Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 15

It was a partially sunny, snowy, and 22F midday birding hike in Oatka today. Things started off on a good note with the insistent calling of a red-tailed hawk that appeared from the north, soared at treetop level over the dirt road and then circled a few times over the lower soccer field before resuming its journey southward. Several other regulars checked in on the way to the woods: crows, juncos, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and kinglets. Today would turn out to be a good day for kinglets, as they were found throughout the park. Moving onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, a titmouse and more kinglets showed up. Warbler Loop was quiet until I reached the vicinity of the creek. There I found a large number of cedar waxwings, lots of robins, and few each of goldfinches, nuthatches, and white-throated sparrows, and a northern flicker. By the bridge over the creek I found a cardinal and an solitary starling in the mix of robins and waxwings. Moving across the bridge and onto Trout Run Trail, I encountered more members of species already mentioned. As I approached the dam ruins, I found the mallards. Again being skittish, when I paused to look for the source of a kinglet call, the ducks were sufficiently displeased that they simultaneously took to the air. Reaching the end and turning around, I noticed a brown creeper on one of the first trees I passed along the trail. Pausing at the dam ruins to look and listen for wrens, I was not disappointed when the urgent "kit-kit"s of a winter wren burst onto the scene and then receded as the wren skulked its way through the underbrush and made its escape. Things quieted down as I returned to the bridge and then made my way to Gypsum Hollow Trail. About halfway along Gypsum Hollow I suddenly realized the crows were excited by something and the croaks of a raven suddenly revealed the reason. I looked up to see three crows escorting the raven from their territory. As I neared Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, I spied a red fox with its coat fluffed up for extra protection from the cold, running in the woods. It paused and looked back at me, giving me great looks in my binoculars. Unfortunately, another hiker was approaching from the other direction of the trail, so the fox left before I could get a picture. Reaching Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, the only blue jay of the hike called out. I looked and listened for the bluebirds as I made my way back to the car, but they appeared to be somewhere else today.

 Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Black-capped chickadee

Mallards

Mallards

Downy woodpecker

Mallards

American robin

Warbler Loop, looking towards the entrance to Gypsum Hollow Trail

Gypsum Hollow Trail

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/15/10
Number of species:     21

Mallard     11
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     5
Downy Woodpecker     4
Northern Flicker     2
Blue Jay     1
American Crow     9
Common Raven     1
Black-capped Chickadee     9
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Brown Creeper     1
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     5
American Robin     11
European Starling     1
Cedar Waxwing     30
White-throated Sparrow     6
Dark-eyed Junco     2
Northern Cardinal     5
American Goldfinch     4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)