Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 13

It was a mostly cloudy and 28F sunrise birding hike in Oatka today. The temperature rose rapidly during the morning and the sky cleared with the temperature reaching 42F when I finished. There were far more birds singing today than I've heard all winter! Things got off to a fast start with ten species just walking in from the parking lot to the woods: chickadees, jays, a nuthatch, crows, a robin, a junco, a Downy Woodpecker, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, a flicker, and a titmouse. I then heard a *loud* and close-by Red-tailed Hawk behind me. Quickly moving back up the trail with camera ready, I was just in time to see the Blue Jay launch from its perch and fly across the field. :-)  Entering Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, things became quiet. The silence continued through Warbler Loop until I reached the creek. There, a large raft of Mallards with an American Black Duck was spotted. Turning onto Gypsum Hollow Trail, a pair of Canada Geese were found a bit downstream. Entering Sapsucker Trail, I soon encountered a large mixed flock of birds centered around several extremely vocal titmice. Joining the titmice were chickadees, jays, a nuthatch, a Downy Woodpecker, and goldfinches. A Carolina Wren was heard singing from the other side of the creek. I watched a small black-looking bird flutter its way across the trail, almost literally hugging the ground, then continue several more feet until it found a protected crevice into which to disappear. It was probably a Winter Wren, though it was silent and never stopped long enough for me to get a good look. After turning around, I headed to the bridge over the creek where robins and starlings were in numbers. Crossing over, I realized I was lucky enough to hit the time when a significant number of birds were down by the creek to drink and bath. Most interesting was a small group of bluebirds mixed in with the robins. Watching a bluebird and robin drinking side-by-side and only inches apart, I was struck by their evident physical similarities. Of course, I know they are both thrushes and even a beginner would not confuse the two species. However, within a small scale factor and with relatively minor coloration differences, they really seemed to be made from the same mold. The rattle of a Belted Kingfisher broke me from that reverie, and I continued on. At the turnaround point I picked up a Northern Cardinal, which would be it for the species list for today. I would have a photo-op with a Carolina Wren on the return trip, watch a nice flyby of the kingfisher as I was recrossed the bridge, and find a few more woodpeckers through the woods of Gypsum Hollow on my way back to the car.

Black-capped Chickadee with Staghorn Sumac berry

Black-capped Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker

American Black Duck


Mallards and American Black Duck

Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebirds

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/13/11
Number of species:     20

Canada Goose     2
American Black Duck     1
Mallard     30
Belted Kingfisher     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     4
Downy Woodpecker     4
Northern Flicker     2
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     8
American Crow     7
Black-capped Chickadee     11
Tufted Titmouse     12
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Carolina Wren     2
Eastern Bluebird     4
American Robin     13
European Starling     5
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     1
American Goldfinch     7

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(