Group Walk Report for March 15, 2014

Ten folks braved the light rain on Saturday morning and joined me for the monthly group bird walk. Here are some highlights.

When I arrived, as soon as I opened my car door I could smell the blooming Agarita. This prickly native shrub grows all over the western half of the Bunny Run. It's important to local wildlife both as cover and as a source of food when its berries ripen. It blooms for a relatively short period in early spring and we were fortunate to experience it on Saturday. The preserve was full of Agarita bushes with bright yellow flowers. Before anyone arrived I photographed this White-lined Sphix Moth feeding on some of them.

Sphinx Moth - 2

After the group walk got started, birds were scarce until we got down to the sandy prairie area in the northeast corner of the preserve. We got distant looks at a Merlin, a small falcon that spends the winter here. I initially mis-identified it as a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but the lack of a black cap and red barring made me suspect it was a Merlin. And when it flew a short distance its pointed wings made me sure.


We saw a pair of Wood Ducks near one of the Wood Duck nest boxes. The female was perched on top of it and we got a few quick looks at the male on the ground below. We gave them a wide berth. I hope they use the box this spring!

Wood Duck on Nest Box

The sandy prairie area was full of Northern Cardinals and sparrows. We found Song, Lincoln's, White-throated, Chipping, and Field Sparrows. And we got good looks at the wintering Eastern Towhee that was still there. We were unable to find a female Pyrrhuloxia that I've observed a couple times in this area. But while we were looking for it this Lincoln's Sparrow perched nearby and gave us great looks.

Lincolns Sparrow - 1

Other highlights included watching an Osprey across the lake, many Cedar Waxwings flying overhead, singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets, many Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a great look at a male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Here's our complete eBird list:

And here are a few more photos on Flickr:

Posted on 16 March, 2014 23:41 by mikaelb mikaelb


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