Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 23

It was a snowy, 25F early morning birding hike at Oatka today. The constant, but very light snowfall made the morning's prospect look less than promising. However, things started off in fine style! I had fourteen species by the time I'd walked the dirt road in from the parking lot to the edge of the woods. As I was about a third of the way down the road, a group of chickadees showed up. As I was looking for a good photographic angle, I saw a brown creeper in the mix! Not the usual place to find a creeper, in a tree in the middle of a hedge row not that close to the woods. Big fun was had behind the lodge just at the edge of the woods when I heard the rather loud drumming of a pileated woodpecker. I then heard the "hammer and chisel" pounding of a second pileated in a slightly different direction. As I took a number of pictures and a video, I noticed this small area of the forest was *teeming* with birds, including all the normal woodland denizens as well as bluebirds, all tightly packed together. The mystery was possibly explained when the pileateds started screaming and flew into the woodland interior as a red-tailed hawk flew along the border of the woods and the adjacent fields. Were all the birds taking refuge from the hawk, resulting in the abnormal density and variety in front of me? The rest of the hike was relatively quiet with lots of robins about and many white-throated sparrows actively feeding along the creekside along Trout Run Trail. The belted kingfisher continues along the creek, but the hermit thrush was not found despite some concentrated searching.






Brown creeper





Brown creeper. Its cryptic coloration makes the bird practically disappear against the tree.





Pileated woodpecker





Pileated woodpecker





Black-capped chickadee





White-throated sparrow





White-throated sparrow

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/23/10
Number of species:     20

Mallard     15
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Belted Kingfisher     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     4
Downy Woodpecker     3
Northern Flicker     2
Pileated Woodpecker     2
Blue Jay     4
American Crow     6
Black-capped Chickadee     19
Tufted Titmouse     5
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Brown Creeper     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
Eastern Bluebird     3
American Robin     47
European Starling     3
Cedar Waxwing     1
White-throated Sparrow     10
Northern Cardinal     6

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