Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beautiful Morning at Lake Wichita Park

Lake Wichita Park is very close to my house, so I often bird there, especially since Lucy Park has been cleared out in the hopes of better flood control.

This morning dawned bright and sunny, although with a chilly bite once the wind came up. I headed out to the Chat Trail, past the barrow pit and then over to Murphy's Mound and back. A pretty good morning. 

A couple of highlights:
Common yellowthroat male,
Matt Tillet, Wikimedia Commons
  - A male common yellowthroat in the reeds in the marshy area at the corner of the Chat Trail and the Circle Trail. I have seen common yellowthroats in this area before, but not since before the drought. I always look for them there. They sound a little like wrens when they are rummaging in the reeds, so do a little extra looking if that is the case. In spite of the "common" in the name, they are not so common here. 
  - One of the great horned owls was perched in his usual spot along the Chat Trail. A lot of trees have fallen down in the that area--I hope that doesn't run the owls off. 
  - As I was heading back to the car, a flock of some 21 cedar waxwings flew into the tree next to the trail. There is a shallow place in the ditch where they were flying down with the robins to take a nice bath. They didn't seem to be overly concerned with me--I was pretty close to them.

The ducks seem to be pairing up before heading back north. There were a few dozen northern shovelers on the barrow pit. Almost all of them were a male/female pair with a few lone males interspersed.
View from the overlook

Now that the lake is full again, the wildlife viewing overlook once again provides good views over the water toward the dam and Pelican's Point. It is has been nothing but weeds for some years with the drought, but a nice area now. I did see several ducks this morning.

I didn't see any pelicans on the lake this morning--there were some good-sized flocks circling yesterday. I am trying to remember when they will be leaving.

When I got home, I had a beautiful little male ladderbacked woodpecker in the pecan tree out front and a orange-crowned warbler looking for insects in the hackberry tree next to the feeders out back. Neither counts for Project Feederwatch, but good birds in my yard. I have had a paucity of good birds in my yard since we moved to this house, so I am happy to see some showing up. Hopefully that means my efforts to make the yard more bird friendly are beginning to pay off.

Birds seen/heard in Lake Wichita Park this morning: Canada goose, mallard, ruddy duck, bufflehead, gadwall, northern shoveler, pied-billed grebe, American coot, great blue heron, ring-billed gull, Eurasian collared dove, mourning dove, great horned owl, red-bellied woodpecker, yellow-shafted flicker,  belted kingfisher, blue jay, cardinal, American robin, northern mockingbird, ruby-crowned kinglet, common yellowthroat, house finch, goldfinch, spotted towhee, song sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, cedar waxwing, and European starling.

Wonderful start to Sunday--unfortunately, housework calls......

Good birding!

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