|Oxley Nature Center
June 30, 2002
Susan Walker and Joyce Konigmacher of Stillwater drove in this morning and met me at the Oxley Nature Center for a few hours' birding. Apparently, they'd been to the Visitors Center before but had never hiked any of Oxley's trails, so we immediately set out to remedy that condition. As we came around the back of the Visitors Center and stopped to see what might be in the pond (a couple Yellow-bellied Watersnakes was all), we spooked a Barred Owl out of the tree that shades the main feeding station (the one you can see from the fireplace inside the building), and he flew off into the woods with a crow in hot pursuit. Really nice look at a Barred Owl perched and flying.
As I drove out to Oxley this morning, I saw a Swainson's Hawk flying beside the freeway near the airport, being harassed by something as small as a kingbird, and as I passed the Oxley gates, I heard an E. Wood-pewee calling nearby. While I waited for the girls to arrive, I got tickled watching all the "baby" Robins hunting worms along the road into the parking lot, all spot-breasted and short-feathered and not terribly shy about humans. I just love "baby" birds!! Later, we found two Downy Woodpeckers at the marsh, still sporting the rusty caps of recently hatched immatures.
I heard an Acadian Flycatcher calling from the woods north of the parking lot, which surprised me a little; the first time I ever heard/saw an Acadian FC was while birding by canoe at Caddo Lake in NE Texas, and ever since, I tend to think of it as a bird to be found in a cypress swamp liberally hung with Spanish moss. But we heard another while walking the trails later in the morning, and I noticed tonight as I input my day's sightings on AviSys that Acadian wasn't a new Oxley bird for me so now I know I've seen/heard them there before. I also heard but did not see Black-and-white Warbler, No. Parula, and Fish Crow in those same woods, and began to wonder if all the "good birds" would be gone by the time Susan and Joyce got there. I needn't have worried, tho'; I finished the morning with 50 species and saw most of those with my new bird friends.
We flushed an immature Black-crowned Night-Heron and an adult Yellow-crowned NH at Blackbird Marsh, and both of those WERE new Oxley birds for me, as was the Forster's Tern we found out over the lake beyond the marsh. (It always surprises me to see what long and powerful wings the Black-crowned NH has in relation to its short little legs and squatty hunch-shouldered body.) Several families of Killdeer on the mudflats at the lake were the only shorebirds we saw, along with about 4 BLUE Little Blue Herons and 1 "Calico," and Snowy and Great Egrets and, of course, Great Blues. And one female No. Shoveler; I have NO idea why she was there all alone but there she was.
Actually, there wasn't a lot of bird activity at Oxley this morning but I was pleased when we finally managed to spot a Prothonotary out in the woodpecker swamp, who promptly turned himself around on the dead branch where he perched so that he faced us, and then lifted his little bill to heaven and began to sing. THAT, my friends, is a yellow, yellow bird!! Anyway, it was nice to be able to brag that "they breed here" and then be able to find one.
I'll list the species below for any who are interested. For the rest of you, it was a nice morning to be out; little bit of a breeze to keep the warm air tolerable, and I very much enjoyed meeting Susan and Joyce and showing them a bit of "my turf."
|(c) copyrighted by CBrowning 2002|