Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • October 22

Autumn Colors. The colors are now past peak and with this weekends' passage of Hurricane Sandy, many of the remaining leaves may fall. Having said that, golden leaves against a deep blue autumn sky have always been one of my most favorite color contrasts!

Autumn Colors

Downy Woodpecker. The birds are chowing down on the Poison Ivy berries!

Downy Woodpecker. The seed of the berry will be deposited elsewhere in the bird's droppings. Now you know how Poison Ivy spreads!

Rusty Blackbird. Here is my post to the Genesee Birds mail list about these birds on this evening: This afternoon I had a late-in-the-season Black-and-white Warbler and a not-so late-in-the-season Ruby-crowned Kinglet traveling together along Oatka Creek near the base of the bridge. More evident was a large flock of blackbirds and starlings that were congregating by the banks of the creek. Closer inspection revealed about a quarter of the birds were Rusty Blackbirds with the rest of the flock consisting of Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and European Starlings. The flock was at least 100+ birds strong and very vocal. There was a distinct behavioral difference between the Rusties and the other species. Whereas the grackles, Red-wings, and starlings were skittish and swarmed around with each footstep I took along the trail, the Rusties just glanced at me dismissively and then returned to their grooming without budging from their perches. The good news is that this made for easy photography. The bad news was that 90% of the pictures had a Rusty's head buried in its chest or under its wing. This was at the northern boundary of the park. At the southern boundary of the park atop Maple Hill, I heard another flock of Rusty Blackbirds gurgling and "squeaky-hinging" their vocalizations from a flock perch along Stewart Road.

Rusty Blackbird. Clearly not very interested in me after the look above.

Rusty Blackbird. This was a preening pose.

Rusty Blackbird

White-breasted Nuthatch. As the leaves fall, the activities of these birds are become easier and easier to follow.

Autumn Colors

Maple Hill. The colors are amplified by it being the golden hour before sunset.