Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good Birds for Mother's Day

Treated myself to birding at Lake Wichita for Mother's Day and had a very nice bunch of birds. I went down the chat trail to the barrow pit and then stopped for a short time by the playground and main pavilion at the south end of the park.

It's getting to the time of year when you have to start early in order not to melt into a puddle after an hour or two. We're not quite there, but it was close to 80 degrees when I got up at 6 AM. But it isn't yet miserable weather in the morning. But with predictions of temps returning to the 100 degree mark in the afternoons, it won't be long.

So far this spring there haven't been many mosquitoes, but with the recent rains, they are back. Not horrible, but you can definitely tell they're around.

Left: yellow warbler photo by Dori, Wikimedia Commons.

It's warbler migration season and I am sure I missed several with the heavy foliage along the chat trail, but I did see and hear a number of yellow warblers. I also saw a common yellowthroat along the drainage ditch along the chat trail. I know I saw a vireo I couldn't quite identify. I know some species it wasn't, but not certain about what species it was. The story of my birding life.

One of the morning's highlights was watching a black-chinned hummingbird pluck an insect out of a spider's web. It may have caught the spider itself, but I couldn't tell for sure, but whether a spider or insect, it was a plump morsel.

When I got to the barrow pit, I was surprised at the number of water birds still present. Not a lot of them, but several types, to include: mallard, ruddy duck, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, gadwall, northern shoveler, redhead, American coot, and pied-billed grebe. There were also a number of Wilson's phalarope on the water. These are such a slender, elegant bird, I enjoy seeing them when they pass through on migration. I did not realize until I read the species account I linked to the name above, I didn't realize that in this species the female is the more colorful bird and the male incubates the eggs.

Photo left, eastern kingbird by Dori, Wikimedia Commons

One of my best sitings of the morning were Eastern kingbirds. I have very occasionally seen one here in the past. I saw two near the bridge from the chat trail to the dam and then another near the entrance to the chat trail on the way out.

I then decided to make a quick stop at the inlet adjacent to Wild Bird Rescue, but was thwarted by a swarm of bees. It seems there is a swarm in that area around the willows every spring.

Overall a very nice morning with some good migrants. There are still cedar waxwings in large numbers--they should be gone in the next week or two, so I am enjoying these pretty birds while I can. My birds this morning included: killdeer, Wilson's phalarope, great blue heron, green heron, Canada goose, American coot, cinnamon teal, blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, redhead, ruddy duck, gadwall, pied-billed grebe, mallard, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk, Swainson's hawk, Mississippi kite, Eurasian collared dove, white-winged dove, mourning dove, American robin, brown thrasher,black-chinned hummingbird, northern mockingbird, blue jay, cardinal, scissor-tailed flycatcher, eastern kingbird, western kingbird, cedar waxwing, chimeny swift, barn swallow, purple martin, house wren, red-winged blackbird, common grackle, great-tailed grackle, brown-headed cowbird, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, chipping sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, and house sparrow.

Happy Mother's Day and good birding!

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