Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tree Swallows have blown in!

Song Sparrow
It was about 41 degrees at 7:30 a.m. and the sun was coming out. I decided to get to the park early as the weather reports didn't look very good for later in the day or for Sunday.

I was greeted by song in every direction from a brown-headed cowbird, high atop a tree, to song sparrows, to blackbirds, cardinals and robins. All were responding to the warm temperatures and longer days. As I stood at the entrance to the lower gardens, taking it all in, a group of three tree swallows flew by, chittering excitedly and checking everything out.

There were juncos chasing each other around and an American tree sparrow couple scouring the ground for seed. A house sparrow family flew to a tree nearby, the male looking very colorful and the female very crisp. Titmice called from the woods: "peter, peter, peter". Chickadees appeared before me performing their gymnastic feats; hanging upside down to attack something yummy. A pair of mourning doves flew from one tree to another. A mockingbird worked diligently on extracting some berries from a thorny shrub.

In the upper gardens, a family of goldfinches feasted on long weed stalks, swaying in the wind.
American Tree Sparrow
Canada geese and a pair of mallards and one seagull flew overhead. When I ran into some birdwatchers down near the soccer field, I found out that they had seen and heard the male towhee singing near the Rose of Sharon's in the upper gardens! I was sorry I had missed him.

Down by the soccer field, they pointed out a fox sparrow. It was in a tree and flew to another where we got a great look at it. There may have been more than one, because a few minutes later, we saw another one rummaging in the leaf litter on the other side of the field.

The pond had a couple of pairs of mallards, a pair of Canada geese and I think I saw an American Black duck couple. The mallard's legs were an incredibly bright orange as they stood on a patch of ice surveying the goings ons. We spotted a wood duck hiding behind the birch scrub at the far end of the pond. I wonder if there is a nest there, because he sat there for the longest time. It was nicely screened and he was very camouflaged. I probably wouldn't have know he was there, were it not for the other birders who spotted him.

A red-bellied woodpecker was down by the river, but otherwise, kind of quiet down there. I looked for our phoebe, but I don't think they're back quite yet.

1 comment:

  1. It's really cool that the fox sparrows and towhees have been seen all winter long. The towhees at least should be wintering further south, but they could breed here which would be totally awesome. I wonder when the fox sparrows start singing...