Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 11

It was a mostly sunny and calm 28F sunset hike in Oatka today. The weather was extremely benign, and the birds responded with more activity than I've seen in a number of weeks. As I exited my car, a titmouse sang in the distance. A pair of noisy nuthatches seemed to be everywhere as I walked down the dirt road to the woods. Another person who I hadn't met before exited the woods and said he had seen a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, crows mobbing a small gray owl, and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, all in the general vicinity of my nightly route these days. One of the Pileateds called out just then to confirm the sightings. Continuing onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, a nice group of chickadees came through the area with more titmice, nuthatches, and the second Pileated completing the mixed flock. Downy Woodpeckers were also seemingly everywhere, tapping away. A few crows flew overhead, and a noisy robin and a silent flicker were also found along this trail. Reaching Warbler Loop, the fields were quiet, though a Red-bellied Woodpecker called from the bordering trees. Down by the creek I found the Mallards gathered into two groups, one upstream of the bridge and the other downstream. An American Black Duck was with the downstream group. Retreating from the bridge, I headed towards Gypsum Hollow Trail, which was quiet, and then Sapsucker Trail, which was busy. About halfway down, I started to hear approaching buzzes. They were quite loud for Brown Creepers, but Brown Creepers they were! After a nice photo-op with them, I turned to complete the trip to the dam ruins when a Red-tailed Hawk flew majestically from its mid-forest perch to a perch overhanging the creek. It turned to face the setting sun, giving me an ideal perspective. I took pictures through the foliage, knowing the moment I broke cover for an unobstructed shot, it might launch. It did. :-( After surveying the creek from the top of the dam ruins, I retraced my steps and headed back to the car. Along the dirt road leading to the parking lot, I had one last nice surprise when a Carolina Wren started calling with its loud "cheer" call. It was a very pleasant night!

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Red-tailed Hawk. The light from the setting sun just enhances the reds in this bird's plumage!

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/11/11
Number of species:     14

American Black Duck     1
Mallard     36
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     5
Northern Flicker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     2
American Crow     4
Black-capped Chickadee     7
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     4
Brown Creeper     2
Carolina Wren     1
American Robin     1

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