, I think Yellow-rumped Warbler numbers are already decreasing in the Austin area. We continued upstream paralleling the trail through the woods, but we didn't see or hear much. We were well into the Town and Country property before we finally found a neat flock of about 15 Chipping Sparrows foraging on the ground behind a little hill that shielded them from the cold wind.

The group was getting cold as well and several people turned back at that point. But most of us toughed it out and made our way to the first low water creek crossing. Down by the creek we found a little break from the wind and got to see an American Pipit on the creek bed and a Savannah Sparrow in some dense brush along the bank. Then we hoofed it back to the parking area by the pond.

At the pond, Steven McDonald spotted our best bird, a Wilson's Snipe along the bank. These as well as other shorebirds seem to have gotten harder to find on Lake Creek trail over the last few years. I think this might be because the last few years have been wetter than previous years, and shorebirds have more habitat to choose from. Here's a poor digiscoped image I took of the snipe:

Wilson's Snipe

Although it seemed like a slow morning, we managed to detect 45 species of birds. Here's our complete eBird list.

And here's one more photo of Flickr, a part of a beaver skull we found near the Parmer Lane bridge.

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