Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • August 31

Eastern Wood-Pewee. The chickadees have come out of their secretive breeding season mode and now are back to chattering throughout the park. In addition to attracting the attention of birders, their voices also attract other birds, especially spring and fall migrants. Since breeding season it done, I've gone back to spishing when I find chickadees to see who else pops up. Here it wasn't a migrant, but a summer resident pewee.

Eastern Wood-Pewee. Got to keep checking for overhead predators! Red-tailed, Cooper's, and Sharp-shinned Hawks would be the primary diurnal songbird predators in the park, I would guess. I say "diurnal" (daytime), as I would guess Great Horned and Eastern Screech Owls are the primary nocturnal (nighttime) predators. Just this morning I found the remains of a Tufted Titmouse that looks like it was an owl's meal last night.

Eastern Wood-Pewee. Notice how the top bill has a small hook on the end.

Cedar Waxwing. There are still a small handful of waxwings feeding on insects over the creek these days.

Monarch. The current increase in the number of these butterflies in the air is still going strong.

Great Spangled Fritillary. I may only see one or two of these butterflies on each hike these days. However, a shutout is rare.

Common Buckeye. Another sighting of a local rarity! This is southern butterfly that temporarily extends its range northward this time of year. This is my third sighting for the year.

Common Buckeye. These butterflies have a notable preference for sandy areas and footpaths. Correspondingly, all my sightings have been in the middle of Bluebird Trail. Sometimes they have been where the trail is entirely grassy by the western fields. Today, it was along the section of trail by the eastern fields where the grass has been worn away, leaving exposed dirt. 

Common Buckeye. I don't recall ever seeing the underside of a buckeye's wings before. During summer the underside is tan. During fall it is rosy. Is this butterfly transitioning between the two "morphs" (color states)?