Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • May 1

It was a mostly cloudy and 53F early morning birding in Oatka today. Once or twice in the spring, new life *explodes* into Oatka overnight. Today was such a day. My first clue was hearing a Baltimore Oriole singing just a few feet down the dirt road towards the woods. This would be one of several first-of-the-year species for the park today. Towhees and Field Sparrows continue to swell in numbers, as do, unfortunately, Brown-headed Cowbirds. Once in the woods and onto Black Billed Cuckoo Trail, I heard a Yellow-throated Vireo, and like a siren it pulled me into the little-traveled Brown Creeper Trail. This trail was bird paradise today! While looking for the vireo, a Blue-winged Warbler "bee-buzz"ed from a nearby hidden location. I finally spotted the vireo and now know why I was never successful at making a visual observation, let along getting a picture, all last year. It stayed at the top of the largest, and fortunately leafless, trees, singing one or two phrases and then moving to another tree. It was as hyperactive as a kinglet. :-) I then heard a nearby Common Yellowthroat and found it in a relatively exposed location. I got poor pictures, though I would have a much more successful photo-op later in Warbler Loop for this first-of-the-year sighting. Phoebes called and then I heard one my all-time favorite bird songs: Wood Thrushes had also returned overnight. White-throated sparrows sang and Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere. A pair of Gray Catbirds carefully moved into the open and impressed me with a more prolific display of mimicry than I usually hear from these birds. Some of the calls were actually sweet and devoid of the usual harshness. Warbler Loop produced several Yellow Warblers as I headed to the bridge over the creek. On the bridge I heard the song of another new returnee: Rose-breasted Grosbeak. After a brief expedition to photograph the grosbeak, I returned to the bridge and was stunned to realized I was watching two Northern Rough-winged Swallows engaged in courtship behavior. Like the Tree Swallows of a day or two ago, these birds were perched and stationary for extended periods of time, producing some great photographic situations. My last new species of the season came at the intersection of Black Billed Cuckoo and Old Burrell Road Trails: a Red-eyed Vireo sang constantly as it hopped from tree branch to tree branch, eating either insects, buds, or both. Though not quite as elusive as the Yellow-throated Vireo, it still was a frustrating photographic situation that produced largely all duds. :-) Remarkable morning!


Common Yellowthroat


Gray Catbird


Gray Catbird


Northern Flicker. Hopelessly blurred, but the yellow of its wings is magnificent!


Gray Catbird


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat


American Goldfinch


American Goldfinch


Cherry Blossoms


Mallard


Purple Dead-Nettle


Northern Rough-winged Swallow


Northern Rough-winged Swallow


Virginia Bluebells


Virginia Bluebells


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Red-eyed Vireo


Field Sparrow


Eastern Bluebirds


Eastern Bluebird


American Goldfinch


Blue Jay


Eastern Towhee


Baltimore Oriole


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     5/1/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     42


Canada Goose     2
Mallard     2
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Killdeer     2
Ring-billed Gull     1
Mourning Dove     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     3
Northern Flicker     3
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Eastern Phoebe     3
Great Crested Flycatcher     1
Yellow-throated Vireo     2
Red-eyed Vireo     2
Blue Jay     9
American Crow     3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow     2
Tree Swallow     4
Black-capped Chickadee     7
Tufted Titmouse     5
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Eastern Bluebird     2
Wood Thrush     4
American Robin     8
Gray Catbird     5
Brown Thrasher     1
European Starling     1
Blue-winged Warbler     1
Yellow Warbler     6
Yellow-rumped Warbler     6
Common Yellowthroat     3
Eastern Towhee     10
Chipping Sparrow     1
Field Sparrow     9
Song Sparrow     4
White-throated Sparrow     4
Northern Cardinal     10
Rose-breasted Grosbeak     1
Red-winged Blackbird     7
Brown-headed Cowbird     13
Baltimore Oriole     1
American Goldfinch     10


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