Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • May 17

Barn Swallow. This hike would turn out to be another remarkable spring outing. It starts quietly enough with my first Barn Swallow picture of the season.

Squawroot. This parasitic plant is listed as a wildflower. It grows on the roots of oak trees. Later in the season as it dries and darkens, it will look like pine cones.

Scarlet Tanager. Any day with a close encounter of Scarlet Tanagers is a great one!

Scarlet Tanager

Pileated Woodpecker. These females are starting to show up sporadically now. If consistent with other woodpecker species, she is probably hunting up food for her nestlings. I did not find any Pileated Woodpecker nests this year, though I have my suspicions on where some may be. However, they are inaccessible from the trails, so I have not followed up on my hunches.

Yellow Warbler

True Forget-me-nots

Great Blue Heron. These birds are now becoming more common along the creek.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Eastern Towhee. The ever elusive female Eastern Towhee makes a guest appearance!

Eastern Bluebird. Look closely above and to the right of the male Eastern Bluebird: a fledgling! This is the first sighting I have had of the first bluebird brood of the season.

Eastern Bluebird. I have seen at least three fledglings at the same time over the past several days. In the past the first brood has typically produced about four offspring according to the person who maintains the boxes.

Eastern Bluebird. The protective father.

Swainson's Thrush. This is another uncommon sighting! These birds are migrants in our area and this year I only heard or saw them on two consecutive days before they moved on. Note the buff (yellowish) wash on their throat and the buff eye ring.

Swainson's Thrush