Saturday, December 12, 2015

Decent Birding at Lake Arrowhead This Morning

Debra McKee, Mike Cavett and I met at Lake Arrowhead State Park for the monthly bird walk. I initially had great hopes for the walk, thinking we had a good chance for winter ducks. On that score, I was disappointed.

Because birding was a little lackluster, we went off trail to track some small dickey birds in the brush that we would not have gone after on a better day. One of those side excursions paid off with a pair of ladder-backed woodpeckers, some Harris' sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, juncos, a small flock of five ruby-crowned kinglets, a yellow-rumped warbler, a Bewick's wren, a field sparrow, and a very tame mockingbird. That little patch certainly helped our list for the walk.

We didn't have many ducks. There were a large number of American coots on the lake, mixed with a couple of gadwall, a couple of other unidentifiable ducks (too far and too choppy), a couple of white pelicans, several pied-billed grebes, and the ubiquitous Canada geese. We did see some least sandpipers and a greater yellowlegs with the killdeer along the shoreline.

After the walk, I decided to drive around to see if anything was on the Bridwell tank--I discovered coot.

Debra had mentioned seeing about 15 turkey and a few hundred pintail in a flooded area on her way in from Henrietta, so I headed that way. The turkey were not in evidence, but hundreds of northern pintail certainly were. There were at least 300 birds. They are my favorite duck because they look so elegant. There were also some northern shoveler and at least 100 mallards.  The stop also yielded a song sparrow and a loggerhead shrike.
Pair of Northern Pintail. Photo courtesy of JM Garg, Wikimedia Commons

Some roadside birds traveling between stops included red-tailed hawks, kestrel, northern harrier and some eastern bluebirds.

My park list for the morning included: double-crested cormorant, Canada goose, American coot, gadwall, white pelican, pied-billed grebe, ring-billed gull, killdeer, least sandpiper, greater yellowlegs, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, northern harrier, eastern phoebe, northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, Harris' sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, junco, house finch, meadowlark, yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, American robin, field sparrow, Bewicks' wren, great-tailed grackle, and European starling.

Outside the park, I added northern pintail, northern shoveler, mallard, loggerhead shrike, song sparrow, eastern bluebird, red-tailed hawk, and kestrel.

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