Saturday, February 19, 2011

Super Morning at Lucy Park

A little downy woodpecker that perched just above my head at Lucy Park (lower center of photo.)
This morning I headed out to Lucy Park for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and spent two very enjoyable hours walking the trails and watching birds.
I took the circle trail and then cut back into the less visited areas of the park at the pagoda and followed the outside dirt trail around until it came out of the woods again on the circle trail near the canoe launch area. When I got back to where I started, I took the short trail to the Falls and back. So a total of about 3 miles.
Lucy Park is one of those places that tends toward one extreme or the other. You either have a great birding morning or it's a bust. I know several birders who tell me they seldom bird Lucy any more because they haven't gotten the birds they used to get. Well, it's mornings like today that keep Lucy Park high on my birding list.
There are always a lot of homeless people in the park, and I have never had a problem, but I am also careful, since I usually bird alone. I was coming up from the back side of the park when I heard a lot of noise off to the side in a large clump of giant reed. A homeless man came out of what appeared to be a good size camp in the middle of the reeds. There is no way to be quiet in dried reeds. Anyway, he didn's see me so I waited for him to head off before I set out again. However, when I got to the open field which is normally great for sparrows, there he was. He was carrying a makeshift bow. Normally, when one of the homeless see me, they immediately turn in the opposite direction and quickly head off. This one didn't, which was a little disconcerting. However, he did place his bow on the ground, stayed in the open and didn't move, so I could skirt the outside of the field to pass him at a good distance. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to spend time in the meadow as there was a lot of bird activity, but safety first. Like I said, I have never had any problems, but there is no sense in pushing my luck.
Although I was disappointed about the sparrows, this turned out to be a good thing because it led to one of my best sightings of the morning. Since I wasn't able to spend the time on meadow, I went down a brushy area I don't normally bird in the main area of the park to try to pick up those sparrows I missed. I didn't get the sparrows, but I did come across two golden-crowned kinglets--a good spot. While I was watching the golden-crowned kinglets, a ruby-crowned kinglet came down within arm's reach of me to check me out--pretty much eye-to-eye. I got a very good look sans binoculars at the curious little guy.
Shortly after this spot, I had the downy woodpecker perch just over my head and then a brown creeper at eye level in a tree not 6 feet in front of my face. Of course, by the time I got my little camera out, he was well out of range of a reasonable photo.
Here's my GBBC list for Lucy Park this morning. Remember the count is the highest number of a species seen at one time, not a cumulative count. For example, I saw 3 red-breasted nuthatches this AM, but I saw them one at a time, so the count was 1. The large robin flocks of a few weeks ago have broken up for nesting, so there were only one or two birds at a time counted, even though dozens were in the park.
Turkey vulture (the first in a while) 1
Red-tailed hawk 1
Cardinal 1
Blue jay 3
Carolina chickadee 4
Mallard 6 (I did not count the ducks or the geese at the duck pond as I consider them domestics, but did count ones seen on the river.)
Robin 3
Red-breasted nuthatch 1
Brown creeper 1
Red-shafter flicker 2
Red-bellied woodpecker 1
Downy woodpecker 1
Yellow-rumped warbler 7
Ruby-crowned kinglet 1
Golden-crowned kinglet 2
Carolina wren 1
Tufted titmouse 1
Black-crested titmouse 1
Eastern phoebe
Northern mockingbird 2
Rock pigeon 6
Mourning dove 1
Eurasian collared dove 2
White-winged dove 3
American goldfinch 17
Cedar waxwing 27
Brown-headed cowbird 2
Great-tailed grackle 2
Common grackle 300+
Dark-eyed junco 5
Fox sparrow 1
Brown thrasher
So a great morning.
Good birding!

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