Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • December 16

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!

Golden-crowned Kinglet. Always moving, having the bird so close was a mixed blessing as it was hard to get a shot with the entire bird in the frame, let alone focused! I then noticed a tenuous mixed flock of birds passing through the copse. Chickadees, nuthatches, and bluebirds were among the species that briefly announced their presence before moving on.

Northern Cardinal. Though most other sources of fruit in the park seem depleted already, Staghorn Sumac berries are still in excellent supply and will probably be a staple for many birds this winter.

Northern Cardinal. Moments after leaving this cardinal and walking on, I noticed a pair of Blue Jays near the base of Maple Hill. This area seems to be their chosen wintering site in the park this year. Suddenly, pandemonium! Four screaming Blue Jays dart across the trail in front of me followed in hot pursuit by a noticeably bigger Cooper's Hawk! The birds disappeared at top speed over the neighboring foliage.

Northern Mockingbird. This bird was not interested in giving me a clear view as I jockeyed for several minutes, each of my moves being immediately countered by the mockingbird. I was able to entice it slightly with whisper spishes, but this was the best shot I was going to get today!