Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 25

It was a cloudy, but comfortable 25F sunrise birding hike today at Oatka. The walk in from the parking lot to the woods was interesting with a brown creeper mixed in with the usual crows, goldfinches, titmice, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, juncos, and red-bellied woodpeckers. As I moved into the woods and onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, things quieted down until I made the turn at Gypsum Hollow Trail and headed for Warbler Loop. About halfway to the Loop I ran into a large and active mixed flock of birds: kinglets, cardinals, nuthatches, and carolina wrens, in addition to a number of previously mentioned species. Moments later I picked up a hairy woodpecker. Entering the Loop, a flicker was sitting atop one of the small trees near the trail entrance, as if it were a kind of sentinel. A couple of robins called and several ring-billed gulls lazily floated across the sky. As I reached the creekside of the trail, I began thinking, "Okay, Mother Nature, how about a Christmas heron?" As if in reply, a flock of thirty mallards goes flying by me over the creek in stone silence. First, the flock was rather large for this part of the creek, and second, how do 30+ mallards fly quickly without a quack or even a wing whistle? Then, a mature bald eagle goes soaring by at treetop level in pursuit! It was only, maybe, 15 feet from me at one point. My jaw was bouncing on the ground as I fumbled with my camera, though everyone disappeared downstream before I was set. So, Mother Nature gave me nice Christmas present, indeed! :-D Realizing things along the creek would be silent for a while, I continued on my route anyway, across the bridge and then to Trout Run Trail. By the time I reached the dam ruins, however, the birdiness had returned with a pileated woodpecker calling and more carolina wrens and other previously mentioned species about. From there on out for the rest of the hike things quieted down with a few more members of already sighted species. Fun day!

Northern flicker

Northern flicker

Northern flicker

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/25/10
Number of species:     21

Mallard     39
Bald Eagle     1
Ring-billed Gull     11
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     5
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     3
Pileated Woodpecker     2
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     10
Black-capped Chickadee     13
Tufted Titmouse     9
White-breasted Nuthatch     2
Brown Creeper     3
Carolina Wren     5
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
American Robin     2
White-throated Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     4
American Goldfinch     4

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