Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 8

It was a sunny and 40F sunset birding hike in Oatka today. The early signs of spring were evident today! The walk in from the parking lot to the woods was very productive with huge flocks of Canada Geese overhead (110 and 38 in two separate flocks), several Red-winged Blackbird singing from the swampy area, defining and defending their sections of this breeding area, and an interesting quartet of White-breasted Nuthatches. One of the four was battling the other three: an local resident versus a transient trio? Things quieted down once I entered the woods with just a couple familiar birds here and there for the bulk of the walk until I reached the base of Maple Hill. Picking my way through the ice and water to get to firm ground, I was rewarded with a bounty of birdlife! A flicker called from the woods at the base of the hill, while the Red-tailed Hawk was at its same post again overlooking Stewart Road. Two starlings put on an exhibition of mimicry as two bluebirds flew overhead. However, the main show were the large flocks of blackbirds overhead. I looked to see if they were mixed flocks of blackbirds, but they all looked and sounded to me as Red-winged Blackbirds. Finally, a separate Red-winged Blackbird flew low and over my head, "konkeree"ing all the time in an echo of their defensive territorial display during nesting season on Maple Hill. It landed atop a nearby tree and called out for some time as I got my first Red-winged Blackbird pictures of the year in Oatka. As I came around the far side of the hill, six American Tree Sparrows flew up into a bush by the trail to get a look at me in the fading sun. I refer to this area of the park (Maple Hill) as the "door". Migrants are usually seen here first when they arrive and last when they are about to leave for the season. Perhaps the tree sparrows are getting ready to leave. The blackbirds are certainly arriving! 

American Robin

White-breasted Nuthatch


Canada Geese

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/8/11
Number of species:     17

Canada Goose     226
Mallard     2
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
American Crow     8
Black-capped Chickadee     7
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     4
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     13
European Starling     2
American Tree Sparrow     6
Red-winged Blackbird     60

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(