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.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • October 14

Great Blue Heron. Whereas yesterday morning was below freezing, this morning was rapidly racing towards the lower 70's! This put a burst of life into the park residents. This heron, however, seemed unaffected by the thermometer reading.

Downy Woodpecker. Downies seem to go hand in hand with chickadees this time of year. Find one, and you find the other in the area.

Orange Sulphur. After an absence of butterflies for a few weeks, butterflies were everywhere total, particular Orange Sulphurs.

Maple Hill. The colors continue to advance.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Churchville Park • October 13

Black Creek. Today we kayaked down Black Creek, putting in at Churchville Park, and heading west. Despite the cloudy weather, the autumn colors were beautiful!

Black Creek

Black Creek

Belted Kingfisher. Note that this bird has a single blue-gray "belted" under its throat. This makes it an adult male.

Rusty Blackbird. There was a small flock of these threatened birds along the creekside, chattering with their gurgling calls and squeaky door hinge sounds.

Rusty Blackbird

Black Creek

Black Creek

Great Blue Heron. Note the white skull cap and long shaggy "beard" feathers atop its breast. This is an adult.

Great Blue Heron. Taking objection to our vicinity as we passed by, the heron popped up to a nearby tree.

Belted Kingfisher. The large "belt" under the throat is a cinnamon color, and there is a second pronounced chestnut belt underneath. This is a juvenile and probably a female, though a juvenile male can have a second belt, too.

Oatka Creek Park • October 13

Soccer Fields. It was a glorious autumn morning, the morning of our first hard freeze of the season.

White-tailed Deer. The deer were evident everywhere this morning.

White-tailed Deer. I found this young deer's chestnut crown interesting.

Eastern Phoebe. These birds are in the midst of their peak migration period. They are among the last to leave the area in the fall and the first to return in the spring.

Great Blue Heron. I like the blurred waterfall effect of the water in the background.

Maple Hills. Clearly the morning is the best time for taking pictures of this particular bit of scenery.

Northern Mockingbird. This was a good morning for spotting mockingbirds. They don't seem to nest in park per se, but nest in the adjacent farm fields and farm house backyards all around the park. Mockingbirds are a year round resident, though the Canadian population might migrate a bit south in the winter. 

Northern Mockingbird. Though they don't seem to nest in the park, mockingbirds are somewhat common in Oatka during the fall and winter, probably because they are searching for and finding their favorite cold weather fruit: Multiflora Rose, according to Cornell's Birds of North America. Multiflora Rose is common throughout the park.

Northern Mockingbird. Yes, you better look up! You are in a favorite Red-tailed Hawk hunting territory!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • October 10

Yellow-rumped Warbler. There are a lot of these birds in the park at the moment. They seem to be content with eating the Poison Ivy berries as seen here.

Yellow-rumped Warbler with Poison Ivy Berry

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Belted Kingfisher. These birds are becoming increasingly camera shy. I had to peak through gaps in the leaves from *way* off in order to get this shot.

Red-bellied Woodpecker. This woodpecker had evidently found an insect nest as it excavated the site for a long time, frequently swallowing the morsels it was digging out. 

Maple Hill. The colors continue to advance.

Yellow-rumped Warbler. On the way back to the parking lot, I ran into these warblers again. One was very curious about my whisper spishing.

Yellow-rumped Warbler. It just couldn't figure out the sounds I was making and contorted its head in every possible angle in an attempt to understand!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • October 9

Eastern Phoebe. In the spring the bellies of these birds is white. Now in the fall, they become yellowish.

Eastern Phoebe. This is a favorite perch of these birds: one of the posts on the bridge over the creek.

Maple Hill. The daily color watch.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • October 8

Yellow-rumped Warbler. There are lots of these birds in the park now, all in their "winter" plumage. They will feast on the Poison Ivy berries and stay well into the winter.

Great Blue Heron. This immature heron is becoming quite accustomed to me. I still get "The Look", as you see here, but if I avoid concentrated eye contact, the bird holds its place.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Maple Hill. The daily color watch.