Monday, April 12, 2010

American Pipits

Red Admiral Butterfly at Lake Wichita Park.

Sunday was a great birding morning. The weather was nearly perfect, the wind not too bad and there were plenty of birds to see.

I started on the chat trail in Lake Wichita Park, where the cedar waxwings were obviously massing in the willows. There were hundreds of waxwings, as well as good numbers of yellow-rumped warblers. All of them will be gone very soon, heading back to their nesting grounds in the north.

There were still quite a few winter ducks on the barrow pit. Northern shovelers, Bufflehead, Ruddy ducks, Blue-winged teal and American Coots were all on the water.

My best sighting at Lake Wichita Park was an American bittern flying through. I had a chance to watch him for several minutes soaring over the lake.

I was also amused to watch a male red-winged blackbird harass a turkey vulture. The blackbird pushed the vulture several times on his back, enough to cause the vulture to adjust his flight a few times. I wonder why he was so fired up over the vulture--unlike other birds of prey, the vulture isn't likely to bother the blackbirds. Probably testosterone (is it the same hormone in male birds as it is in male humans? Don't know.)

I decided I was having such a great morning, I would check out the Lake Wichita spillway, in case the egrets were back. No luck on egrets, but there was a flock of dozens of American pipit, which made the side trip more than worthwhile. Usually, if I see one pipit, it's a good morning.

My birding list for Sunday included (includes Lake Wichita Park, Lake Wichita Spillway and a couple from the drive between):

American bittern
American coot
American pipit
Barn swallow
Blue jay
Blue-winged teal
Brown-headed cowbird
Carolina wren
Cedar waxwing
Chimney swift
Cliff swallow
Common grackle
Double-crested cormorant
Eastern phoebe
Eurasian collared dove
European starling
Great blue heron
Great-tailed grackle
House sparrow
Lark sparrow
Mourning dove
Northern cardinal
Northern shoveler
Pied-billed grebe
Red-winged blackbird
Ring-billed gull
Rock pigeon
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Ruddy duck
Savannah sparrow
Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Song sparrow
Spotted towhee
Turkey vulture
White-crowned sparrow
White pelican
Wilson's snipe
Yellow-rumped warbler
Not bad for an hour and a half. In addition to the birds, I heard some frogs and saw several butterflies and caterpillars.
Good birding!