Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wildlife Sightings: Breakfast with the Birds

Saturday morning's weather was less than ideal for finding and viewing birds. The damp and foggy conditions created difficult lighting conditions for clear viewing of birds in the confines of the understory, but forest clearings and the area around Bechtel Lake provided sufficient levels of light.

There was a lot of activity from migrant species in various locations. Near the beginning of Easy Loop, in the clearing designated as Nichol's Field, there were Gray Catbirds, Veerys, and Swaison's Thrushs, and Robins gulping down the ripening "fruit" of the Dogwood trees. Zipping back and forth in the same area were a few of Black-throated Blue Warblers.

Further along on the Catbird Trail, the first clearing was full of actively foraging White-throated Sparrows and a Magnolia Warbler. More Gray Catbirds and Robins were moving about the grape vines in the back of the clearing.

Along the rest of the Catbird Trail, feeding flocks of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse moved through the mixture of Black Birch, Oak, and White Pine trees. Northern Flicker and Red-bellied Woodpecker made vocalizations indicating their presence in the viscinity as well.

The intersection of the Catbird and Chickadee trails gave a glimpse of Bechtel Lake where two Wood Ducks were paddling around. Moving toward the lake, a White-breasted Nuthatch flew over the trail.

After turning onto Easy Loop and traveling parallel with the shore of Bechtel Lake, a group of Wood Ducks (about 10 total) exploded off the water into the air and flew off into the forest. Traveling further down the length of the lake toward the boat house, there were more White-breasted Nuthatches, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Eastern Phoebe.

Among the fragmites around the end of the lake were Song Sparrows and more Gray Catbirds. There was a Northern Cardinal and Eastern Towhee vocalizing from the Red Maples beyond the fragmites. Cedar Waxwings made a pass over the lake and disappeared over the towering Tulip Trees.

Working my way up the hill on Easy Loop, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers moved through the canopy.

23 species in total were observed. Not an overwhelming diverse crowd of species, but there were lots of individual birds to been seen and heard on this morning.

Join me November 1st for the next Breakfast with the Birds. We will observe birds visiting our feeding station from the comfort of the museum. We'll also discuss how to participate in various citizen science projects like Project Feeder Watch, Christmas Bird Count, and Great Backyard Bird Count.

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

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