I did a loop of the Greenway from Sarg Hubbard Park to the sparrow patch
between 10:30 and 12:30 today.
My choice for the bird of the day was a Merlin that was perched atop a snag
on the east bank of the river across from the south end of Buchanan Lake.
The bird appeared wet and spent some time preening allowing me to change
positions for several good scope looks at 40X.
A dozen Double-crested Cormorants appear to have established a roost (?) on
logs floating near Buchanan Lake's west shore. I've found cormorants there
the last three trips to the Greenway. I've also noted one to three birds
flying over the lake or in the concert pond at Sarg Hubbard. You need a
scope to see them well but they are visible with bins. The logs are located
near the lake's south end just at the water's edge below the last of the dead
snags along the far shore. There is also a small pine tree higher on the
bank. Ten Wood Ducks were dozing on the shore behind the cormorants.
An Osprey was hover-fishing along the river across from the lake. It will be
interesting to see how much longer it sticks around before going south. A
water wagon driver told me that two Osprey fledged from the nest platform
provided in the midst of the premix operation...did anyone ever see chicks in
The willow tree located just south of where the path drops down from the
levee was a mini hot spot today. Black-capped Chickadees and Ruby-crowned
Kinglets were doing high dive flutter-fall imitations of autumn leaves. I
guess they were flycatching as they always managed to pull up before they hit
the ground. In addition to the 6 to 8 Ruby-crowns, a male and female Downy
Woodpecker were busy in the branches. I also had a flash look at what I
believe was a Bewick's Wren in the brush there.
A flock of 20 to 25 Cedar Waxwings continues to work the trees in the area of
Sarg Hubbard's elevated observation platform for both insects and berries.
Quite a few striped juveniles in the group.
Last Friday I covered the same area between 7:15 and 9:30. I had one
Orange-crowned Warbler (or perhaps more) that moved along the path with me
for most of the length of Buchanan Lake. Eight Canada Geese (four at the
marsh by Sarg Hubbard and 4 on the lake) were around that day...haven't seen
them in this area for some time. Kind of nice to be able to walk on the
grass without soiling shoe soles.
Other Species observed in this area:
Great Blue Heron Mallard
Also on Friday, I visited the south end of the Greenway between 10:00 and
12:30 covering the three ponds north of the parking area. I observed my
first four fall clouds of swarming starlings--each containing 200 to 300
birds. In the Russian Olive trees at the north side of the second pond,
there were 40 to 50 each of American Robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers as
well as approx. 20 Northern Flickers.
The hot spot was the third pond. It held 3 Pied-billed Grebes, 14 American
Wigeon, 6 Wood Ducks, 2 Mallards, 2 Double-crested Cormorants, and 2 Belted
Kingfishers. Unfortunately, it is a big enough pond that you need a scope
for good views. Also at this pond's far end, I saw a brown flash and a big
splash. I assumed it was a duck but couldn't find anything on the surface.
I was pondering what type of diving duck would strike from the air and
submerge when I caught a glimpse of big brownish fish break the surface and
splash down. Could salmon be back in this pond this year?
Walking back to the parking area, I looped through the trees west of the path
and encountered another 40-50 Yellow-rumped Warblers.
Other species here:
I did not find any Dark-eyed Juncos at the Greenway--still haven't had them
show up at home either. Scott mentioned that he did have them at home and
thought they were late. Everyone else finding them out and about?
At home, I have had a Golden-crowned Sparrow show up below my feeders. I
have a steady dozen or so White-crowned Sparrows daily along with a like
number of Goldfinches.
I have begun to take more note of the American Crows going about their
business locally. As the West Nile Virus seems to target corvids, I wonder
if next year will impact our daily observations of Crows and Magpies.
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