Local Hotspots, March 24th 2012

- By Gladys Birdsall

Seven people met near the tennis courts at Stewart Park to do some local birding. The weather was cooler and more seasonal than it had been, but it was still quite pleasant on the lake for March. I caught up with the group between 9 and 9:30 a.m., late because I had the wrong day stuck in my head!

The group started at Stewart Park. They saw an Osprey when they first arrived, flying towards the west side of the lake. A Blue-winged Teal flew by with a few Mallards. There were many courting Hooded Mergansers and Common Mergansers on the lake. Other birds included Bufflehead, American Wigeon, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, and American Black Duck. The group saw several songbirds, in- cluding Eastern Phoebe, Fish Crow, Song Sparrow, a pair of nesting Eastern Bluebirds, and a Killdeer, which flew overhead calling. Woodpeckers observed included Downey, Red-bellied, and Northern Flicker. Near the shore, gull species included Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed.

The group went into Renwick Woods looking for the Great Horned Owl nest tree. They found no owls but did find an owl pellet and saw a Wood Duck pair fly by.

Four of us continued on to Myers Park. We stopped along Drake Road, eventually finding a Northern Mockingbird, as well as chickadees, House Sparrows, and House Finches around a yard with feeders. Upon entering Myers Park, we saw several Northern Flickers on the lawn along with Brown-headed Cowbirds. There was a swallow out over Salmon Creek that we couldn’t see well enough to identify, but I leaned towards calling it a Northern Rough-winged. A bit later a Tree Swallow appeared.

On our way out of the park, we stopped by the tall conifers to check for Pine Warblers. We were not there long when two very small birds landed on a nearby deciduous tree. They, of course, no sooner landed when they took off flying away from us. I managed to see the underside of one of the birds: yellow towards the front and white towards the back. We all agreed they were warbler size, but we did not get great looks, nor did we hear any vocalization.

Thanks to Judy Thoroughman for filling me in on some of the sightings that occurred before I arrived and to Kathy Strickland for giving me a call.