Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • August 19

Solitary Sandpiper. It was an interesting morning along the creek. An Osprey snagged a fish and flew by me with water still draining from both prey and predator. Kingfishers chased each other up and down the creek. A juvenile Great Blue Heron flew off once it had been spotted, and a pair of Solitary Sandpipers frequently called out as they worked the various exposed mud flats for food.

Orange Jewelweed. Today several jewelweed plants were in full bloom with several flowers per plant.

Orange Jewelweed. Yellow Jewelweed blooms are still scarce with only one or two seen today.

Orange Jewelweed

Great Blue Heron. This adult was perching high over a fisherman. It causally preened, casting a dismissive eye towards me from time to time before returning to work on its feathers. There is such a huge difference in behavior between adult Great Blues and juveniles. To say the adults are confident is generally an understatement!

Brown Thrasher. I have been hearing the loud "smacks" of thrashers all through the southern part of the park for some time now, particularly near Maple Hill. This looks to be a juvenile, though the eyes are turning the yellow of an adult's. Cornell's Birds of North America says, "Iris color of fledglings becomes progressively paler and yellower with age, but even in Aug, fully grown fledgling has duller yellow iris than adult." This bird was also preening, so the head plumage, which I'm using for an indication of being a juvenile, might simply be in disarray from the preening process.

Monarch Caterpillar. My diligence has payed off and I spotted my first Monarch caterpillar of the new brood cycle today! The head of this caterpillar is on the right and the back end is on the left. Monarch butterflies are still a common sight in the park at the present time.