Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Eastern Bluebird. It was heavily overcast and cold this morning around sunrise. Despite the gloom, there was a lot of bird activity along the dirt road leading from the parking lot to the woods. Two bluebirds joined the chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, and goldfinches. Unfortunately, for the most part the birds were little more than silhouettes against the bright sky. Then one of the bluebirds dropped down and provided a bit of a photo-op.
Eastern Bluebird. Later in the hike eight bluebirds would fly overhead and low in a tight flock. The end of February when they start going to the nesting boxes and beginning a new cycle can not arrive soon enough!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Winter Wren. Our first winter storm of the season left barely an inch of snow on the ground in the park this morning. I got out a couple hours later than unusual, so morning bird activity was reduced even more than normal. The Winter Wren along the creek broke the silence at one point, however.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
White-tailed Deer. Deer hunting season has ended in our part of the state. Even so, the deer are still showing extreme caution when spotted. Peeking through layers of brambles is about all they will dare at the moment.
Red-bellied Woodpecker. The bright red crown of these birds seem all the more colorful due to the drab winter surroundings.
Brown Creeper. These are one of my favorite winter birds. Though they generally don't sing this time of year, I did hear a brief snatch of song this morning.
Coyote. And here was today's five-star surprise! The presence of coyotes in the park is well documented by their footprints in the fresh snow and how quickly a deer's carcass is reduced to clean bones. I have encountered a coyote in Oatka before, though this was the first photo-op.
Coyote. This is a close-up of the previous picture. I was on the northern bank of Oatka Creek and the coyote was directly across on the southern bank.
Coyote. It was around 8:45 AM on a cloudy morning: seemingly rather late into the morning to be out and about for a nocturnal animal. However, the field guides suggests this is not really all that unusual.
Coyote. Despite having the creek between us, the coyote was not comfortable with my notice and was actively scrambling up the steep bank to get away into hiding.
Carolina Wren. This was a brief encounter along the creek. Otherwise, things were quiet this morning, bird-wise at least.
Black-capped Chickadee. It was another fun outing feeding the birds by hand along Birdsong Trail! Note the crumbs on the bill of this chickadee from a previous trips to our hands. If you watch birds long enough you will notice a common behavior called "bill wiping". It's just what it sounds like: birds wipe their bills on the nearest perch to help keep them clean and free of debris.
White-breasted Nuthatch. You can see this bird's tongue if you look closely. (Click the picture for a larger version.)
White-breasted Nuthatch. This is my new desktop.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Golden-crowned Kinglet. It was an extremely quiet morning at the park today. A Great Blue Heron escaped the camera's view twice along the creek, but that was all the excitement until I came into the vicinity of the copse along Bluebird Trail. Quiet chip notes drew my attention to this kinglet that was nearly within arm's reach and at eye level!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Pileated Woodpecker. There were two Pileateds drumming away in the woods behind the lodge today. This one was quite a ways into the woods from the trail. I took a well-used deer trail to try and minimize the amount of noise I made as I approached, though it was quite clear from other pictures where the bird was looking directly at me that I wasn't fooling anyone today!
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Pileated Woodpecker. Winter, at least for birds, is in full effect. Perhaps due to the prevailing dry conditions, this year's small fruit crop is largely gone already in the park. Though the woodpeckers will still mostly subsist on overwintering insects, there will be little in the way of Poison Ivy berries and grapes to supplement their diets. Staghorn Sumac berries are fairly plentiful, however.