Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • April 15

It was a partially sunny, windy, and cold-feeling 48F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. The wind masked bird vocalizations and kept most birds hidden in sheltered places. The only birds that didn't seem to care were cardinals and titmice, whose songs could be heard non-stop throughout the park. The highlight today was, no doubt, approaching the bridge over the creek and seeing a flock of 40+ tree swallows hawking some insect that must have just had a massive hatching at the water's surface. They skimmed the surface of the creek, competing with the fish that would break the surface for a morsel of their own. They also worked the air a few feet above the creek. I slowly crept out to the middle of the bridge and stood still while the flock would go zooming by, threatening to engulf me head to toe, as they moved from downstream to upstream, and back again. On White Tail Trail, a towhee popped up maybe no more than six feet away from me, and yet thoroughly buried in the shrubbery. Its call was tantalizing, and though I could see it with binoculars, I couldn't get any kind of clear shot with my camera. Score that round for the towhee! Finally, upon returning to the parking lot and not having seen a Turkey Vulture, I found 14 vultures soaring slowly and at treetop level near my car! A dog walker standing there remarked that they belong to a flock of 40-50 TVs that roost in the evergreens on the southern bank of Oatka Creek. (Since she left the parking lot by foot, she probably lives in one of the houses near said roosting place.) Quiet night, but not without its bright points!

Video of Tree Swallows over Oatka Creek:

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

American Robin

Tree Swallows over Oatka Creek

Downy Serviceberry ready to flower.

Mallard. This male was acting very secretive, so I assume the female was sitting on a nest nearby.

Golden-crowned Kinglet. The kinglets have been appearing in relatively large numbers in the region of late -- a migration wave, no doubt. Also, they've been acting sluggish for kinglets -- another indicator they are migrating and tired from their long flights. It is making photographing them slightly less impossible! :-)

Turkey Vulture

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     4/15/11
Number of species:     23

Mallard     1
Great Blue Heron     1
Turkey Vulture     14
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Mourning Dove     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     3
Eastern Phoebe     1
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     5
Tree Swallow     40
Black-capped Chickadee     6
Tufted Titmouse     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Carolina Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     2
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     4
Eastern Towhee     2
Song Sparrow     4
Dark-eyed Junco     3
Northern Cardinal     8
Red-winged Blackbird     3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(