Sunday, March 4, 2007

NASWC Bird Walk Report

This morning 4 of us participated in the monthly NASWC bird walk.
We could almost have called this a bird "stand" instead of bird "walk" because we saw the best birds between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM just standing around the area where the two creeks meet by the T&C playing fields. (Nearby I snapped this picture of Lake Creek in the morning light before the walk started. Can you find the Killdeer and the American Robin?)

Here are some highlights of the bird "stand". A flock of about 40 Double-crested Cormorants flew over the playing fields heading east. Probably they were ultimately heading north for the summer. Lake Creek had lots of bird activity including American Pipits, Killdeer, American Robins, Eastern Phoebes, Wilson's Snipe, and Greater Yellowlegs. A flock of about 30 Cedar Waxwings flew right over us and then down into the creek to drink.

Most exciting for me were the hawks that we saw. An immature Red-shouldered Hawk was perched across the creek on a power line. We've seen this bird before in the same area. But then a smaller bird flew out and dive-bombed the hawk a few times. It was a Sharp-shinned Hawk! I have only gotten fleeting glimpses or far away looks at this bird before, but there it was nearby and right out in the open! A Blue Jay came by and was chased off by the Sharp-shinned Hawk several times. It was quite a show.
Later on a Cooper's Hawk flew right over us, rounding out the collection of neighborhood woodland raptors. We also got great looks at a mature Red-shouldered Hawk in its full adult plumage, like in this picture. (I took this picture in the same area back in October.)

It was quite a fun morning of birding!

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