Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 27


Giant Swallowtail. This individual had rather worn wings. It might have been one of the remainders of the first brood of the season. Hopefully a new batch will stray into our area in August as a result of the second breeding of the season.

Giant Swallowtail. Here you can see how tattered this butterfly was looking.

Oatka Creek Park • July 26


Solitary Sandpiper. The olive green legs are one of the notable features about this bird.


Eastern Bluebird. With nesting season apparently done for the bluebirds in our area, they are presently milling around the fields and forest edges along Bluebird Trail. I hear their songs and flight calls daily on my hikes. This male is looking a bit scruffy from the damp conditions on this day (clouds and rain). Bluebirds typically won't molt until September, according to Cornell's Birds of North America.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 25


Peck's Skipper. There are tons of tiny butterflies throughout Oatka Creek Park. They can be quite maddening to try and identify, too. However, I gave it try with this small yellow-brown skipper and found it to be a common Peck's Skipper. A tiny delight!


Willow Flycatcher. As the seasons change, so does my route through the park. I have added Maple Hill back to my route and as in previous years, the Hill is home to a group of Willow Flycatchers. Their "wit!" calls can be heard throughout this area.

Oatka Creek Park • July 24


Cedar Waxwing. Juvenile Cedar Waxwings are now showing up in the bug-eating waxwing flock seen daily over the creek. The tail of this young bird was deep orange rather than the typical sunshine yellow.

Cedar Waxwing

Belted Kingfisher. This is also a juvenile from the reddish highlights in its upper bluish belt. It was intent on hunting the waters below.

Belted Kingfisher

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 23


Green Darner. These dragonflies can be even fussier about not wanting to be photograped than birds or butterflies. Must be the big eyes! This one chose to land right next to me which helped immensely.

Oatka Creek Park • July 22


Turkey Vultures. Now that breeding season is over, the Turkey Vultures are more frequently "kettling" prior to setting down into a community roost for the night. This kettle is over the creek near a well-known Turkey Vulture roost site. There are a number of farms with livestock surrounding the park, and this provides ideal scavenging conditions for these birds. 


Turkey Vulture. Turkey Vultures are beneficial and tend to be benevolent, tolerating human activity very well. An aggressive vulture is probably the similar and uncommon to our region Black Vulture which sometimes travels with Turkey Vultures.


Solitary Sandpipers. This species gets its name from its habit of migrating alone or, as seen here, in pairs. They generally do not form large migratory flocks like most shorebirds do.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 21


Great Blue Heron. These birds continue to be daily visitors to the creek, now.


Common Wood-Nymph. I think only the Cabbage White butterflies seem to outnumber the wood-nymphs at present.

Oatka Creek Park • July 20

Spotted Sandpiper. This is juvenile Spotted Sandpiper due to the lack of spots underneath.


Solitary Sandpiper. Both sandpipers are now common occurrences along the creek.

Oatka Creek Park • July 19



Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. More large butterflies on Wild Bergamot!


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. These yellow swallowtails are starting to look rather worn and tattered as a group. They will trickle out now for the rest of the season and return early next spring.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 18


Spicebush Swallowtail. The Wild Bergamots are now in decline. (I think you can see that here.) So, the large butterflies are not as easy to find, now.


Spicebush Swallowtail. However, declining or not, when I do find a large swallowtail these days, it is almost always on a Wild Bergamot!

Oatka Creek Park • July 16


Common Yellowthroat. This male is still protecting its territory along Trout Run Trail by the creek.


Common Yellowthroat. It have seen it carrying food as recently as this past week.

Oatka Creek Park • July 15


Barn Swallow. This is a young bird who hasn't yet grown that long forked tail of an adult.

Brown Thrasher. This bird's eyes are still more gray than yellow, though a hint of dark yellow is suggested. It was certainly acting like a juvenile as it tried to get a good look at me without being seen itself. It clearly had not yet developed the skulking, secretive skills of an adult!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 14


Brown Thrasher. I have been hearing and seeing these birds a lot in the park of late. I don't remember noticing them so late into the season last year.


Spicebush Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail. Perhaps the grandest of the butterflies to be found in the park. This is doubly interesting as they only stray as far north as New York but rarely. However, like southern bird species, the southern butterfly species may be extended their ranges northward of late.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 13


White-tailed Deer. As the summer heat intensifies the creek is becoming increasingly the center of daytime activity. Fortunately, just as Oatka Creek never freezes in the winter, it never runs dry in the summer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 12


Spotted Sandpiper. The sandpipers, both Spotted and Solitary, and now moving along the creek, feeding from the exposed mud and algae flats.


Spotted Sandpiper. Fall migration has started! (It is normal for water birds to begin this early.)

Oatka Creek Park • July 11


Black Swallowtail. The midsummer parade of large butterflies continues!

Black Swallowtail. This species peaks in mid July in New York and then is gone until next July.

Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 10


Common Mergansers. The young mergansers were back with their mother! A careful count from my many pictures showed that all seventeen juveniles are still alive and healthy. Surely, a tribute to Super Mom! These birds cannot fly yet, though one flapped like mad and ran across the water's surface when it felt it had gotten too separated from the others.

Oatka Creek Park • July 9


Rose-breasted Grosbeak. There's always a surprise at Oatka Creek Park! This bird looks like it has been mere hours from leaving the nest. It has yet to grow no more than the stubbiest of tails. There are still downy feathers on the top of its head. The bill is also clearly one of a very young bird.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak. All the excitement of leaving the nest must have left our feathered friend tired. It decided it was nap time.


Eastern Towhee. I thought it was time for another towhee picture!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • July 8


Common Yellowthroat. This female has food for her nestlings.

Common Yellowthroat. She's waiting for me to leave so she doesn't have to reveal the location of her nest.

Common Yellowthroat. Okay, I going!

Spicebush Swallowtail

Red-tailed Hawk. Even the hawks are looking at me!

Oatka Creek Park • July 7


Brown Thrasher. A juvenile! Look at the eye: it is gray rather than bright yellow or yellow-orange. This bird is just months old.


Brown Thrasher. There are also other more subtle colorings and patterns that indicate this bird hatched not that long ago.


Common Mullein


Northern Pearly-eye. I first thought this was the standard and very common Eyed Brown, but after conferring with local expert Jay Greenberg I learned this was a Northern Pearly-eye. This was creekside and the butterfly was on a stinging nettle plant.


Eastern Bluebird. A fledgling bluebird begs for food from its mother to the right. The father is out of shot to the left. A photographically uncooperative sibling is out of shot below (only a view of its backside). This family was a joy to watch as I took pictures!