Sunday, January 5, 2020

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

We had a large group this month! About 20 people joined me for the group walk on Lake Creek Trail.  It was a beautiful cool and clear morning with lots of bird activity. We started at about 8 AM at the Braes Valley parking lot and spent over 2 hours covering about 1 mile of the trail. We found 31 species of birds and here are a few highlights.

Before we even left the parking lot we were seeing and hearing Yellow-rumped Warblers, Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinals (6 in one tree), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-winged Blackbirds, and this single grackle which I thought initially was a Common Grackle:

Great-tailed Grackle

An explosion (probably fireworks) scared this grackle and about 25 more that were out of sight below it into flight, and I realized my error, seeing the long tails and mixed in brown females showing these were Great-tailed Grackles. The angle and morning light made this bird look like it had a shorter tail and a more bronze-black body like Common Grackles have.

We continued seeing and hearing Yellow-rumped Warblers and Northern Cardinals on the trail all the way to the footbridge where two Black Vultures were quietly perched on the utility poles. They had probably been there all night and were waiting for the sun to create some updrafts for them to ride. Here's one of them:

Black Vulture

Downstream of the footbridge bird activity was a little lower and there was a different mix of species. We saw several House Finches, a few Lesser and American Goldfinches, and Eastern Phoebes. It was fun seeing a some of the House Finches bathing in a puddle in the creek bed. My favorite birds of the morning were a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. We first spotted the female downstream and walked a little further down the trail to try and get closer. Here's a backlit photo I took of her watching for insects:

Eastern Bluebird - 1

A male was also around, and I was able to get this photo when he briefly perched in the light, showing his more vivid blue plumage:

Eastern Bluebird - 2 - 2

Shortly after finding the bluebirds we turned around. Almost back at the parking lot we found a small group of Cedar Waxwings eating hackberries. Here are a couple poor photos I got of one almost hanging upside-down to reach the berries:

Cedar Waxwing - 1 - 1

Cedar Waxwing - 1 - 2

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

And here's our complete bird list on eBird.

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