Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 29

It was a cloudy and warm-feeling 28F sunrise birding hike in Oatka today. With no wind or all but the lightest possible precipitation, it felt very benign to be outside and the birds seemed to respond by showing up in good numbers and staying in relatively exposed locations throughout the hike. The walk in from the parking lot to the woods produced chickadees, nuthatches, a flicker, crows, cardinals, juncos, a robin, a tree sparrow, titmice, and a downy woodpecker. After a brief exchange with local birding expert Dave Tetlow last night during which he said he found an "Oregon" junco yesterday just beyond the southwest corner of Oatka Creek Park, and remembering I had seen a particularly brown looking junco in the park that same day (we concluded it was a common female slate-colored junco), I took special care to examine each junco I came across today. All the ones I saw were clearly slate-colored. Moving into Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, I picked up on the "cheer" calls of a Carolina wren. On Warbler Loop I found a ton of birds, with a jay, a goldfinch, a bluebird, several white-throated sparrows, a red-bellied woodpecker, and a hairy woodpecker in addition to several individuals from previously mentioned species. The creek was quiet as I crossed the bridge, as was Trout Run Trail on the way out. At the turnaround point all that changed when a large mixed flock suddenly materialized all around me, defying my ability to note and identify all the winged life in the ball of activity! :-) The winter wren joined in with its "Look at me!" game. Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and previously mentioned woodpeckers were joined by a kinglet, and a pileated woodpecker. I heard some brief songs that I originally attributed to the titmice, but upon review they may have been too buzzy sounding, though I saw no other potential song sources. On the way back down the trail, a nuthatch called my attention to a nearby brown creeper. I then found a large group of mallards, complete with an interesting black duck x mallard hybrid. Things quieted down from that point on with a couple more pockets of birds, but no additional species. Seems like everyone came out to play today!

American tree sparrow

Dark-eyed junco eating staghorn sumac berries

Dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed junco

Black-capped chickadee

Patterns in the ice along Trout Run Trail

Ice patterns

Golden-crowned kinglet


American black duck x mallard in the background

American black duck x mallard on the right

American black duck x mallard on the right

American black duck x mallard

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/29/10
Number of species:     23

American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)     1
Mallard     20
Mourning Dove     2
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     2
Hairy Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     4
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     6
American Crow     13
Black-capped Chickadee     22
Tufted Titmouse     9
White-breasted Nuthatch     8
Brown Creeper     1
Carolina Wren     1
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     3
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     3
American Tree Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     11
Dark-eyed Junco     7
Northern Cardinal     14
American Goldfinch     5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(