Sunday, July 7, 2019

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

About ten of us met this morning at 7:30 at the Braes Valley trailhead of Lake Creek Trail to see what  birds and other wildlife we could find. We ended up finding 42 species of birds plus some cool dragonflies. The most exciting bird was a Roseate Spoonbill! Yesterday Helen Mastrangelo told me she found a Roseate Spoonbill on the creek and saw it fly upstream towards the Broadmeade bridge. This is a coastal species, but every summer some first-year birds wander inland. (The same thing happens with Tricolored Herons.) Last year we had a first-year Roseate Spoonbill spend most of the summer on Lake Creek, but today's bird is not the same individual. Today's bird is also first-year and after their first year these birds seem to figure out that they are best suited to coastal wetlands.

Shortly after we crossed the footbridge and entered the Town and Country playing fields, Michael Pfeil spotted the spoonbill foraging in the creek bed. Here are a few photos. The pale pink color and lack of dark feathers around the face are diagnostic of this being a first-year bird. Mature birds have much more vivid pink plumage:

Roseate Spoonbill - 1 - 2

Roseate Spoonbill - 1 - 4

Most of the time the spoonbill was hanging around with a Snowy Egret. These two species are often seen together down on the coast:

Roseate Spoonbill and Snowy Egret - 2

Another interesting bird we saw was this domestic Muscovy duck. Has it escaped from someone's backyard? It has been seen on the creek for months now:

Domestic Muscovy

On our way back we got a distant look at a Bronzed Cowbird, a species that used to be limited to south Texas but has been expanding its range north. Diagnostic are its red eyes and puffed-out neck feathers:

Bronzed Cowbird

Dragonflies were out and about, and one of my favorite ones this morning was this male Slaty Skimmer, a species I've only rarely seen on the trail:

Slaty Skimmer - 1 - 1

And further downstream we found another "Roseate" species, this beautiful Roseate Skimmer dragonfly:

Roseate Skimmer - 1 - 2

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

And here's our complete bird list on eBird.

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