Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 7

It was a sunny and 38F sunset birding hike at Oatka today. Tonight's hike was marked by the return of the Red-winged Blackbirds to Oatka. Last year my first observation of Red-winged Blackbirds in the park was on March 10th, so this year's first observation is a few days earlier. Most of the hike was extremely quiet with only one or two each of cardinals, chickadees, and nuthatches. There were a few more crows. Coming back from Sapsucker Trail along Gypsum Hollow Trail, a quintet of blackbirds flew overhead, "chack"ing away. A small group of Canada Geese flew by a few moments later. Reaching the bridge over the creek, the water appeared higher and the current stronger than I can ever recall. Much of the bank on either side was under water. Heading back to the fields of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail and on to the base of Maple Hill, I picked up a pair of bluebirds, a Pileated Woodpecker, and a robin. Spurred on by the Red-winged Blackbird sighting and knowing the Hill is prime real estate for them, I picked my way through the ice and water at the base of the hill and made it onto the firm, dry land beyond the footbridge. As I hiked the hill, I heard Blue Jays and spied a Red-tailed Hawk perched over Stewart Rd which borders the park at this point. Overhead, increasingly larger flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds crisscrossed the sky. No one had taken up residence on the Hill yet, however. (Maple Hill is prime nesting territory for this species.) Coming back down off the hill and onto White Tail Trail, the largest flock yet of blackbirds flew overhead, numbering around 70+. Finally reaching the dirt road on the way back to the parking lot and passing the adjacent swampy area, I heard my first "konkeree!" of the season, along with the other associated vocalizations. 

Oatka Creek downstream of the bridge

Oatka Creek upstream of the bridge

Base of Maple Hill

Red-tailed Hawk

American Robin

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/7/11
Number of species:     11

Canada Goose     100
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     3
American Crow     8
Black-capped Chickadee     8
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     2
Northern Cardinal     1
Red-winged Blackbird     120

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(