Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 25

Mallards. It was quiet and snowy in Oatka today. A few ducks sheltered from the elements in the creek.

Great Blue Heron. This wily adult moved among the foliage along the creekside to avoid direct detection from me. Finally, after an extended game of cautious approaching I was able to get a clear view for a few minutes ...

Great Blue Heron. However, after a few pictures, it was time for the heron to move on.

Great Blue Heron. The dismal lighting accompanying the falling slow made any motion a photographic blur.

Winter Wren. At one point I ran into a good sized mixed winter flock of chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. This Winter Wren then popped up right in front of me as I was watching the mixed flock depart. There was time for a couple pictures and then it was off, too.

Mallard in the Snow

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 24

Great Blue Heron. It was a snow flurry / lake effect snow day. That means periods of snowfall would alternate with periods of sunshine. Standing on the bridge over Oatka Creek, I spied this heron quite a ways downstream. Unfortunately, by the time I had walked down to that vicinity along Trout Run Trail, the Great Blue was gone. However, along the way a mink popped up in front of me, only about ten feet away! It then made its furry way along the creek's bank and disappeared before I could get a picture.

Red-bellied Woodpecker. Things were very quiet with the approaching storm. This woodpecker was one of the very few birds of any kind that I encountered. The forehead is red all the way to the bill: this is a male.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Friday, November 23, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 23

Mallards. The creek was empty of birds today except for these Mallards.

Winter Wren. At one point the silence creekside was broken by the resident Winter Wren. It was not being as bold as usual today and never gave me an unobstructed view.

Winter Wren

American Tree Sparrow. After last winter being devoid of these usually common winter birds, this year they are back in force in the park.

American Tree Sparrow. These were a good number of these sparrows mixed with an equally good number of juncos and chickadees in the tall grasses along Bluebird Trail. There was even a Downy Woodpecker in this mixed field flock.

American Tree Sparrow

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mendon Ponds Park • November 22

Black-capped Chickadee. It was a glorious morning in Mendon Ponds Park this Thanksgiving Day! Warm temperatures and sunny, clear skies. Once again the chickadees loved the peanuts I brought. Mary Flood brought black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) and we had fun seeing which ones were preferred by the birds.

White-breasted Nuthatch. It was an additional thrill today to have a nuthatch or two join in the festivities!

White-breasted Nuthatch

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee. Yes, the chickadees liked the BOSS, too, as shown here.

Quaker Pond. This is from the bridge on the southern end of the pond. In the distance are hundreds of Canada Geese. Let's zoom in ...

Quaker Pond. Let's zoom in some more ...

Canada Geese on Quaker Pond. With so many birds, you have to play "Which One Is Not Like The Others?" Do you see something other than a Canada Goose? I do ... (You can click the picture for a larger version.)

Common Merganser. A male Common Merganser is in the midst! Here's a final zoom:

Common Merganser

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 21

Winter Wren. It was a cold and sunny morning in the park today. A light mist hung over the creek. Bird activity was nearly nonexistent despite it being the first hour after dawn. Suddenly along the creek the local Winter Wren began raising its alarm calls. I found it perched on a snag out over the creek in the direction of the sun from where I was standing. This lighting condition was, no doubt, planned by the wren.

Winter Wren. As I began taking pictures, my lens steadily fogged up as it ice cold from the environment and was now facing directly into the sun. As it turned out, the photo op was not a very long one anyway, as the little bird did not seem in a mood to play today. In other shots it was looking skyward, and well it should, as it was exposed in prime Red-tailed Hawk hunting territory. It quickly vanished a minute or so later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 20

Hairy Woodpecker. It was a quiet midday hike in Oatka today. Most birds were either asleep or simply elsewhere. This Hairy momentarily broke the silence along the creekside.

Belted Kingfisher. Then came the rattling call of kingfisher that definitely shattered the silence! The upper belt is still brownish in color, so this is a juvenile. The lower second chestnut colored band indicates this is a female.

Belted Kingfisher. "Ratltltltltltltltltlt!"

Belted Kingfisher. Always alert to my presence, I was never allowed to get too close before the kingfisher would move to a farther perch.

Belted Kingfisher. In principle the kingfishers and heron could stay along the creek all winter, as there is plenty of fish all winter. Time will tell if this will be so this winter!

Mendon Ponds Park • November 20

Black-capped Chickadee. It's that time of year again! Time to feed the birds along Birdsong Trail in Mendon Ponds Park.

Black-capped Chickadee. Today there were two main flocks of chickadees and not much else as the park was relatively devoid of songbirds.

Black-capped Chickadee. Peanuts (shelled and split in half) were on the menu and they were a hit!

Great Blue Heron and Canada Geese. Quaker Pond was *filled* with hundreds and hundreds of Canada Geese, and boy did they make a racket! In the distance I spied this juvenile Great Blue Heron trying to take a late morning nap until we showed up.

Black-capped Chickadee. This was from the second flock that was at the most popular place along Birdsong Trail to feed birds. (Right near the start of the trail.)

Black-capped Chickadee. Also in attendance, though not feeding from hand were cardinals, titmice, juncos, and American Tree Sparrows. Nuthatches were heard occasionally, but always in the distance. Blue Jays and crows in the background completed the tableau.

Black-capped Chickadees. Feed the birds long enough, and there will be tussle of some sort! The upper bird won this skirmish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • November 19

Blue Jay. The Blue Jays have been quite active, noisy, and in small flocks in the park of late. If all else is quiet at any given moment, a Blue Jay will be sure to shatter the silence momentarily!

Downy Woodpecker. This male was busily preening in the morning sun today, hence its fluffed up appearance. Most of my shots had its head buried in its feathers.

Downy Woodpecker. The male has a red patch on the back of its head that is absent in a female.

Carolina Wren. There are about four (maybe five or six) Carolina Wrens along the creek this year at the start of winter. One local weatherman is predicting another mild winter, so maybe a majority of these birds will survive to next breeding season.

Red-bellied Woodpecker. Either a woodpecker (of almost any species) is extremely wary of being spotted and scoots at a glance in its direction, or it just does not care and ignores me. There's not much behavior in between. Normally Red-bellies are pretty dismissive of me and my camera and hang around. However, this one seemed more interested in following the mixed flock that was passing in front of me at the moment, and only did a brief touch-and-go on this tree before moving on.

White-tailed Deer. This buck was naturally very cautious of me with all the sounds of gunfire on all sides of the park now that hunting season has begun. It was not about to let me get an unobstructed view. However, being a deer, it only moved several feet before stopping and looking at me. If it had a symmetric rack and I can see all the points on the left side in this picture, then this appears to be an eight-point buck.