Friday, February 18, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 18

It was a sunny and *windy* 53F sunset birding hike in Oatka tonight. The sustained wind speed was around 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. As a result, essentially no birds were in the open. Additionally, no bird vocalizations were able to compete with the ambient noise of the wind and swaying trees, with a notable exception described below. However, I have a new toy, a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx, and used the hike to continue to map out some of the trails in the park that are not included on the county park map. Only a single crow could make itself heard tonight as I walked the dirt road from the parking lot into the woods. Black Billed Cuckoo Trail was empty and all that Warbler Loop produced were a few chickadees along the ground in the tall shrubs along the trail. The creek was running very high and the current was very fast -- definitely not conducive for waterfowl. Gypsum Hollow Trail was empty, as was Sapsucker Trail. At this point I decided to map the full Sapsucker Trail loop. (It's a small loop.) I then mapped a much longer trail that brought a couple of surprises. First, I found what, I presume, is another artifact from pre-park days: the ruins of a small building. As I left these ruins behind and continued to follow the yellow paint blazes, I started hearing bird calls. They were mostly single note buzzes, loud and easily cutting through the wind and moving trees. Brown Creepers! A pair of them were working the trees and communicating with each other with no apparent problem. Clearly, I have to call this trail Brown Creeper Trail. :-) A few cardinals dashed through the area, too. I headed out to Bluebird Trail to map it (no birds there) and then went around White Tail Trail, where I found a single White-throated Sparrow to complete the list for the night.

Black-capped Chickadee

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/18/11
Number of species:     5

American Crow     1
Black-capped Chickadee     5
Brown Creeper     2
White-throated Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     3

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