Friday, February 11, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 10

It was a sunny, clear blue sky, and windy 17F sunset birding hike in Oatka tonight. With wind gusts up to 14 mph, the wind chill was in the mid single digits. Still, there were birds! The walk along the dirt road into the woods was devoid of birds except a crow or two. In the woods of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, the evening flight of crows was underway as a kinglet flew surprisingly close to me as it hopped from limb to limb near the trail. A Red-bellied Woodpecker called in the distance to complete that portion of the walk. Down by the creek along Warbler Loop, a Downy Woodpecker called an alarm to my approach. There was a large raft of ducks in the creek and they were very nervous. With such a large number of Mallards, I can usually find an American Black Duck and I did, indeed, find one tonight. At the bridge I also saw seven Canada Geese and was able to make a quick count of Mallards as they swam away downstream. Retreating from the bridge, I headed to Gypsum Hollow Trail where a Hairy Woodpecker took up alarm duties. Sapsucker Trail was quiet except for a couple more woodpeckers. Returning to Gypsum Hollow, I headed back towards the parking lot until I reached the intersection with Black Billed Cuckoo Trail. Some persistent chips suddenly resolved itself into Golden-crowned Kinglet and Brown Creeper City! It wasn't their numbers as much as their willingness to stay in the area around me for several long minutes. The kinglets, in particular, were not put off by presence and were within touching distance many times. It was a male-female pair with the color of the crowns contrasting nicely. The creepers were also comfortable with me being five to six feet away as long as I didn't move too quickly. As a creeper would move to the next tree, I'd slowly following it over and it would let me resume my close photographic distance without any concern. Actually, I left before these birds did, to give you a sense of how long the encounter was. Finally, as I neared the parking lot, a Northern Cardinal popped up in the bushes along the dirt road to keep an eye on me as I headed to my car.

Mallards with an American Black Duck at the bottom middle

Mallards

American Black Duck

American Black Duck amid Mallards

American Black Duck and a Mallard

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet 

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Sunset

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/10/11
Number of species:     10

Canada Goose     7
American Black Duck     1
Mallard     41
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     3
Hairy Woodpecker     1
American Crow     22
Brown Creeper     3
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
Northern Cardinal     1

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