Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • February 8

It was a partially sunny, cold, and windy, 16F sunset birding hike in Oatka tonight. The wind was strong enough to have the trees in constant motion, making enough noise to drown out all but the loudest of bird vocalizations. Crazy as it may seem, I enjoy birding under such adverse conditions, as it gives me an opportunity to see which birds brave such conditions and how they do it. I was not disappointed tonight! The walk in from the parking lot to the woods was devoid of birds, as was Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, except for a few crows overhead, looking like they were more being blown forward rather than flying. Birds were also absent on Warbler Loop except for a single cardinal that flew across my path down by the bank of the creek. Standing on the bridge over the creek, I counted over two dozen Mallards in various states of repose without any obvious concessions to the elements. Retracing my steps, I eventually entered Gypsum Hollow Trail and then Sapsucker Trail. Experiencing no birds at all since the bridge, my list stood at three species and I was beginning to think that might be it for the walk. However, after turning around at the dam ruins and retracing my steps along Sapsucker, I started to hear some light chipping in the sudden lull in the wind. Chickadees, I originally thought as the sounds slowly approached. Then I started hearing some intermittent buzzing mixed in. "Ah," I thought, "kinglets!" Then my jaw dropped as a tight trio of Brown Creepers entered into view in front of my, working the trees as they crossed the trail from left to right. They seemed to be some kind of social unit, and took no notice of me nor were in any kind of hurry. Eventually returning to Gypsum Hollow Trail, I soon found a pair of kinglets and a Hairy Woodpecker. Upon reaching the dirt road heading back to the parking lot, a titmouse came upon the scene to check me out as I walked to my car.

Mallard

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     2/8/11
Number of species:     7

Mallard     25
Hairy Woodpecker     1
American Crow     7
Tufted Titmouse     1
Brown Creeper     3
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
Northern Cardinal     1

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