Friday, June 24, 2011

Drought and Unusual Birds

Barrow Pit at Lake Wichita Park, showing how far the water has receded.

This morning I went down the chat trail to the barrow pit at Lake Wichita Park. I didn't see or hear much on the trail--not unusual at this time of the year. The barrow pit has evaporated to mostly a mud flat with some shallow pools. Ducks can wade in most of the water--there are just a few deeper pools in which they can swim.

Black-necked stilts at the barrow pit.
I was surprised by some of the water birds I found. First there were about 2 dozen black-necked stilts. Although they are not unknown at this time of year, they are not common.

What was more unusual to me were the redhead ducks and canvasbacks. These are definitely winter ducks and although there are records here in late May/early June, this is definitely late for them.

Redhead ducks

Little blue heron

Other birds seen this morning included: blue jay, white-winged dove, rock pigeon, mockingbird, cardinal, brown-headed cowbird, robin, Carolina wren, snowy egret, great blue heron, Mississippi kite, American coot, chimney swift, barn swallow, purple martin, mallard, scissor-tailed flycatcher, and western kingbird.

Good birding!

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