Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bird Walk with Alison Leary

Well, unfortunately, it rained for the bird walk today, just as it had two weeks ago, but we ended up having a great time, despite the weather.

It was 47 degrees and rainy at 8:00 a.m. Haynes and Alison were ready to lead, but it was a small crew today - just me. As Haynes had been there yesterday, he decided to head home, so Alison and I combed the gardens together. Apparently Haynes had seen a kingfisher when he first arrived which is nice.

For our regulars we saw: cardinals, robins, mourning doves, white breasted nuthatches, house finches, chickadees and goldfinches. Alison has been seeing a lot of red breasted nuthatches and reading that it's a banner year for them, so we were hoping for a sighting, but unfortunately, there it didn't happen.

Some phoebes haven't left yet, but some juncos have arrived. Whether they're passing through or staying on for a while, we don't know. Cedar waxwings with their young were amassed atop a tree in the lower gardens. The young looked like they were getting ready for Halloween - they still had their baby feathers with the brown streaks on their breasts, but their masks were coming in all nice and black.

Saw a couple of indigo buntings in the upper gardens - one with a plain dark tail, and one with more blue in it. A Cooper's Hawk flew across the lower gardens and disappeared into the woods near the JCC. One strange sighting was that of a female grosbeak. Alison thought it might be a female purple house finch but when we got back to the cars and looked in the Sibley book, we were pretty certain it was indeed a grosbeak.

Warblers were in short supply, but we did see a common yellowthroat female and a couple of palms (couldn't quite determine if they were western palms or drab, first year females). Caught a quick glimpse of a black throated green female. Saw a couple of ruby crowned kinglets, one near the soccer field and one in the lower gardens.

Sparrows included songs, swamps, 2 Lincoln sparrows, a savannah, several white-throated sparrows, a few chipper and two white crowned sparrows—one young one and one mature.

Interestingly, we saw two leucisistic birds! One was a female house finch with quite a large white patch on the top of her head and the other was one of the palm warblers, whose tail looked like the end had been dipped in white paint, making it very distinctive. What are the chances of two of them within 15 feet of each other?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe there WAS a pot of white paint there....
    You two ended up with some good birds! I had seen the Kingfisher (two, actually) with the BBC walk on Saturday, not on Sunday morning.