Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sunshine and Warm = Birding!

Yesterday was a fabulous day to be retired!  There was plenty of sunshine and the temperature got close to 50, so I got out and about.

I got down to the Fill at 10:00am -- quite late for me, but just fine in terms of good birds.  At the parking lot I had the usual crows, robins, and starlings.  At the alder grove I had an Anna's Hummingbird, a Song Sparrow, a flyover by a few Glaucous-winged Gulls, and this lovely Yellow-rumped Warbler:

While I was admiring the usual Northern Flickers and Black-capped Chickadees, I noticed a bird flit up to a tree trunk which reminded me of the Downy Woodpecker I saw there a few days ago.  But when I got it in my bins, what a pleasant surprise I got -- a Red-breasted Sapsucker!

I've seen only a few of these birds ever, and I've never seen one at the Fill before, nor have I managed to get a photo until now.  It was hard, as the bird kept flitting from trunk to trunk and quickly circling round and round out of sight.  But in the end,  I got my photo.  Very gratifying!

I walked around the Loop Trail and saw far off in a stand of trees two dark shapes that did not look crow-like.  As I got closer, one of them flew off and landed close by -- a juvenile Cooper's Hawk:

The other bird stayed put.  When I got closer, I could see it was fanning out its feathers, something I'd not seen Cooper's Hawks do before.  It turned out to be an adult female:

I'm not sure what it was up to, but some of the feathers looked wet, so perhaps she was recovering from some sort of watery encounter?  I worried at first she might be injured, but eventually watched her make short flights to nearby branches, so I hope she was just drying off.  In any case, the views I got of that fabulous plumage were amazing:

What a treat!

I saw a total of 27 species.  The usual waterfowl were out on the lake -- Double-crested Cormorants, American Coots, Buffleheads, Mallards, Gadwalls, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, plus a beautiful male Common Merganser, and another highlight -- about a dozen Ruddy Ducks (too far for photos).  Also saw the Great Blue Heron over on Southwest Pond, and heard (but did not see) a Bald Eagle.

Foraging on the path was this Golden-crowned Sparrow:

And foraging in the brush was a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a bird I've never gotten a good photo of because kinglets never sit still -- this pic isn't great, but it's a whole lot better than any of my earlier efforts:

A banner birding morning!

Sadly, Truman was unable to go with me, as I was going straight from the Fill to a lunch with friends.  So in the early afternoon I made it up to him by taking him to Golden Gardens beach.  Stay tuned for those pics tomorrow!


  1. Wow that's a lot of birds in one day. Your camera takes great shots, or perhaps it's the skill of the photographer? The hawk's feathers were very cool. A wonderful day. You don't get a lot of sun an 50 degrees up there in the winter. Good deal.

  2. It appears the late start paid off with all those great birds, maybe that's the better time once they've all had breakfast and are relaxing so to speak.