Sunday, April 25, 2010

White-throat, white-throat, white-throat, bittern?

Hey folks,

Biked up to Lake Park around 11:30 AM today. Things definitely got off to an intersting start when I ran across a Wild Turkey on the way along Terrace Ave, south of North Avenue. At Lake Park, I was surprised to see a huge increase in the number of birds compared to yesterday. When I first arrived, I lucked into a pretty good-sized migrant flock. Mostly YR Warblers, with a few Palms and single Pine and Nashville Warbler. The flock also included two Blue-headed Vireos. A pair of RB Nuthatches remained near the warming house long after the flock had departed.

Definitely a huge influx of White-throated Sparrows, with a couple of Field mixed in here and there. I would (very) conservatively estimate 200 individuals in the three hours I was at the park, with birds in every area of cover and several flocks of 30+ birds seen throughout. Also quite a few more Brown Thrashers, at least 10 (up from 1 yesterday), and easily 15 Eastern Towhees (I had none yesterday). Hermit Thrushes still numerous, but only managed one Winter Wren in Waterfall Ravine.

I was working south through Locust Ravine with my eyes on the ground, picking through the WT Sparrows (hoping for maybe a Harris', or perhaps a Louisiana Waterthrush working the creek), when an American Bittern flushed off of the west side of the ravine. I froze, and backed out, looking for a birder I had run into earlier. While he had disappeared, I fortunately ran into Judith Huf, and together we searched for the bird. We scoured the ravine, and even looked along the easternmost bluff (the direction the bird had originally flown), with no luck. We were heading back towards the feeders to try that bluff further when we spotted the bird in a tree, near the wooden bridge by the warming house. The bird was hunkered down in the wind, but would raise into a camouflage pose whenever a passerby would pass underneath (it was about ten feet up, two or three feet off of the path). I've never done much digiscoping, but with a little practice, I was finally able to get a decent picture on my cell phone through my binoculars. I worked throughout the rest of the park for about an hour, and when I returned, the bird had dropped into the ravine, tucking next to one of the footbridges in the ravine between the two feeder stations.

Definitely a good day to get out! Love this time of year!

No comments: