Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 15

It was a mostly sunny and 28F sunset hike in Oatka today. Though not windy at all, it felt a lot colder than 28F! The birds were fairly scarce and when found, they were usually in some sort of sheltered location. Robins were in the buckthorn berry bushes along the western edge of the lodge parking lot, as were a few Cedar Waxwings. Buckthorn and staghorn sumac berries are pretty much the only fruit left in reasonable quantities in the park at this point. Entering Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, a pair of kinglets passed through the area, and the single-pitch stutter of a Hairy Woodpecker seemed to come and go quickly, leaving silence in its wake. Then I heard something like a squirrel rustling through a pile of autumn leaves. I looked up and found the squirrel nest that was the source of the commotion. It was being ransacked by some unseen entity, until finally a Northern Flicker raised its head, flashed its yellow tail, and then flew off! :-) A few steps later, soft chip notes exploded all around me. I found a Brown Creeper in front of me and had a nice photo-op, but never caught up with the other birds in this apparent gathering. Later on I would find a pocket of chickadees and titmice. Moving out into Warbler Loop, I spied an Eastern Cottontail dash across the trail -- I don't remember seeing one in the park since the start of winter, though their tracks have been evident in the snow. Down near the creek I passed a Downy Woodpecker before stepping out onto the bridge and found a raft of Mallards tucked up again the creek bank. Reversing my direction, I headed to Gypsum Hollow Trail, which was quiet, and then Sapsucker Trail, which had some activity. As I approached the dam ruins, the Red-tailed Hawk that seems to be a regular resident of this area flew from its usual inner forest perch to one overhanging the creek. I had almost quietly maneuvered into an unobstructed view when some unnoticed Mallards in the creek below saw me and raised an alarm. The hawk immediately reacted and repositioned itself a bit deeper into the woods on the far side. I still got some pictures out of the episode, however. That would be it as I turned and headed back to my car.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/15/11
Number of species:     15

Mallard     23
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Downy Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     1
American Crow     61
Black-capped Chickadee     5
Tufted Titmouse     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Brown Creeper     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
American Robin     13
Cedar Waxwing     4
Dark-eyed Junco     1

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