Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 16

It was partially cloudy and mild (27F) sunrise birding hike in Oatka today. Things were quiet along the dirt road until I reached the edge of the woods when the "zee"ing of several cedar waxwings became apparent, only to be upstaged by the drumming of a nearby pileated woodpecker. Some investigation behind the lodge located the pileated. Moving on to Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, kinglets were in large numbers today between the intersections with Gypsum Hollow Trail and Warbler Loop. I then heard the persistent calls of a brown creeper, which led me to the nearby creeper. While admiring this bird, I heard "mew"ing calls down the trail towards the Loop, though still in the woods. I first thought a Cooper's hawk, but that wasn't right. I then remembered hearing a yellow-bellied sapsucker on a birding song flash card type of app on my iPod touch this morning. I played the sound file and it was an exact match. However, I didn't investigate further, being too enamored with the nearby brown creeper. ("Bird in the hand" type of thinking, I guess.) It wasn't until later that I realized I should have followed up on the possible sapsucker as being a far less common sighting this time of year. A nuthatch and downy woodpecker reported in before I reached the Loop. On the Loop I was greeted with the chips of cardinals, a close flyby of a jay, and a lone starling. Things got more interesting as I approached the wooded area by the creek and a red-tailed hawk soared overhead, its belly an orangey-gold in the early morning sunlight. A hairy woodpecker landed nearby for a good look. Reaching the bridge and crossing over, a white-throated sparrow popped up briefly at the start of Trout Run Trail. Nearing the dam ruins, the winter wren suddenly appeared, "kit-kit"ing away, and giving me fleeting looks as it dove from one location of cover to another. This continued for a minute or two. Eventually continuing to the end of the trail, a belted kingfisher escorted me the last few steps before I reached the turnaround point. As I stood at the trail's end looking for the now gone kingfisher, a pair of Carolina wrens began their "cheer" calls. That would be it for the species list for this hike, as I retraced my path back over the bridge and then back to my car via Gypsum Hollow Trail.

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Brown creeper

Sleeping white tail deer

Black-capped chickadee

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/16/10
Number of species:     23

Mallard     4
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Mourning Dove     1
Belted Kingfisher     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     6
Downy Woodpecker     3
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     4
Pileated Woodpecker     2
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     10
Black-capped Chickadee     8
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Brown Creeper     1
Carolina Wren     2
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     5
American Robin     5
European Starling     1
Cedar Waxwing     8
White-throated Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(