Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • June 10

Cedar Waxwing. These birds are continuing to establish their presence in the park for the upcoming nesting season. Cedar Waxwings don't begin nesting until summer as fruit is a significant portion of the food that is fed to the nestlings. This means the brood has to be timed so that fruit is available.

Eastern Phoebe

Great Blue Heron. This particular heron was a bit cagier than most, as will be seen below.

Brown-headed Cowbird. This fledgling popped up in front of me along Trout Run Trail. This bird was probably raised by Song Sparrows that were also fledging at the same time.

Brown-headed Cowbird. The behavior of this fledgling was already as bold and brash as an adult cowbird. It stayed in the open watching me while all the other birds, mostly Song Sparrows, headed for cover.

Great Blue Heron. Back to the heron, it saw something and decided to change its tactics of skulking in the foliage ...

Great Blue Heron. After a feint at a fly fisherman in the creek when it thought the fisherman had just caught a fish, it assumed a very bold position near the fisherman!

Great Blue Heron. I started chatting briefly with the fly fisherman which merely caused the bird to pause long enough to get a fix on me before I was dismissed and it returned its full attention to the fisherman's line. Having heard the story before ( ) and now seeing evidence of its plausibility, I mentioned to the fisherman that the heron might grab any fish the fisherman hooks. He agreed that was likely, but didn't seem too concerned about the heron. In fact, he calmly pulled out a pocket camera and took advantage of the phenomenally close photo-op.

Great Blue Heron. The original story I heard was of a heron and a fisherman getting into a fight over a freshly caught fish, each side claiming priority. The story goes that the fisherman took a surprising number of lumps and the heron made off with the fish. While today's fisherman didn't seemed inclined to mix it up with the heron, I left as I didn't want to stick around should things get ugly. I would see this gutsy heron on future dates along the creek, so it, at least, lived to tell the tale of today!

Eastern Phoebe

Downy Woodpecker. Today would be the last day I would see the nestling. The following day it would be gone and the nest silent, i.e., it would fledge within 24 hours of this picture. 

Downy Woodpecker. But for now, it continued to call to the adults to be fed. Eat up, tomorrow will be a busy first day in a new world!

Monarch Caterpillar

Brown-headed Cowbird. As the next round of nesting commences, the cowbirds have increased their activities, getting ready to drop their eggs into the nests of a new set of unsuspecting hosts.