Sunday, February 12, 2012

16 Degrees and Climbing?

Cold Junco!
It was a very cold 16 degrees when I arrived at 7:10 a.m. I was hoping to see some ducks so I headed down there first. As I headed down the driveway towards the soccer field I heard the plaintiff call of a mourning dove. It sounded so sad, which was sort of how I was feeling considering I finally had a free morning to go birdwatching and it was so damn cold!

Saw a large flock of juncos, some of them looking pretty cold and puffed up! A lone mallard couple was visible in the river.

Robin in the sun
As I walked all around the park, surprisingly, despite the cold, I either heard or saw many of our regulars, but it wasn't until I got to the lower gardens and the sun started shining more brightly, that there was quite a lot of action. All of a sudden, a tree filled up with about 16 robins. When I looked again, they had been replaced by 6-7 starlings. Chickadees started zipping around and all of a sudden two male cardinals were flying back and forth looking unbelievably bright red in the sun.

Song sparrows foraged on the ground under the big tree in the middle of the gardens and then the robins reappeared as a roving gang near the bird houses (golf course side), combing the ground, turning over all the leaves in their path. A lone titmouse appeared and joined them. I heard goldfinches flying overhead but couldn't see them. The mourning dove appeared and basked in the sun but flew away when I tried to take its picture. A mockingbird shrieked.

Mary Lou suddenly appeared and asked if I had seen the golden crowned kinglet. Well, that was exactly what I had been hoping to see, with no luck. She showed me the scrub where she had seen it and sure enough it reappeared and we got a great look at its brilliant golden crown. And by the time I left, it had climbed to a whopping 21 degrees!

Postscript: Mary Lou just emailed me. She saw a female Belted kingfisher down by the river!