Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 22

It was a lightly snowing and 24F early morning birding hike in Oatka today. It started off a very quiet and slow morning, but by the end I had picked up most of the park's winter denizens with, perhaps, a new member for the winter. The walk in from the parking lot found crows, flickers, jays, and a pileated woodpecker (always a good find!) Moving into the woods of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, a red-tailed hawk floated overhead at treetop level. Nuthatches, chickadees, red-bellied woodpeckers, and titmice checked in. Entering Warbler Loop, a flock of robins flew overhead and landed in one of the trees at the edge of the field. The flock of wintering bluebirds followed shortly thereafter. Cardinals, downy woodpeckers, and white-throated sparrows were all about the Loop. As I was just leaving the very center of the Loop, I noticed the hermit thrush was back and just about in the exact location as two days ago. It calmly sat in the open, quiet and still, just looking at me. This gave me a nice photo-op, though the photographic conditions of falling snow didn't lend itself to great pictures. I wonder if this thrush is going to try overwintering in the Loop? Moving on to the creek, mallards flushed in reaction to some nearby dog walkers. Crossing over to Trout Run Trail, bird activity went to near zero until I reached the vicinity of the dam ruins where the world exploded! Two woodpeckers, one larger than the other, suddenly launched from a nearby tree, crashing into each other and screaming as they bolted away. Some other sharp alarm calls erupted and then all went silent as a Cooper's hawk came gliding through the area. Moments later the bird alarm system when into full alert as chips and other alarm calls were coming from *everywhere* from cardinals, sparrows, woodpeckers, chickadees, and titmice. Two flickers went into a call and repeat sequence like they were relaying the situation far and wide. Then the sound of a chainsaw erupted from across the creek as several men were doing trail maintenance. That was enough for a belted kingfisher that went rattling away downstream. I reached the end of the trail, turned, and on my way back through the dam ruins picked up both the winter wren, and at least one of the Carolina wrens. As I approached the bridge, I found a golden-crowned kinglet. Recrossing the bridge, a small flock of cedar waxwings flew overhead, followed by a house finch. Gypsum Hollow Trail was quiet today, but on the final pass through Black Billed I found another kinglet and a brown creeper. Great day despite the falling snow!


Hermit thrush

Hermit thrush

Hermit thrush

Hermit thrush

Small island with interesting ice formation in the middle of Oatka Creek

Downy woodpecker

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/22/10
Number of species:     27

Mallard     9
Cooper's Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Ring-billed Gull     1
Belted Kingfisher     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     4
Northern Flicker     5
Pileated Woodpecker     3
Blue Jay     6
American Crow     7
Black-capped Chickadee     9
Tufted Titmouse     5
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Brown Creeper     1
Carolina Wren     1
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
Eastern Bluebird     7
Hermit Thrush     1
American Robin     28
European Starling     50
Cedar Waxwing     7
White-throated Sparrow     7
Northern Cardinal     6
House Finch     1
American Goldfinch     1

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