Monday, December 27, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 27

It was a mostly snowing, 17F sunrise birding hike in Oatka today. The snow didn't really start until the second half of the walk. Nearly all the bird sightings were made during the first half. As I walked down the dirt road towards the woods, a junco and several American tree sparrows popped up to check me out before returning to shelter. Along Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, a kinglet made a brief flyby, and a number of robins were perched in a tree further into the forest than I usually see robins. A profound silence then setting upon the woods as the first few snowflakes began to drift down. The arrival of a brown creeper with its buzzy calls was almost jarring in comparison. Reaching Warbler Loop, the silence began to deepen, with only an occasional cardinal making its presence known. I guessed all the birds were sheltering near the creek and I was right. Reaching the bridge, calling bluebirds flew over, as did goldfinches. Well over a dozen mallards were just upstream of the bridge. A flock of white-throated sparrows rummaged along the rocks and bushes of the far shore. Crossing over onto Trout Run Trail, I came upon a small group of American black ducks that were near some mallards, but clearly in a distinct group apart from the other ducks. Approaching the dam ruins, the winter wren came out to play with its excited calls and ducking into and out of hiding places. When I would give up following its antics to look at the other birds around, it would come out in the open and call to me to draw my attention back. It would then go into another cycle of hide-and-seek. We repeated this game for nearly a half a dozen times. :-) In addition to the wren, nuthatches, a flicker, a downy woodpecker, titmice, chickadees, and a red-bellied woodpecker were around the dam ruins. At this point the snow began to fall in ernest and most of the birds disappeared and presumably went into shelter. I made my way out and back to my car, enjoying the quiet of the snowfall.

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

American black duck

American black duck

American black duck

American black duck

Mallards

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/27/10
Number of species:     20

Canada Goose     2
American Black Duck     6
Mallard     26
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     1
American Crow     10
Black-capped Chickadee     8
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Brown Creeper     1
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
Eastern Bluebird     4
American Robin     6
American Tree Sparrow     3
White-throated Sparrow     7
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     2
American Goldfinch     4

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