Local Spots September 23

- By Bob McGuire

I was joined on Sunday morning by four others: Deb Arden, Lee Stivers, Harry Ellsworth, and Paul Anderson. After all of Satuday’s rain, it dawned clear, cool, and breezy. I had hoped to spend some time on the spit at Myers, watching for passing shorebirds, terns, and possible Brants. Unfortunately, most of the bird life had been chased away by a group of men cleaning up after the previous night’s bonfire. We noted the gulls, Mallards, Cormorants, Belted Kingfisher and quickly moved over to Salt Point.

As we walked along the gravel road to the point, we noticed a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk alternately perched in the cottonwoods and then chasing one of the Song Sparrows. We had several poor scope looks at it and were about to give up when it dove right in front of us and almost nailed a Northern Flicker that was foraging on the ground. It was a spectacular, close encounter; and we later agreed that it was the highlight of the trip. However, it did not go downhill from there. We soon came across a small feeding flock that gave us great looks at a Blue-headed Vireo, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellowrumped Warbler, and three Carolina Wrens. Several of us got glimpses of a Red-eyed Vireo and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Also, before we left, the expected Belted Kingfishers and Eastern Phoebe put in appearances.

I have had some good luck at the Edwards Cliff Preserve (what we used to call “Teeter Road”) and wanted to show the others where it was and what it looked like. No sooner had we gotten out to the cars and begun to walk in than we came across an Eastern Towhee and Northern Mockingbird in the same small bush. Farther along, we ran into several small feeding flocks containing Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, an Ovenbird, Magnolia Warbler, more Carolina Wrens, and a Dark-eyed Junco. Along the way I, had a brief glimpse of a Blackpoll Warbler, but it disappeared before I could get anyone else on it.

By then it was 11 a.m., just enough time to run over to the Freese Road Gardens and hunt for Lincoln’s Sparrow. We did find one good candidate, but were never able to decide definitively if it was a Lincoln’s or simply a juvenile Song Sparrow. As we walked up and down the paths between plots, we stirred up and got good looks at several Common Yellowthroats, two female Indigo Buntings, a Field Sparrow, eight or so Savannah Sparrows, and one Field Sparrow. We finished up with another extended look at a soaring Cooper’s Hawk, truly the bird of the day for us.