Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • May 5

There are usually one or two special days during May when it seems all the birds in their brightest plumages come out and have unusually high tolerances for being photographed.  May 5th was such a day this year.

White-crowned Sparrow. This species spent about a week in the park and have since migrated on though a few may still be in the region.

American Goldfinch

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Now I realized something special was up as it is very uncommon to rare to see a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the park. (One might have more luck at a backyard feeder.) This one posed like this in the open for a remarkably long time. Like with most species, the female likes to stay hidden so that her nest stays undetected.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I may never see another female until after nesting season or even not until next spring.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The male was close at hand.

Mayapple. All at once, the Mayapples were in bloom this morning.

Question Mark

Blue-winged Warbler. This is another remarkable sight, but not because the bird is uncommon. This species is, in fact, quite common in the park. Rather, it is very skittish, always staying well hidden deep in the shrubbery.  

Blue-winged Warbler. This morning, this male came out in the open to sing for a while. After these pictures, however, it thought differently of the situation and resumed singing from deep within the foliage.

Scarlet Tanager. The first tanager pictures of the year! There is a nice contingent of Scarlet Tanagers in the park right now and they are clearly setting up territories. They nested in the park last year.

Scarlet Tanager. These birds seem to prefer the upper canopy of the deep forest.

Hairy Woodpecker. There is one section of my route that clearly goes far too close to a Hairy Woodpecker nest for the parents liking. They have been treating me to some ear piercing scolding the past few days. Perhaps for the sake of my sanity I will modify my route slightly for a while. The only downside is that this is also prime Scarlet Tanager spotting territory.

Eastern Towhee

Red Squirrel. Still loving those Black Walnuts, I see!

Orchard Oriole. This was a new one for my life list. They are roughly three-quarters the size of a Baltimore Oriole and are a darker color, chestnut according to the field guides.

Orchard Oriole. There is a Baltimore Oriole picture at the end for comparison. Others spotted two Orchid Orioles together in the park the following day or so. I have heard of no sightings since.

Eastern Phoebe. They are definitely nesting under the bridge over the creek as I have seen them carrying food to the nest.

Bald Eagle. Returning through Warbler Loop from the creek, I looked up and saw the large form of a Bald Eagle soaring my way in large circles. It circled Warbler Loop several times and then moved. Did I mention this was a special day?

American Lady. I had plans this year to track all the butterflies along with all the birds and wildflowers. However, the bird activity is now too great for me to hunt down all the smaller, less showy butterflies at the same time. So, I am contenting myself with chance observations of the larger butterflies between bird monitoring.

Baltimore Oriole. What a day!