Monday, July 11, 2011

A Couple of Nice Birds

Saturday morning I took a short stroll down the chat trail to the barrow pit in Lake Wichita Park. The drought is hitting the trees hard as you can see by the photo. Usually the trees are not this stressed for another month. As you can see, the tress are growing right next to the water, so it is not a matter of a lack of water to the roots, but the heat and water loss through the leaves. The leaves are dropping off many of the trees as they try to conserve water.

I did see a couple of nice birds: a blue-gray gnatcatcher and a Bullock's oriole.

Photo: blue gray gnatcatcher from Wikimedia Commons, Photographer: mauricholas.

The little gnatcatchers are often difficult to see as they tend to skulk around in heavily wooded areas and they are constantly on the move. They remind me in general shape of a tiny mockingbird and the white outer tail feathers on the tail are very helpful in identification of this fast-moving little bird. The Bullock's oriole was another matter--the male was making plenty of noise fussing at something in the reeds along the water. Between his loud scolding and bright colors, there was no way he was going to go unnoticed.

The barrow pit is nearly dry, although a very shallow pool remains in the center. A few black-necked stilts were still arounds as well as three greater yellowlegs and some killdeer. It won't be long before the pond is completely dry if we don't get rain soon. Tonight there have been some thunderstorms to the west of us, but none for us--again.

Good birding!

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