Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • April 19

It was a drizzly, 42F late afternoon hike in Oatka today. Due to the precipitation, my hike was shorter than normal. Today's hotspot was Warbler Loop with a Brown Thrasher singing as I left the woods of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail and entered the fields around the Loop. As I listened, the thrasher seemed to occasionally get stuck on robin calls. Repeat twice and pause, and then two more, and pause, etc. I've never heard a thrasher stay with a particular call for a while. The mystery was solved when I found a small tree with the thrasher near the top and a robin a few feet underneath. :-) After a nice photo-op with the thrasher, I moved a few feet down the trail in the Loop to my favorite "Theater of the Birds" location. It is small area about 8 feet wide where the front shrubs line drops down to about three feet from the ground and a second line of shrubs about 10 feet back rises to about 6 feet high. The birds can sit on this second shrub line fully in view and comfortable in the fact that they can drop down an inch or two at any time and become totally invisible. Today as I approached the area, sparrows started pouring across the trail in front of me and up to far shrub line in the Theater. As I watched in amazement, two Fox Sparrows led the way, following by half a dozen White-throated Sparrows, and an Eastern Towhee bringing up the rear. Each bird paused at the shrub line to look back at me and give me the once over. I was so surprised that I didn't get my camera up fast enough for the Fox or White-throated Sparrows. The towhee found a fairly well hidden knot of branches to hide behind while it gave its characteristic calls. As I rounded the Loop by the bridge over the creek and starting coming back up the other side, I heard some rustling in the undergrowth and then an Ermine (Short-tailed Weasel) ran across the trail carrying some kind of rodent prey in its mouth! :-) About then the sprinkles turned to drizzle and I cut the hike short and returned to the parking lot that way I had come. Not a bad outing, actually!

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

Eastern Towhee

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     4/19/11
Number of species:     20

Canada Goose     2
Turkey Vulture     7
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Downy Woodpecker     2
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     1
Blue Jay     3
American Crow     5
Black-capped Chickadee     1
Tufted Titmouse     1
American Robin     3
Brown Thrasher     1
Eastern Towhee     1
Fox Sparrow     2
Song Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     6
Dark-eyed Junco     2
Northern Cardinal     6
Red-winged Blackbird     3
American Goldfinch     1

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