Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 4

White-tailed Deer. There were a lot of deer hopping out of the underbrush today.

White-tailed Deer. The coats are taking on winter features, such as the black outlining of the ears.

Red-bellied Woodpecker. You can see the orangish flush on the belly of this female. This "red belly" is not always apparent.

Carolina Wren. The wrens were very active along the creekside this morning! Several were calling and one was singing for quite some time. (Carolina Wrens, unlike most birds, will sing on any day of the year and at any time of the day.)

Carolina Wren. That didn't mean that they stayed put for very long. This one is ready to fly off.

Winter Wren. While taking the picture of the Carolina Wren above, this Winter Wren popped up behind me and starting calling its "dit-dit" call in my ear. I turned around and while scanning the wooded debris for the little noise maker, I finally spotted it out in the open right in front of my nose. Once spotted, it was off to a new hiding place, and the game began again. After two or three rounds, it must have gotten tired with winning so easily and left.

Great Blue Heron. This juvenile was skulking along the bank of the creek, trying to alternately hunt and escape my attention.

Great Blue Heron. After this shot the bird flew from the far bank to ...

Great Blue Heron. ... to the near bank right by me! The blurry patches are the tall plants I am peaking through so as not to disturb the heron too badly.

Eastern Bluebird. The bluebird boxes have been closed for the season along Bluebird Trail to prevent the House Sparrows from taking over. The bluebirds did not seem to suffer in the least by the box closures last winter. (They were opened up again in February.) They found plenty of other cavities to roost in at night and to escape the elements. Some of said cavities might even have been manmade somewhere on the private properties bordering the park. I suspect this bluebird is a member of a Canadian nesting population that will be overwintering the park, so it may be able to tolerate the cold even better as a result.

House Sparrow. A group of House Sparrows was eating rose fruits along the dirt road from the parking lot to the woods as I was leaving. Though these birds are frequently vilified for overcompeting with native species, they are also an attractive species!