Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oatka Creek Park • December 5

It was a cold and snowy morning hike in Oatka today. However, the light snow and low temperatures didn't seem to deter the birds at all. It was a very birdy morning! The crows were in the surrounding farm fields by the hundreds, so several were in the airspace over the park. Juncos greeted me as I left the parking lot and walked down the dirt road to the woods. Goldfinches flew overhead and jays called nearby. Once onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, things quieted down until I reached Warbler Loop. Things picked up almost immediately as I exited the woods and by the time I reached post #15 it was a bird party! Titmice, lots of cardinals, bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, white-throated sparrows, and a hairy woodpecker all checked in. The cardinals were particularly numerous and I significantly underreported them to eBird because they kept moving, which made keeping track of repeats rather difficult. I was largely the first person along the Loop after the snowfall, so I was able to see all the animal tracks from foxes, squirrels, and rabbits, with the latter generally in full flight judging from the rear paws being in front of the front paws! :-) I eventually reached the creek which was extremely high and fast. It was on the verge of flooding Trout Run Trail and came rather close at points along the trail. I crossed the bridge and took Trout Run to the end without any bird activity. However, as I was the first along this trail, too, after the snowfall, I was able to read more fox tracks. On the way back as I was following a set of fox prints, my reverie was broken by the calls of a kinglet. Canada geese flew overhead shortly thereafter. Returning to the bridge, I saw a small group of mallards braving the raging creek. Moving on to the far side of the Loop, things picked up again as I stepped into the middle of a mixed flock of chickadees, an American tree sparrow, robins, kinglets, and titmice. Continuing on the Loop, a pileated woodpecker called out. Reaching post #15 again and turning onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, I encountered a large mixed flock of cardinals and waxwings. These birds were perched close to each other in the same pair of trees. The draw for that particular location seemed to be grape vines filled with fruit. Moving along the trail, near the intersection with Old Burrell Road and Bluebird Trail I came up another active pocket of chickadees, juncos, cardinals, and a nuthatch. A downy woodpecker called from nearby, too. Taking Bluebird Trail, things remained quiet with the only new sighting being a ring-billed gull floating overhead. Bluebird Trail eventually ended at White Tail Trail, which I took, as I do in the late afternoons these days. No new species we found, but a number of chickadees, cardinals, and sparrows were calling from several locations along the trail. From there is was back to the car with a pretty good list for the morning!

By the way, I spent the afternoon at Genesee Country Village & Museum and on the way home, drove by the farm fields along the roads near Oatka Creek Park. Lots of horned larks were along the road sides. No short-eared owls, however! :-) (Well, none seen from a moving car, at least.)



Cedar waxwing

Northern cardinal. Yes, it was snowing!

Northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Cedar waxwings. The left one has a yellow tail tip and the right one has an orange tail tip.

Cedar waxwings

Cedar waxwing

Dark-eyed junco. There are highlights of brown and red along the back.

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     12/5/10
Number of species:     21

Canada Goose     10
Mallard     4
Ring-billed Gull     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     2
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     4
American Crow     14
Black-capped Chickadee     21
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     3
Eastern Bluebird     4
American Robin     2
Cedar Waxwing     17
American Tree Sparrow     1
White-throated Sparrow     6
Dark-eyed Junco     3
Northern Cardinal     10
American Goldfinch     4

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